Aussies Abroad: Degenek’s Red Star edge closer to Champions League qualification

Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek is one step closer to another season playing in the UEFA Champions League after his Red Star Belgrade advanced to the third qualifying round on Thursday morning.

Despite losing the second leg 2-1 to Finnish side HJK Helsinki, the Serbian champions advanced 3-2 on aggregate courtesy of their 2-0 first leg win last week.

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Dusan Jovancic got the vital away goal for Red Star in between strikes from Sebastian Dahlstrom and Riku Riski which gave the hosts a bittersweet win.

Degenek, who only re-joined Red Star last month from Saudi side Al Hilal, came on for the last few minutes in Helsinki to help his team see out the result.

Red Star’s next opponents in UCL qualifying will be Danish champions FC Copenhagen, who advanced with a 3-0 aggregate win over Welsh club The New Saints.

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The first leg of that tie will be played in Serbia next week.

Degenek’s Red Star are aiming to reach the Champions League group stage for a second straight season after being involved in the 2018/19 campaign, in a group which included eventual champions Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

Due to their commitments in UCL qualifying, Red Star’s league match against Vozdovac this weekend had been postponed.