PSV sent crashing as Benfica, Young Boys and Malmo clinch Champions League spots

By Sports Desk August 24, 2021

Ten-man Benfica survived a PSV onslaught to join Young Boys and Malmo in clinching a spot in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday.

The Portuguese side lost Lucas Verissimo to a second yellow card with 32 minutes played in the second leg at Philips Stadion, yet PSV could not find a way through from any of their 21 shots, eight of which were saved by Odisseas Vlachodimos.

PSV had 73 per cent possession and wasted a huge chance when Eran Zahavi hit the bar with the goal gaping, but their failure to score ensured Benfica went through to the competition proper 2-1 on aggregate following their victory on home soil last week.

Young Boys are also through at the expense of stubborn Ferencvaros side thanks to a 3-2 win in Budapest to complete a 6-4 aggregate victory.

Ferencvaros battled back through goals from Henry Wingo and Ryan Mmaee in the space of nine first-half minutes to cancel out Cedric Zesiger's opener on the day, making it 4-4 on aggregate.

But Christian Fassnacht swung the game back in Young Boys' favour and Felix Mambimbi sealed the win after Aissa Laidouni had been shown a second yellow, condemning Ferencvaros to Europa League football in the process.

Ludogorets must also settle for a place in Europe's secondary competition this term, despite beating Malmo 2-1 in the second leg of their playoff-round tie.

The Swedish visitors held a 2-0 advantage from the reverse fixture and that came in handy when Ludogorets skipper Anton Nedyalkov struck 10 minutes into the match at Huvepharma Arena.

Veljko Birmancevic hit back for Malmo before half-time to restore their two-goal lead and they held on to reach the Champions League group stage for a third time, and first since 2016, despite Pieros Sotiriou's penalty on the hour setting up a nervy finish.

Malmo, along with Benfica and Young Boys, will discover their group stage opponents on Thursday when the draw is made in Istanbul.

The second legs of the other three play-offs involving Brondby, Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Sheriff Tiraspol, Shakhtar Donetsk and Monaco will take place on Wednesday.

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