UEFA Champions League Wrap: Celtic progress late as Milan, Sociedad cruise
By Football News
Celtic needed a 92nd-minute goal to clinch their place in the UEFA Champions League group stages with victory at Celtic Park on Wednesday.
The Scottish side trailed 2-0 on aggregate to Kazakh outfit Shakhter Karagandy going into the sides' second-leg encounter, but had brought things level by the 48th minute courtesy of goals from Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras.
However, the all-important third goal proved far harder to come by, and extra-time seemed inevitable prior to some brilliant Anthony Stokes dribbling ending in a cut-back which James Forrest gratefully slammed home.
The other more high-profile ties taking place on Wednesday provided decidedly less drama, as Real Sociedad and Milan enjoyed routine victories.
Sociedad led 2-0 ahead of their second-leg clash with Lyon at Anoeta, and won again by the same scoreline in Spain as Carlos Vela struck twice to help them through to the group stages.
Milan, meanwhile, built on a 1-1 first-leg draw with PSV Eindhoven by smashing Phillip Cocu's men 3-0 at San Siro to progress.
Kevin-Prince Boateng opened the scoring with a long-distance finish and, after Mario Balotelli volleyed home, the Ghanaian grabbed another from a tight angle late on to seal a 4-1 aggregate success.
Russia's Zenit St Petersburg enjoyed an even more comfortable passage into the next round as a brace from Danny allied to goals from Aleksandr Bukharov and Andrey Arshavin completed a 4-2 win and an 8-3 overall victory against Pacos de Ferreira.
And in Slovenia, a third-minute goal from Stanislav Tecl helped Viktoria Plzen beat Maribor 1-0 and 4-1 on aggregate.