Liverpool and Arsenal in Champions League
Five-times winners Liverpool reached the Champions League proper after a Dirk Kuyt goal deep into extra time gave them a 1-0 aggregate win over plucky Belgian rivals Standard Liege on Wednesday.
The Dutch striker scored in the 118th minute to the relief of the Anfield faithful as Liverpool, who last won the trophy in 2005, struggled to find a way through.
"It wasn't a good performance but we always know we have the quality to score," Kuyt, who brilliantly turned Ryan Babel's left cross in at the far post, told ITV.
Former winners Olympique Marseille also looked below par against Brann Bergen but two goals from Mamadou Niang sealed a 2-1 home win for a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Norwegians.
In contrast, Arsenal romped to a 6-0 rout of Dutch side Twente Enschede, coached by former England manager Steve McClaren, after Samir Nasri, William Gallas, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner handed them a 4-0 second-leg win at home.
hey were joined by other big guns and three teams that qualified for the lucrative group stage of the competition for the first time.
Atletico Madrid beat Germany's Schalke 04 4-1 on aggregate after crushing them 4-0 at home, Dynamo Kiev steamrolled to an 8-2 overall demolition of Spartak Moscow and Fiorentina eased to goalless draw at Slavia Prague after a 2-0 first-leg win.
Sergio Aguero, back from helping Argentina win the Olympic gold medal, cancelled out Schalke's 1-0 lead from the first leg before goals by Diego Forlan, Luis Garcia and Maxi Rodriguez sealed Atletico's passage at their Vicente Calderon stadium, Reuters reported.