Portuguese giants Benfica, Ukrainian team Shakthar Donetsk, Swedish side Malmo FF and others have received a big boost in the playoff round of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) this season after winning their respective first leg games.
In one of the playoff first leg clashes played in the Champions League on Tuesday, French club AS Monaco were beaten 1-0 at home by Shakthar Donetsk of Ukrainewith Spanish player Cesc Fabregas an unused substitute. Veteran midfielder Cesc Fabregas was left on the bench for the whole game by manager Niko Kovac as his team lost the opportunity to take a big step towards the group stage. It remains to be seen if Cesc Fabregas will play a part in the second leg in Ukraine next week Wednesday with Monaco needing to win to progress into the group stage. The playoff tie winners are guaranteed a place in the group stage.
For the other matches on Wednesday, Malmo FF of Sweden beat Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria 2-0 at home, while Swiss team Young Boys edged Ferencvaros of Hungary in a five-goal thriller.Young Boys won 3-2 at the expense of their Hungarian opponents.
On Tuesday, Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg beat Brondby of Denmark 2-1 at home, while FC Sheriff thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 at home.