Aussies Abroad: Degenek’s Red Star advance in epic Champions League qualifier
Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek scored from the spot as his Red Star Belgrade stayed alive in their quest for this year’s UEFA Champions League by defeating FC Copenhagen on penalties on Wednesday morning (AEST).
In a crazy game in the Danish capital, it took 11 penalties from each side in the shootout before Red Star advanced 7-6.
It came after the second leg – like the first a week ago – ended 1-1, forcing the tie to extra-time and then penalties.
Degenek was the eighth player from Red Star to step up in the shootout, calmly converting his attempt to edge the Serbian champions in front.
A few kicks later and Red Star clinched the result as keeper Milan Borjan denied Jonas Wind’s tame effort to send the travelling fans into raptures.
It means Degenek’s side are just one more qualifying round away from booking their spot in the Champions League group stage for a second straight season.
Red Star take on Swiss Super League outfit Young Boys, with the first leg to be played in Switzerland next Thursday (AEST).
But the champions League dream is over for a few other Aussies on a massive morning of qualifying action.
Left-back Aziz Behich watched from the bench as his Istanbul Basaksehir lost 2-0 in Greece against Olympiakos to bow out of the running.
Scottish champions Celtic – who have Tom Rogic and Daniel Arzani on their books – were eliminated after a thrilling 4-3 loss at home against Romanian side CFR Cluj.
In England’s League Cup, there was penalty heartbreak for Caltex Socceroos defender Bailey Wright as his Bristol City were eliminated by fellow Championship outfit QPR.
After the sides were locked at 3-3 after full-time, it went to a shootout and it was a miss from Bristol City skipper Wright which saw QPR advance 5-4 on penalties.
Elsewhere, Mark Milligan skippered Southend United to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Stevenage thanks to Charlie Kelman’s brace.
Goalkeeper Adam Federici kept a clean sheet as his Stoke City overcame Wigan Athletic 1-0, while defender Harry Souttar played a full game for Fleetwood Town, who lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest.