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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Champions League second legs: The lowdown

Monaco were the first French side to kick off their season last Tuesday and impressed with their 3-1 win at Young Boys. There was an eyecatching performance from wing-back Layvin Kurzawa who stopped a shot on his own goalline before scoring the opener two minutes and 15 seconds later. Last season's quarter-finalists have also been looking ahead with the signing of 18-year-old Saint-Étienne winger Allan Saint-Maximin on a contract until 2020, though Monaco then loaned him to Hannover.
Christian Châtelet
©Getty Images
Ángelo Henríquez scored Dinamo's first-leg goal
Dinamo's match of the season (Tuesday, 19.00)
Dinamo Zagreb are faced wih a difficult task in Norway after Molde held them 1-1 last week. Goalkeeper Eduardo said: "The Champions Leauge is our dream. This is the most important match of the season for us. We are completely focused on it, we have quality and I believe we could finally have a bit of luck. I expect a tough match, but we will be ready."
Elvir Islamović
Heat on for Midtjylland at APOEL (Tuesday, 19.00)
Midtjylland's trip to Cyprus to face APOEL and attempt to overturn a 2-1 deficit could not have come at a worse time for the Danish champions. Meteorologists have said that on Tuesday, Cyprus will endure the hottest day of the year, a scorching 42C.
John Leonidou
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It is goalless between HJK and Astana
HJK's Liverpool warm-up (Wednesday, 16.00)
Ahead of the long trip to Kazakhstan to decide a tie goalless after the first leg, HJK warmed up by facing Liverpool in a friendly on Saturday at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0 but the match offered valuable experience for several HJK players and coach Mika Lehkosuo was also able to rest some key men thanks to their blank league weekend. In fact, HJK's league positionwas strengthened without them playing as RoPS Rovaniemi and SJK Seinäjoki both lost.
Meanwhile, centre-back Juhani Ojala and striker Macoumba Kandji have both rejoined HJK from Terek and Al-Faisaly respectively, though are ineligible for the Astana game. Centre-back Valtteri Moren, on the other hand, will be transferred to Waasland-Beveren in Belgium, but may play his last game for HJK on Wednesday.
Mikael Erävuori
©Getty Images
Dedryck Boyata scores Celtic's first-leg goal
Celtic seek away goal (Wednesday, 18.30)
Celtic will become the first Scottish club to travel to Azerbajan in European competition when they face Qarabağ. The Scottish champions, who will be without the injured Charlie Mulgrew, have a slender 1-0 lead and midfielder Stefan Johansen knows the importance of getting an away goal in Baku. "We need to score in Azerbajan," said the Norwegian international. "When you are playing with an away goals rule, it's important not to concede at home and we managed that.
"We have an important lead but I don't think the job is done. The Champions League is such an important thing for everyone at this club and that's why we're so focused on Wednesday night's game." Ronny Deila's side will be backed by the local Celtic supporters club, The Bhoys of Baku, who are made up of Scots and British nationals working in the Azerbaijanji capital.