Wednesday August 21 2013
CL: Piovaccari scores for Steaua

Arsenal, Basel and Austria Vienna have one foot in the Champions League, as Federico Piovaccari was Steaua Bucharest’s hero.

The first legs of the Champions League play-offs were completed this evening with some surprising results.

Arsenal made short work of Fenerbahce, winning 3-0 in Istanbul with Kieron Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and an Olivier Giroud penalty.

However, Laurent Koscielny went off with a nasty injury after he was accidentally kicked in the face.

Austria Vienna look to have taken a scalp with their 2-0 victory away to Dinamo Zagreb. Marin Leovac and Marko Stankovic were on target, but Ante Rukavina saw red for the hosts on 71 minutes.

Basel survived a scare to win 4-2 away to Ludogorets in Bulgaria. They had been leading, then trailing 2-1 and eventually emerged with a 4-2 victory.

Ludogorets went down to 10 men for the last seven minutes when Junior Caicara was sent off for giving away a penalty.

Steaua Bucharest’s tie is wide open after a 1-1 home draw with Legia Warsaw. The scoring was opened by Italian Piovaccari, who has never even played in Serie A, yet has netted twice in the Champions League qualifiers this summer.

The 28-year-old striker is still owned by Sampdoria and moved to Bucharest on loan.

Germans Schalke 04 are also in the balance, surprisingly held 1-1 at home by Greek team PAOK. Jefferson Farfan’s opener was wiped out by Miroslav Stoch’s first goal in 16 months.