Demba Ba hat-trick fires Beşiktaş past Feyenoord
BERNE - Reuters
Beşiktaş players celebrate their victory after beating Feyenoord 3-1 in Istanbul's Olympic Stadium, booking their ticket for the playoff stage of the Champions League. AA PhotoA Demba Ba hat-trick sent Beşiktaş into the Champions League playoff round at the expense of former winners Feyenoord on Aug. 6.
The Black Eagles, who finished third in the Turkish Super League last season, only qualified in a knock-on effect because champions Fenerbahçe are serving the second of a two-year ban over domestic match-fixing in 2011.
Following a 2-1 first leg victory, Beşiktaş extended their lead after 28 minutes when Mustafa Pektemek raced clear down the left and played in former Hoffenheim, Newcastle and Chelsea forward Ba, who slotted into the net with his right foot.
Elvis Manu lobbed an equaliser for Feyenoord in the 74th minute but Senegalese forward Ba replied with two goals in the last 10 minutes as the Istanbul side won 3-1 to complete a 5-2 aggregate win.
Now rivals such as Arsenal, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen or Zenit expect Beşiktaş in the playoff round.
But Croatian coach Slaven Bilic said that whichever team they may face, they will play without fear. "This team has a lot of potential. I won't select any rival. They are all respectable teams. We will try to achieve a surprise," Bilic said following the match, adding that he was satisfied with his team's performance.
"We weren't aggressive enough during the first half. We were nervous until the first goal, but we then played very well," he said, while praising Demba Ba's game.
"I spoke with him many times, he is not yet at 100 percent. But his name is sufficient," Bilic said.
Elsewhere, Ludogorets Razgrad went through on away goals after a dramatic 2-2 draw at 10-man Partizan Belgrade and Zenit St Petersburg scored three second-half goals to end a brave challenge from AEL Limassol
Scotland's Celtic, who reached the last 16 two seasons ago and beat Barcelona on the way, were humbled 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw after losing the second leg 2-0 at home.
Michal Zyro and Michal Kucharczyk scored in each half to take the Polish champions within two games of their first group stage appearance since 1995-96.
Moldova, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan's hopes of being represented in the group stage for the first time ended as their champions were all eliminated.
Azerbaijan's Qarabag Agdam took a 2-1 lead to Salzburg, only to be sunk by two-first half goals from Martin Hinteregger as they lost 2-0 to the Austrians in the third qualifying round, secondleg tie.
Moldova's Sheriff Tiraspol lost 2-1 on aggregate to Slovan Bratislava after a goalless draw at home to the Slovakians and Kazakhstan's Aktobe were beaten 2-1 at former champions Steaua Bucharest, going out 4-3 on aggregate.
Other teams to qualify were FC Copenhagen, who beat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-0 after a goalless draw in the first leg, and 1979 runners-up Malmo, who qualified on away goals after beating Sparta Prague 2-0 for a 4-4 aggregate draw.
Napoli, Porto, Athletic Bilbao, Bayer Leverkusen and Arsenal enter the fray in the final qualifying round with the draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Aug. 8.