Red Star, PAOK advance in Champions League qualifying

Red Star Belgrade beat FC Tirana, while PAOK defeated Besiktas Istanbul to progress to the third qualifying round of the Champions League.


Dimitrios Pelkas celebrates scoring for PAOK during the 3-1 win against Besiktas.   -  Reuters

Former European Cup winner Red Star Belgrade reached the Champions League third qualifying round with a 1-0 win at FC Tirana and was joined by PAOK Salonika which beat Besiktas Istanbul 3-1 at home on Tuesday.

Red Star, which won Europe's elite club competition in 1991, rode its luck in the Albanian capital and advanced thanks to a 61st-minute header by Portuguese striker Tomane after visiting goalkeeper Milan Borjan had made a string of good saves.

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Canada keeper Borjan kept out several long-range efforts and deflected an Ernest Muci shot onto the woodwork before Tomane struck, while Winful Cobbinah missed a gilt-edged chance to snatch a late equaliser for the home side.

PAOK raced into a 2-0 lead against Besiktas thanks to a Christos Tzolis brace, who capped a raid down the left flank with a fine finish into the top corner before he bundled in the second from close range.

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Dimitrios Pelkas made it 3-0 as he rounded off a swift break with a tap-in from five metres before Cyle Larin pulled one back for the visitor, when he slid in to sweep the ball home from 10 metres after good work by Tyler Boyd.

Besiktas missed a chance to score a second in the 40th minute as home keeper Zivko Zivkovic saved Chuba Akpom's weak penalty and had a goal disallowed for marginal offside in the closing stages.

In Wednesday's standout fixtures, 1967 European Cup winner Celtic is at home to Hungarians Ferencvaros while Croatian title holder Dinamo Zagreb visits Romania's CFR Cluj.

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