Celtic into Champions League playoffs

Celtic booked their place in the Champions League playoffs as a goalless draw against Elfsborg in Boras gave Neil Lennon’s men a 1-0 aggregate triumph.

The Hoops travelled to Sweden for the second leg of their third qualifying round with a Kris Commons goal to defend, and while it was not a great display from manager Lennon’s team they did enough to get through the tie.

On the Swedish club’s artificial surface, both teams had chances in an opening 45 minutes with Elfsborg’s on-loan striker, Mo Bangura, missing a sitter against his parent club.

By comparison the second half was dour, and while the final stages were tense the Scottish champions remained solid to the end.

The draw for the playoffs takes place on Friday, with the Parkhead club a step closer to the lucrative group stages of the competition from which they emerged last season to reach the last 16 of the competition.

Zenit St Petersburg made no mistake in booking their place in the playoff round in a 6-0 aggregate thrashing of FC Nordsjaelland.

A potential shock in the third round of qualifying had been on the cards ever since the Russians edged a slender 1-0 win in the first leg, but Luciano Spalletti’s men quickly dispelled any such illusions among the traveling Danish fans.

Roman Shirokov opened the scoring on 26 minutes before Hulk (50) and Danny (62) struck after the break to give Zenit an imposing lead.

Substitute Andrey Arshavin added a fourth goal in the 68th minute and the hosts even rode out the dismissal of defender Luis Neto to complete the rout through Shirokov on the stroke of full-time.

PSV beat Zulte Waregem of Belgium 3-0 away to wrap up a 5-0 aggregate win

Dinamo Zagreb ensured Croatia were represented in the next round after cruising to a 4-0 aggregate win at Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova.

Dinamo led 1-0 from the first leg and goals from Said Husejinovic (10), El Arbi Hillel Soudani (27) and Duje Cop (61) put the outcome of the tie beyond doubt.

Elsewhere, Austria Vienna survived the second-half dismissal of Markus Suttner to ride out a goalless draw at FH Hafnarfjordur and progress with a 1-0 aggregate victory, while a 1-1 draw between Metalist Kharkiv and PAOK was enough to see the Ukrainian club progress.

Metalist held a 2-0 advantage before tonight’s game and Sebastian Blanco effectively poured cold water on Greek hopes of a comeback with a 72nd-minute goal, but substitute Tomas Necid would pull one back seven minutes from time.