When Ajax on Tuesday pays PAOK in the third preliminary round of the Champions League, the team from Amsterdam will play in the play-offs against APOEL Nicosia. Partly thanks to Ruud Vormer, Club Brugge reached the play-offs at the expense of Dynamo Kiev.
Qarabag won the first game in Cyprus last week with 1-2, but that proved not to be enough for the team of coach Gurban Gurbanov. APOEL won the return in the Tofiq Bahramov stadium with 0-2 and moves on to the play-offs.
At halftime, a utilized penalty by Tomas De Vincenti made it 0-1 for APOEL after 34 minutes. Uros Matic, who played for NAC Breda between 2014 and 2016, made the necessary second goal twenty minutes before time. Qarabag ended the match with ten men, as Richard took his second yellow card in injury time.
APOEL Nicosia, which stunted in 2012 by making the quarterfinals of the Champions League, started this summer in the second heat of the million ball. The team of trainer Thomas Doll was too strong for FK Sutjeska from Montenegro in two games.
Ajax starts the return against PAOK at 8.30 p.m. in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Last week's outbound match in Greece ended in a 2-2 draw. If Ajax survive the return and then also beat APOEL Nicosia in two matches, the team of coach Erik ten Hag qualifies for the group stage of the Champions League.
See also: Ajax halfway 1-1 on PAOK in preliminary round CL
Vormer important for Bruges
Club Brugge qualified for the play-offs by eliminating Dynamo Kiev. After the 1-0 win in Belgium, a 3-3 draw was enough in the capital of Ukraine.
Ruud Vormer had a share in the first two goals of his team. The four-time international of Orange gave the assist to goal scorer Simon Deli at 1-1. Shortly before time, Vormer scored the 2-2.
In injury time Dynamo came to 3-2 and the Ukrainians went full on the hunt for the redeeming fourth goal, but Bruges could take advantage of the space in the counter via Lois Openda: 3-3. Both teams ended the game with red cards with ten men.