Football: Five-star Spain as Valencia make Champions League history

Valencia's players celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League playoff football match between AS Monaco FC vs Valencia CF in Monaco on Tuesday,
Valencia's players celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League playoff football match between AS Monaco FC vs Valencia CF in Monaco on Tuesday,PHOTO: AFP

MONACO (REUTERS) - Spain became the first nation to have five teams in the Champions League group stage in a single season after Valencia squeezed past Monaco 4-3 on aggregate in the playoff round despite a 2-1 defeat at the French side on Tuesday.

Valencia joined holders Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, who gained an automatic berth as last season's winners of the second-tier Europa League.

On a night of pulsating action, Malmo, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Shakhtar Donetsk also booked money-spinning group stage spots in Europe's premier club competition.

Swedish title holders Malmo advanced for a second successive season after Markus Rosenberg and a Dedryck Boyata own goal gave them a 2-0 home win over Celtic which a overturned a 3-2 first leg deficit.

Croatians Dinamo qualified for the third time in the past five seasons, beating Skenderbeu 4-1 at home to complete a 6-2 overall victory over the Albanians.

A nervy 2-2 home draw with Rapid Vienna saw Shakhtar through after a 1-0 win in the first leg while Maccabi edged out Basel on away goals, a 1-1 home draw being just enough following last week's 2-2 tie in Switzerland.

The top match of Wednesday's action features Manchester United's visit to Bruges, where the three-time winners will defend a 3-1 first leg advantage over the Belgians.