SPORTS

Panathinaikos cruise into Champions League play-off round

Panathinaikos have comfortably negotiated the third qualifying round of the Champions League, beating Scottish side Motherwell 3-0 at home on Wednesday night.

The Greens? victory gave them a 5-0 win on aggregate over the Steelmen.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Charalampos Mavrias, both of whom scored in the first leg, and Ibrahim Sissoko got the goals, all of which came in the second half.

Some other big names in Europe stayed on course to reach the Champions League group stages on Wednesday by securing victories in the tournament’s third qualifying round.

Celtic, Anderlecht, Fenerbahce, FC Copenhagen and Dinamo Zagreb all secured their places in Friday’s draw for the play-off round, where they will be joined by sides from Europe’s biggest leagues.

Giorgos Samaras scored for Celtic as they beat HJK Helsinki 2-0 in Finland to secure a rare European away win and a 4-1 aggregate success.

Maribor, Helsingborg, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, CFR Cluj and AEL Limassol also won through to the next round, joining Dynamo Kiev and BATE Borisov, who both won on Tuesday.

They will go into Friday’s play-off round draw, along with Malaga, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Udinese, Lille, Spartak Moscow and Braga, who all now enter the competition just one step away from the lucrative group phase.

But the European adventure is not over for all the clubs beaten at this stage — they will be parachuted into the draw for the Europa League play-off round.

[Kathimerini