Thu, Aug 30, 9:33am by Head Editor
A pair of goals from El Fardou Ben Nabouhan has seen 1991 European Cup Champions, Red Star Belgrade, qualify for the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since the league began in 1992.
The Serbian Champions found themselves two goals behind Austrian club Salzburg, with Israel born striker Munas Dabbu finding the back of the net in the 45th and then the 48th minute.
Socceroo defender Milos Degenek delivered an ideal cross for Ben Nabouhan at the near post in the 65th minute, who turned it home.
Moments later the Australian turned supplier yet again, linking up with the striker, who levelled the scores, much to the delight of the 8,000 travelling Red Star fans, who invaded the pitch after the final whistle.
The draw sees the Serbian powerhouse qualify for the Champions League on away goals after the first leg, which was played behind closed doors after Red Star fans were punished for racist chanting, ended in a 0-0 draw.
After drawing the first leg 1-1 at home, Portugal’s Benfica conceded the first goal of their second leg match with Greek side PAOK but recovered to record a comfortable 4-1 win on the night and 5-2 on aggregate.
1988 European Cup Champions PSV Eindhoven were never in doubt against Belarus outfit BATE Borisov, winning 3-0 on the night and 6-2 over the two legs.
The draw for the group stage takes place in Monaco on Thursday, where the 32 teams will be drawn into eight separate groups of four.
Real Madrid are the current holders of the trophy after they defeated Liverpool 3-1 on May 26 in Kiev, Ukraine.
After losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, Real Madrid have slipped to the sixth line of betting, at $10, while Ronaldo‘s new club are second favourites at $7 just behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who are the top pick at $6.
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