Wed, 26 Aug, 2015, 09:32
Spain became the first nation to have five teams in the Champions League group stage in a single season after Valencia squeezed past Monaco 4-3 on aggregate in the play-off round despite a 2-1 defeat in the second leg.
Álvaro Negredo’s exquisite chipped shot in the fourth minute proved enough to send Valencia through despite Andrea Raggi and Elderson scoring for Monaco. “Conceding a goal in the first five minutes wasn’t the best thing for a team that needed to turn around a result,” the Monaco coach, Leonardo Jardim, commented.
“In life, you have to suffer to reach one’s goals,” Valencia’s coach, Nuno Espirito Santo, said. “This is the first game of our future. Valencia is a Champions League team. We wanted to be here and here we are.”
They will join the holders Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla, who gained an automatic berth as last season’s winners of the Europa League, in Thursday’s Champions League draw.
On a night of pulsating action, Malmo, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Shakhtar Donetsk also booked money-spinning group-stage spots in Europe’s premier club competition.
Dinamo qualified for the third time in the past five seasons, beating Skenderbeu 4-1 at home to complete a 6-2 overall victory over the Albanians.
A nervy 2-2 home draw with Rapid Vienna saw Shakhtar through after a 1-0 win in the first leg while Maccabi edged out Basel on away goals, a 1-1 home draw being just enough following the 2-2 result in Switzerland last week.
The top match of Wednesday’s action features Manchester United’s visit to Club Brugge, where the three-time winners will defend a 3-1 first-leg advantage over the 1978 finalists.