Porto dumped out, Ajax edge through on night of Champions League drama | Football
Sérgio Conceição’s side led 1-0 after the first leg in Russia, but Dutch midfielder Tonny Vilhena levelled the tie early on in Portugal, volleying home from a corner. Winger Shapi Suleymanov then struck twice, finishing counter-attacks in clinical fashion to put Krasnodar in control of the tie at half-time.
Porto rallied in the second half, with Zé Luís and Luis Díaz pulling two goals back, but Krasnodar held on to progress to the final play-off round on away goals. They will now face Olympiacos, who overcame Istanbul Basaksehir 3-0 on aggregate.
It is only the second time since winning the trophy under José Mourinho in 2004 that Porto have failed to reach the Champions League group stages. Krasnodar did not even exist then – last season’s third-placed finishers in Russia were founded in 2008.
Last season’s semi-finalists Ajax were given a scare by Greek champions PAOK Salonika before squeezing through to the final qualifying round. After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, PAOK took the lead in Amsterdam through Diego Biseswar, a winger developed at Ajax’s academy, who fired inside the near post from 18 yards.
Dusan Tadic missed a penalty, but scored a second to bring Ajax level on the night, and ahead on away goals. Nicolás Tagliafico then scored a header with 10 minutes to go to put Ajax 4-3 up on aggregate, before a second Tadic penalty saw the hosts through despite Biseswar’s second goal in stoppage time.
Ajax will face Cyprus’s Apoel in the play-offs after they overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit to defeat Qarabag with a 2-0 victory in Azerbaijan. Elsewhere, Club Brugge edged out Dynamo Kyiv after a frantic finale, the Belgian side prevailing 4-3 on aggregate after a 3-3 draw – with three goals coming in the last five minutes.
Club Brugge will next play LASK Linz, who followed up a 2-1 away win over Basel with a 3-1 home victory. Kemal Ademi’s 80th-minute effort set up a nervous finish, but late goals from Thomas Goiginger and Marko Raguz secured the Austrians’ play-off place.
Celtic crashed out after losing 4-3 at home to CFR Cluj, who will face Slavia Prague next, while Rosenborg and Dinamo Zagreb set up a play-off tie with comfortable aggregate wins. Only one tie went to penalties – and the shootout didn’t disappoint, with Red Star Belgrade edging out Copenhagen 7-6 after 22 spot kicks.