By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Liverpool defeated Hoffenheim 4-2 at Anfield to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night with a 6-3 aggregate win.
Emre Can (brace), Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored for Liverpool while Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner were on the scoresheet for the Germans.
Can scored the Reds’ first goal in the 10th minute with an assist from Senegalese forward Sadio Mane. Egypt’s Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead just minutes later while Can grabbed his brace in the 21st minute after Mane and Roberto Firmino combined before setting him up to fire home the third. Firmino himself made it four for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The Germans did get a goal in the 28th minute from Uth with a close finish after his teammate’s shot was initially saved. Wagner’s goal eleven minutes to full time proved to be only a consolation.
At the Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romanian side SC Bucharest were defeated 5-1 by Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon.
Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia finished off from a rebound in the 13th minute, but Junior Maranhao equalised seven minutes later. Marcos Acuna made it 2-1 for Sporting while Gelson Martins took the game beyond the reach of the hosts with a 64th minute finish. With 15 minutes left to play, Bas Dost made it 4-1 before Rodrigo Battaglia rounded off a comfortable night for the Portuguese side.
Russian side CSKA Moscow defeated Swiss outfit, Young Boys 2-0 to qualify on 3-0 on aggregate.
Georgi Schennikov and Alan Dzagoev were on the scoresheet for the Army team who did not parade Nigerian forward Aaron Samuel who was on the bench throughout the duration of the game.
Sparta Prague and APOEL Nicosia finished their contest at the Eden Arena 0-0 but the Champions League spot was won by APOEL who had a 2-0 aggregate lead from the first leg.
Danish side FC Copenhagen were 2-1 victors over Qarabag at the Telia Arena. Federico Santanader and Andrija Pavlovic scored for the hosts but Qarabag qualified on the away goals rule.