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Cypriot team APOEL makes history
by Paul Kennedy, August 27th, 2009 7AM



[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] APOEL Nicosia made history when it beat FC Copenhagen, 3-1, and won its UEFA Champions League playoff series, 3-2, becoming the first Cypriot team to qualify for the competition's group stage.  Debrecen became the first Hungarian club to qualify for the group stage in 14 years when sealed its 4-1 aggregate win over Bulgaria's Levski Sofia with a 2-0 victory. Other teams making their Champions League debut will be Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, AZ, Standard Liege, Unirea Urziceni, and FC Zurich. For all the mid-week results ...

APOEL, Debrecen and FC Zurich qualified in part of UEFA's decision to split the final stage of qualifying into two parts, one involving the champions of weaker leagues and the other involving the runners-up of stronger leagues.

Cypriot international Chrysis Michael was the difference for APOEL with two goals. While APOEL will be given little chance of advancing to the final 16, it will be difficult to beat at the GSP Stadium, where it has lost only one European game in the last six seasons.

-- The big three countries -- England, Spain and Italy -- will have have four teams as their No. 4 representatives all won their playoff series. Italy's Fiorentina squeezed through on away goals against Portugal's Sporting after a 1-1 home draw thanks to a goal by Montenegrin teenager Stevan Jovetic. Arsenal and Atletico Madrid both won comfortably.

-- France and Germany will both have three teams in the final 32 after Lyon and VfB Stuttgart clinched series win. Argentine newcomer Lisandro Lopez had a hat trick for Lyon in its 3-1 win at Anderlecht completed an 8-2 series victory.

Apoel Nicosia (CYP) 3 (Kosowski 2, Michael 18-pen, 41) FC Copenhagen (DEN) 1 (N'Doye 22)
(Apoel Nicosia wins 3-2 on aggregate.)
Arsenal (ENG) 3 (Eduardo 28-pen, Eboue 53, Arshavin 74) Celtic (SCO) 1 (Donati 90)
(Arsenal wins 5-1 on aggregate.)
Fiorentina (ITA) 1 (Jovetic 54) Sporting (POR) 1 (Joao Moutinho 35)
(Aggregate: 3-3; Fiorentina wins on away goals.)
Olympiakos (GRE) 1 (Mitroglou 82) Sheriff (MDA) 0
(Olympiakos wins 3-0 on aggregate.)
VfB Stuttgart (GER) 0 Poli. Timisoara (ROM) 0
(VfB Stuttgart wins 2-0 on aggregate.)
Debrecen (HUN) 2 (Varga 13, Rudolf 35) Levski Sofia (BUL) 0
(Debrecen wins 4-1 on aggregate.)
Anderlecht (BEL) 1 (Suarez 51-pen) Lyon (FRA) 3 (Lisandro 26, 32, 41)
(Lyon wins 8-2 on aggregate.)
Maccabi Haifa (ISR) 3 (Dvalishvili 31, Golasa 57, Ghadir 90) FC Salzburg (AUT) 0
(Maccabi wins 5-1 on aggregate.)
Atletico Madrid (ESP) 2 (own goal 4, Aguero 83) Panathinaikos (GRE) 0
(Atletico wins 5-2 on aggregate.)
FC Zurich (SUI) 2 (Vonlanthen 6, Abdi 90+2) FK Ventspils (LAT) 1 (Tigirlas 8)
(FC Zurich wins 5-1 on aggregate.)


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