Arsenal eased past Glasgow Celtic (3-1) in the last Champions League qualifying round to reach the group stages, while Italian side Fiorentina had to dig deep to edge out Sporting Lisbon on goal average after a hard-fought draw.
REUTERS - Arsenal eased into the group stages of the Champions League on Wednesday, outclassing Celtic 3-1 to enter Thursday's draw where they will be joined by Fiorentina, VfB Stuttgart, Olympiakos and APOEL Nicosia.
A harshly-awarded penalty converted by Eduardo after 28 minutes allowed Arsenal to build on their 2-0 victory in Glasgow in the first leg of their final playoff round tie last week.
Emmanuel Eboue and Andrei Arshavin both scored after the break while Massimo Donati salvaged a little pride for the Scottish side with a stoppage-time volley.
The 5-1 aggregate victory for Arsenal by no means flattered the north London club who have started the season in impressive style, winning all their four games and scoring 15 goals in the process.
Serie A side Fiorentina squeezed through on away goals against Portugal's Sporting after a 1-1 home draw left the tie level at 3-3. Steven Jovetic equalised for Fiorentina on the night after Sporting had gone ahead on aggregate through Joao Moutinho.
Stuttgart were held 0-0 at home by Timisoara of Romania but progressed courtesy of their 2-0 away win last week. APOEL beat FC Copenhagen 3-1 for a 3-2 aggregate win while Greek side Olympiakos ended the dreams of Moldovans Sheriff Tirsaspol, completing a 3-0 aggregate win.
The 10 winners of the playoff ties will join the clubs who automatically qualified for the lucrative group stages, including holders Barcelona and runners-up Manchester United.
Date created : 2009-08-26