Champions League

Braga thrash Celtic, Ajax held

July 28, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Celtic were left on the brink of crashing out of this season's Champions League after gifting Braga a 3-0 win in Wednesday's third qualifying round first leg.

Alan celeb Braga v Celtic
APAlan celebrates scoring Braga's opener against Celtic

A controversial first-half penalty from Alan - awarded after Ki Sung-Yeung was adjudged to have handled - a debut goal from Uwa Elderson Echiejile, and a stunning free-kick from substitute Matheus ensured the Hoops' miserable European away record continued under Neil Lennon.

Celtic failed to muster a single shot on target in sweltering conditions at the AXA Stadium, with their opponents comfortably holding sway in what was both sides' first competitive match of the season.

Alan kept his cool to convert a 26th minute opener from the spot, before appalling defending gifted Braga their second goal 15 minutes from time, when Matheus' corner missed by a host of players before Elderson bundled the ball home.

Mattheus, on as a second-half substitute, then blasted home a spectacular third from a long-range free-kick to condemn the Hoops to an embarassing defeat.

Elsewhere, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez continued where he left off with Ajax last season, scoring in his side's 1-1 draw with PAOK in Amsterdam. Suarez's overhead kick gave Martin Jol's team the lead, but Serbian midfielder Vladimir Ivic handed the Greek side an away goal with his 73rd minute equaliser.

Kazakhstani champions Aktobe - who were knocked out of last season's Champions League in the third qualifying round by Maccabi Haifa - gained a measure of revenge by beating reigning Israeli champions Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-0 courtesy of Samat Smakov's winner.

BATE Borisov - who drew home and away against Juventus in the 2008-09 Champions League, held Danish side FC Copenhagen in Belarus.

Rosenborg will take a one-goal lead back to Norway after overcoming Scandanavian rivals AIK in Sweden. 18-year-old Markus Henriksen's first-half goal was the difference between the two sides.

Goals from Ivica Iliev, Sasa Ilic and Cleo gave HJK Helsinki a mountain to climb as Partizan Belgrade ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in Serbia.

Moreno Costanzo's 89th minute penalty salvaged a 2-2 home draw for Young Boys against 2008 Champions League quarter-finalists Fenerbahce after former Sheffield United player Colin Kazim-Richards was sent off for the Turkish club for two bookings before half-time.

Hungarian champions Debrecen look set to miss out on successive qualifications for the group stages after crashing to a 2-0 home defeat against Swiss side FC Basel, courtesy of goals from Valentin Stocker and substitute Granit Xhaka in the 34th and 90th minute respectively.

Dinamo Zagreb drew 1-1 with FC Sheriff in Moldova.