Recap: Champions League Play-offs

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The last hurdle into the Champions League group stages saw two teams with American interests go through, while two were knocked out of the competition. 

Ferencvaros 2 – 3 Young Boys

In this battle that pitted Jordan Siebatcheu Pefok’s Young Boys against Henry Wingo’s Ferencvaros in the Hungarian capital, it was the Swiss side that came up trumps and fought their way into the next round of this prestigious European competition with a narrow victory.

Both of the Americans got the nod with WIngo in his right back position and Pefok playing up front for his American coach, David Wagner.  It was Wingo who looked the better of the two Yanks with his first half goal, while Pefok took a poor second half penalty and saw it saved.  He was substituted five minutes before the full 90.

Ferencvaros went behind early on when Cedric Zesiger nodded home a fourth minute goal, giving the visitors a bit more cushion with the aggregate score, putting them up by a pair of goals.

The Hungarians however turned the game around Wingo got on the score sheet.  A cross from the right flank into the crowded box was punched away by David von Ballmoos, but the Swiss keeper only got enough on it to send it right into the path of the American defender, who scored from inside the six yard box.

Nine minutes later the Hungarians found themselves in front when their Belgian striker Ryan Mmaee used his head to take the lead.  The goals put Ferencvaros ahead on the night and gave them the momentum but in the second half those Young Boys got the upper hand, thanks in part to Aissa Laidouni  seeing yellow for the second time and shown his marching orders in the 64th minute.  Not 10 minutes later, Pefok was taking a penalty that Denes Dibusz saved.

The hosts pushed forward, hoping to score and send the game into extra time but on the break, Felix Mambimbi, who replaced his American team mate, put the game to bed and the Swiss team into the next round.  Both legs finished 3-2 in favor of David Wagner’s men.

Brondby 1 – 2 Salzburg

RB Salzburg arrived at Brondby Stadium in Denmark a goal up from the first leg and full of confidence, having won their first five Bundesliga games of the season as well as the first leg of the tie.  Brenden Aaronson started the game for the Austrians and went the distance, while Christian Cappis started on the bench and stayed there for the duration.  Aaronson also found the back of the net early in the game.

The Salzburgers got to work right away when Mohamed Camara was on the half way line, looked up and sent a long ball into the Brondby box that Benjamin Sesko brought down with his chest and blasted it from 10 yards out past Mats Hermansen between the sticks.  The opener came after only four minutes.

If the Danish keeper wasn’t at fault for the first goal, he certainly had a hand in the second one.  The 21-year-old decided to play the ball across the face of his goal but his hospital pass only found the Slovenian goal scorer who turned into provider when he charged into the box with the ball at his feet and slid the ball to his American team mate, who slotted it home in the 10th minute.

The tie seemed to belong to the visitors, who were up 4-1 on aggregate but with a half hour still on the clock, the Boys from Vestegnen got one back when a free kick from 30 yards out found captain Andreas Maxso’s head inside the crowded box, thus ruining Red Bull keeper Philipp Kohn’s clean sheet.

Both Jordan Siebatcheu Pefok and Brenden Aaronson and their team’s will look forward to the group stage draw on Thursday afternoon.


Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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