Moldova’s Lowly Sheriff Advances To Champions League Groups

There will be a new Sheriff in the Champions League this season, giving Moldova its first entry in the group stage.

Sheriff advanced easily Wednesday with a 0-0 draw at Dinamo Zagreb after winning 3-0 in the home leg of their playoff last week.

The low-ranked club from Tiraspol in the breakaway region of Transnistria had to get through all four qualifying rounds to reach the group-stage draw.

Sheriff has won the Moldovan title in 19 of the past 21 seasons and will finally take its place alongside Europes most storied teams. The draw Thursday includes 10 of the 12 clubs whose owners tried to wreck the Champions League by launching a European Super League in April.

Moldova is typically described as the poorest country in Europe and Sheriff will now earn about 16 million euros ($18.84 million) in guaranteed prize money from UEFA.

Wealthy Salzburg returned to the group stage with a 4-2 aggregate score against Brndby, adding a 2-1 win in Denmark to victory by the same score in Austria last week.

United States midfielder Brenden Aaronsons 10th-minute goal for Salzburg on Wednesday followed his 90th-minute winner in the first leg.

In the other playoff game, Shakhtar Donetsk and Monaco were playing extra time after a 2-1 win for the visiting French side made the aggregate score 2-2.

UEFA has now abolished the away goals rule which would have taken Monaco through had it still applied.


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