Arsenal ease into group stages
Gunners join APOEL, Fiorentina, Olympiakos and Stuttgart in Champions League.
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2009 22:49 GMT

Arsenal's Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin celebrates his third goal [AFP]
Arsenal beat Celtic 3-1 to confirm their place in the group stage of the Champions League beside APOEL of Cyprus and Fiorentina of Italy.

The Gunners were already 2-0 ahead in their playoff after last week's first leg in Glasgow and completed a 5-1 aggregate win over the visiting Scottish side through goals by Eduardo Da Silva, Emmanuel Eboue and substitute Andrei Arshavin.

APOEL beat Copenhagen 3-1 to give Cyprus a team in the group stage for a second straight year, while Fiorentina rallied to draw 1-1 with Sporting Lisbon and clinched their place on away goals.

Olympiakos and Stuttgart also advanced and will be in Thursday's 32-team draw in Monaco alongside the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and defending champions Barcelona.

Controversial penalty

Celtic's already slim chances of reaching the group stage got even slimmer in the 28th minute when Arsenal striker Eduardo scored from a penalty kick that arguably should not have been awarded.

Eduardo burst into the area after an exchange of passes with Nicklas Bendtner but appeared to have pushed the ball out of play when he tumbled to the ground near goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Boruc slid in and appeared not to touch Eduardo but the referee awarded the kick and the Croatia striker scored easily.

Second leg results & fixtures

Tuesday 25 August

Anderlecht 1 Olympique Lyon 3
Olympique Lyon win 8-2 on aggregate

Atletico Madrid 2 Panathinaikos 0
Atletico Madrid win 5-2 on aggregate

Debrecen 2 Levski Sofia 0
Debrecen win 4-1 on aggregate

FC Zurich 2 FK Ventspils 1
FC Zurich win 5-1 on aggregate

Maccabi Haifa 3 Salzburg 0
Maccabi Haifa win 5-1 on aggregate

Wednesday 26 August

APOEL Nicosia 3 FC Copenhagen 1
APOEL Nicosia win 3-2 on aggregate

Arsenal 3 Celtic 1
Arsenal win 5-1 on aggregate

Fiorentina 1 Sporting 1
3-3 on aggregate, Fiorentina win on away goals rule

Olympiakos Piraeus 1 Sheriff Tiraspol 0
Olympiakos Piraeus win 3-0 on aggregate

VfB Stuttgart 0 FC Timisoara 0
VfB Stuttgart win 2-0 on aggregate

Arsenal had already been dominating possession and chances and, although Celtic striker Scott McDonald had a goal ruled out for offside five minutes before halftime, Eduardo had a 25-yard shot saved at the other end and Eboue effectively ended the contest when he made it 2-0 with a low shot in the 53rd.

The ease of the win meant that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was able to withdraw Abou Diaby, Eboue and Eduardo in the second half to rest them in advance of Saturday's English Premier League meeting with Manchester United.

Star playmaker Arshavin made it onto the field for the last 18 minutes but needed just two before he turned and shot in the area to make it 3-0.

Massimo Donati got Celtic's lone goal in injury time.

Celtic, like all the other playoff losers, will drop down into the second-tier Europa League.

Surging lead

Anorthosis Famagusta made Cyprus' debut in the Champions League last season and APOEL emulated it with three first-half goals.

Copenhagen led 1-0 after the first match but APOEL surged into a 2-0 lead and, although Dame N'Doye got a goal back for Copenhagen, Chrysostomos Michail hit his second goal of the match to make it 3-2 on aggregate.

Fiorentina looked to be heading out of the tournament at 1-0 down to visiting Sporting Lisbon, but Stevan Jovetic equalised in the 54th to make it 1-1 and tie the scores at 3-3 on aggregate - enough to put the Italian team through on the two away goals they scored in the first leg.

Greece's Olympiakos advanced 3-0 on aggregate after a 1-0 win over visiting Moldovan team Sheriff, while a 0-0 draw meant that Stuttgart advanced 2-0 over Timisoara of Romania.

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