Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen, CSKA Moscow, BATE Borisov, Astana secure places in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United had double reason to celebrate on Wednesday—the team is back in the Champions League group stage and Wayne Rooney is back scoring goals.
Rooney ended a scoring drought of 10 games (preseason not included) stretching back to April 4 with a hat trick in United's 4-0 win at Club Brugge, helping the English club to a 7-1 victory on aggregate.
While the competition welcomed back one of Europe's biggest names, a club with a very different pedigree also advanced.
Formed just six years ago, FC Astana became the first team from Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage after drawing 1-1 at APOEL Nicosia for a 2-1 aggregate win.
Others teams to qualify on Wednesday were Bayer Leverkusen, CSKA Moscow and BATE Borisov. Leverkusen overcame a 1-0 deficit to Lazio, advancing on a 2-1 aggregate.
CSKA overturned a deficit of its own, scoring three unanswered goals to oust Sporting Lisbon 4-3 on aggregate, while BATE held off Partizan Belgrade, advancing on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw despite falling 2-1 on the day.