Holders Liverpool are through to the Champions League group stage despite a 1-0 defeat at home against CSKA Sofia. The Champions qualify after a 3-2 win on aggregate against the Bulgarians.

Valentin Iliev’s well-struck 16th minute strike put Sofia ahead as the Premiership outfit made hard work of the tie. Sofia could not add to their lead despite creating a number of good chances.

Rafa Benitez rested key players such as Jose Reina, Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher and were missing the injured skipper Steven Gerrard. Benitez started Fernando Morientes and Djibril Cisse following the departure of Milan Baros to Aston Villa.

Brazilian international Ricardo Oliveira grabbed two goals as Spanish side Real Betis made it into Thursday’s draw for the group stage with a 3-2 aggregate win against Ligue 1 side Monaco.

Oliveira gave Betis a 2-0 aggregate lead in the Principality with a 17th minute strike to extend the 1-0 lead his side had in the first leg. Monaco replied with goals from Gerard Lopez and Toifilou Maoulida to make it 2-2 on aggregate and give them a chance to complete a remarkable comeback. Camel Meriem missed a penalty for the home side before a brilliant solo goal from Oliveira, drifting past three Monaco players before a confident finish, resulted in a 2-2 draw on the night.

Udinese beat Sporting Lisbon 3-2 in Italy to ensure a 4-2 aggregate victory and a place in the draw for the Serie A side.

A first-half penalty from Vincenzo Iaquinta and an Antonio Di Natalie effort put Udinese in control having led 1-0 from the first leg. Roudolphe Douala gave Sporting a chance before Paulo Barreto made it 3-0 on the night. Mauricio Pinilla scored a consolation goal for the Portuguese side.

Panathinakikos beat Wisla Krakow 4-1 to record a 5-4 aggregate win with goals from Nassef Morris, Emmanuel Olisadebe, Dimitris Papadopoulos and an extra time winner from Ilias Kotsios. Radoslaw Sobolewski scored the only goal for Wisla who lost a 3-1 first-leg lead to the Greek side.

Rosenberg won their tie 4-3 against Steaua Bucharest after a 3-2 win in Norway. Jan Gunner Solli, Alexander Odegaard and an own goal by Mirel Radoi saw off the Romanian side who had Radoi, Victoras Iacob on the scoresheet.

Rapid Vienna are in Thursday’s draw in Monaco after a 2-1 aggregate win against Lokomotiv Moscow. An 84th minute Josef Valachovic strike gave Rapid a 1-0 win in Russia. Celtic’s conquerors in the last round Artmedia Bratislava won 4-3 on penalties against Partizan after the tie ended 0-0 on aggregate.

Second legs
Tuesday, 23 August 2005
Liverpool 0-1 CSKA Sofia (3-2 agg)
Lokomotiv Moscow 0-1 Rapid Vienna (1-2 agg)
Monaco 2-2 Real Betis (2-3 agg)
Panathinaikos 4-1 Wisla Krakow (5-4 agg, AET)
Partizan Belgrade 0-0 Artmedia (0-0 agg, AET)
Rosenborg 3-2 Steau Bucharest (4-3 agg)
FC Thun 3-0 Malmo (4-0 agg)
Udinese 3-2 Sporting Lisbon (4-2 agg)