Valencia on course for return to Champions League group phase

LONDON: Sofiane Feghouli's late goal eased the nerves at Valencia's Mestalla as the Spanish club grabbed a 3-1 victory over Monaco in the first leg of their Champions league playoff round tie on Wednesday.

The Algerian's 86th minute intervention gave two-times runners-up Valencia a reasonable cushion for next week's second leg across the Mediterranean as they attempt to return to the group stage after a two-year absence.

Scottish champions Celtic also looked set to travel to Malmo with some breathing space but Jo Inge Berget's goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time left them the sweating with a 3-2 win.

Swiss club FC Basel, who reached the round of 16 last season, face a tough second leg away to Maccabi Tel Aviv after Eran Zahavi's stoppage time header earned the Israel side a 2-2 draw. Zahavi was a thorn in Basel's side all night having put Maccabi ahead before Matias Delgado drew the hosts level from the penalty spot.

Shakhtar Donetsk were 1-0 winners away to Rapid Vienna with Marlos scoring just before halftime of a frenetic game in which both sides received four bookings.

Another late goal, scored by Josip Pivaric, gave Croatians Dinamo Zagreb a 2-1 win over Skenderbeu who now have their work cut out if they are to become the first Albanian club to play in the group stage of Europe's lucrative club competition.