Maribor

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VIDEO: Spartak Moscow section fires flare 50-plus yards at referee

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What’s Russian for “behind closed doors?”

Spartak Moscow may find out after one of their supporters fired a flare from the end line to the midfield stripe, barely missing referee Deniz Aytekin.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap-up ]

Maribor and Spartak drew 1-1, but UEFA repercussions are almost certainly coming for the Russian visitors.

That could benefit Liverpool, who visits Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow on Sept. 26. The Reds drew Sevilla 2-2 on Wednesday.

Champions League: Napoli, Sevilla move on

AP Photo/Claude Paris
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Celtic’s 8-4 aggregate win over Astana earlier Tuesday was just the tip of the iceberg.

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Eight more goals came calling in a quartet of UEFA Champions League playoff round second legs on Tuesday, as Sevilla, Napoli, Maribor, and Olympiacos joined the Bhoys in the group stage.

Sevilla 2-2 (4-3 agg.) Basaksehir

When Sevilla brought two away goals back to Spain, this leg threatened absolute boredom. That couldn’t have been more off base, as the Turkish visitors took a 1-0 through Eljero Elia to put the match back in the balance and didn’t quit once the Istanbul side made it 4-2. But Edin Visca’s 83rd minute goal was all they’d muster, and Sevilla avoided a massive upset to reach the UCL group stage.

Nice 0-2 (0-4 agg.) Napoli

There will be no Mario Balotelli reunion with Anfield in the UEFA Champions League, as Napoli got an early second half goal from Jose Callejon to bury any hopes of the Ligue 1 side coming back from a 2-0 first leg hole. Lorenzo Insigne scored in the 89th minute to make the final moments even less dramatic. He hit the ball really well.

Maribor 1-0 (2-2 agg.) Hapoel Be’er Sheva

It’s cliche to say there were “scenes” in any given big game, but the Ljudski vrt spent the final 15 minutes building to a crescendo. If there was a lid on the place, it would’ve blown at the final whistle as the Slovenian side knocked its Israeli visitors into the Europa League.

Rijeka 0-1 (1-3 agg.) Olympiacos

Not much drama here, as ex-Chelsea winger Marko Marin scored in the 25th minute to put Croatia’s Rijeka in a pretty deep hole.

Still to come Wednesday
All matches at 2:45 p.m. ET

Copenhagen vs. Qarabag (Qarabag leads 1-0)
CSKA Moscow vs. Young Boys (CSKA leads 1-0)
Slavia Prague vs. Apoel Nicosia (Apoel leads 2-0)
Liverpool vs. Hoffenheim (Liverpool leads 2-1)
Steaua Bucharest vs. Sporting CP (First leg 0-0)

WATCH: Nani makes Maribor’s defense look silly in Sporting CP’s UEFA Champions League win

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Sporting Lisbon moved into second place in UEFA Champions League Group G with a 3-1 win over Maribor on Tuesday, and the Portuguese club also provided one of the most watchable videos of the week.

Nani collected a pass just inside the 18 and dribbled around a pair of Maribor players before having his shot blocked, collecting it, moving around a few other tentative tacklers before blasting the ball home.

[ CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Roundup ]

Sporting won 3-1, moving past Schalke after the German club was smashed by Chelsea.

Like many fun to watch goals, the magic of the shooter is magnified by the mistakes of the defenders.

Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho: “The referee’s team did not have a good night.”

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is far from pleased with his Blues performance in Slovenia, where Maribor held the English giants to a 1-1 draw.

He didn’t like their first half at all, and questioned his team’s belief since his halftime adjustments were the “right” ones to make.

[ CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Standings | Schedule ]

But if you think he would fire at the easy target of Eden Hazard, think again. Mourinho gave plenty of support for the Belgian star, whose late penalty was saved by Maribor keeper Jasmin Handanovic.

From the BBC:

“In the first half we didn’t play well. I was not happy with the team or the performance. I changed at half-time with the conviction that team was going to improve. I was proved right, but they scored, their belief was higher and our players starting feeling the pressure.

“When a player plays as well as Eden Hazard, he can miss a penalty and still be the best player in my team. We paid the price of not a good first half and their goalkeeper was fantastic.

“This referee I have a long story from my Italian times but I don’t want to go in that direction. Better to praise a team that gave everything and fought fantastically well.”

He later added, “And the referee’s team did not have a good night.”

Chelsea is still in fine shape for advancement into the knockout stage, with 8 points and the top spot in Group H. Their next test is on the road at second place Schalke, which is three points back, before finishing at home to Sporting CP on Dec. 10.

UEFA Champions League Roundup: Zenit, Porto through; Celtic sunk by late Maribor goal

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Five of the final 10 places in this year’s UEFA Champions League field were decided today – the first of two days which complete the competition’s final playoff round. Closing out their two-leg matches at home, APOEL NicosĂ­a, BATE Borisov, Porto, and Zenit St. Petersburg built on positive results last Wednesday, while Maribor’s late goal at Celtic Park put the Slovene champions into the competition’s 32-team group stage.

Each loser moves into the group stage of UEFA’s Europa League, with the draw for each competition schedule to be held Friday in Monaco.

Zenit St. Petersburg hosted the day’s early kickoff, carrying a 1-0 lead from its first leg at Belgium’s Standard Liège. That lead was doubled through Salomon Rondón in the 30th minute, with 10-man Zenit adding two goals through Hulk  (pictured) after Viktor Faizulin’s late first half sending off.

In Cyprus, APOEL had its tie with Danish champions Aalborg under control by halftime, a dominant first half performance yielding goals from Vinicius and Tomas De Vicenti. Second half goals from Efstathios Aloneftis and Cillian Sheridan piled on the Danes, who head to Europa League after a 4-0 pasting in NicosĂ­a.

BATE Borisov got first half insurance on the 1-1 edge they earned at Slovan Bratislava when Mikhail Gordeychuk scored in the 41st minute, capitalizing off strong work from Vitali Rodionov and Dmitri Likhtarovich to beat Dusan Pernis. Late goals from Segrey Krivets and Rodionov gave the Belarusan champions a 3-0 win and its first trip to Champions League since 2012-13, when BATE earned an upset victory over Bayern Munich.

In Warsaw, Celtic’s result will be seen as justice served. After last week’s 1-1 draw in Slovenia, Celtic — whose 5-1 (agg.) loss to Legia Warsaw in the last round was overturned after confusion over ineligible player — was on the verge of making another group stage, with the score 0-0 at Celtic Park entering the final quarter hour. But in the 75th minute, chaos in front of Craig Gordon’s goal devolved into a chance for Marcos Tavares, who put the Slovenes into the final 36.

And finally in Portugal, a strong start for FC Porto waned as Lille came into the first half, but four minutes after intermission, Alergian international Yacine Brahimi, building on the 1-0 lead the Dragons took out of France, struck a demoralizing blow. Firing his direct kick into Vincent Enyama’s top corner, the Porto attacker gave his team a 2-0 lead, with Jackson Martínez’s insurance 20 minutes later sending Julen Lopetegui’s team into Champions League proper.

Five more matches tomorrow will complete this year’s Champions League field, with Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli, and Athletic Club among the teams competing for the last places in Europe’s premier club competition.

Scores and schedules:

Tuesday’s results

Zenit St. Petersburg 3-0 (4-0) Standard Liège
APOEL NicosĂ­a 4-0 (5-1) Aalborg
BATE Borisov 3-0 (4-1) Slovan Bratislava
Porto 2-0 (3-0) Lille
Celtic 0-1 (1-2) Maribor

Wednesday’s matches
(with first leg results; all games kick off at 2:45 p.m. Eastern)

Malmö 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Ludogorets 0-1 Steaua Bucharest
Arsenal 0-0 Besiktas
Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Copenhagen
Athletic Club 1-1 Napoli