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August 7, 2009

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Away win puts Celtic through

CELTIC ended a six-year wait for an away victory in Europe on Wednesday - the former European champion winning 2-0 at Dinamo Moscow to seal a place in the playoff round for the Champions League group stages.

Moldovan champion FC Sheriff Tiraspol advanced in a dramatic fashion after a last-gasp goal from Nadson earned it a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague and an away goals win but there was no such joy for Shakhtar Donetsk.

The UEFA Cup holders made a surprise exit, going out on away goals after a 0-0 draw in Romania against FC Timisoara meant their third qualifying round tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.

Belarus side BATE Borisov, which played in the group stages last season, endured a similar fate as it also went out on away goals against Latvians FK Ventspils.

Sergei Krivets scored twice for BATE as it won 2-1 at home on the night but Igor Tigirlas's early strike proved crucial for Ventspils who won the first leg 1-0.

Champions League regular Olympiakos Piraeus beat Slovan Bratislava 2-0 to complete a 4-0 aggregate victory.

It was joined in the playoff round by Bulgarians Levski Sofia, Hungarian champion Debrecen, FC Copenhagen, Cypriots Apoel Nicosia and FC Zurich which won 3-0 against NK Maribor in Slovenia after losing the home leg 3-2.

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray snapped an embarrassing away record for the Glasgow side at the first time of asking.

Scott McDonald's header on the stroke of halftime and a stoppage time goal from Greek striker Georgios Samaras gave Celtic a 2-1 aggregate victory after Mowbray's first competitive game in charge last week ended in a 1-0 defeat against the Russians.

"We got what we deserved," Mowbray told the BBC. "We controlled the game for long periods and got our reward."


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