Galatasaray, Young Boys, and Sporting Braga qualify for Champions League group stage

Galatasaray Istanbul, Young Boys Bern, and Sporting Club de Braga have qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, following the second legs of the play-off round.

Galatasaray defeated FK Molde 2-1 at home after winning the first leg in Norway, 3-2. Argentinian Mauro Icardi opened the scoring for the Turkish side in the seventh minute from the penalty spot, but the Norwegians equalised through Eirik Hestad in the 66th minute. Spanish Angeliño scored the winning goal for the hosts in the 90+3rd minute, as the visitors chased an equaliser that would have forced extra time.

As a result, Galatasaray returns to the Champions League group stage after a four-year absence, while FK Molde is guaranteed a place in the Europa League group stage.

In another match, Young Boys Bern cruised to a 3-0 win at home against Maccabi Haifa, after the first leg ended in a goalless draw. Swiss striker Cedric Itten opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, and five minutes later Senegalese Abdoulaye Seck of the visitors unfortunately deflected the ball into his own net. Croatian Filip Ugrinic added a third goal for Young Boys just after halftime.

Portugal will have three teams in the Champions League group stage after Sporting Clube de Braga won the second leg in Athens against Greek runners-up Panathinaikos, 1-0. Bruma, a Guinea-Bissau-born footballer who represents Portugal, scored the only goal of the match in the 83rd minute. The Portuguese side had won the first leg at home, 2-1.

Sporting Clube de Braga returns to the "big boys' table" after an 11-year absence. The Portuguese team will find out their group stage opponents on August 31, when the draw is scheduled to take place.

Radu Galbur

Radu Galbur


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