Jorge Jesus has a tough job on his hands, managing all of the newly arrived talent at Benfica

UEFA Champions League Playoff Round: Lyon Win, Twente And Benfica Draw

Only two of four very deserving sides - Lyon, Benfica, Rubin Kazan and FC Twente - can advance to the UEFA Champions League group stages. They play on Tuesday, along with four Champions Route sides.

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UEFA Champions League Playoff Round: Viktoria Plzen Win, BATE And Sturm Graz Draw

There were lots of matches in the UEFA Champions League playoff round on Tuesday, but none were as high anticipated as the clash between BATE Borisov and SK Sturm Graz and the battle between Plzen and FC Copenhagen. They were the stars of the day in Europe and the excitement will only build before next week's second leg. Okay, so maybe the two matches weren't anticipated by anyone outside the participating clubs, but they were still Champions League matches so I suppose we're supposed to care.

BATE Borisov 1-1 SK Sturm Graz

It looked like Sturm Graz was on their way to a great away win in the first leg after Manuel Weber struck just a dozen minutes into the match. Up a goal, Sturm Graz held their own and began to inch their way to victory, but then Marko Simic equalized for Borisov on the hour mark. Even so, Sturm Graz picked up an away goal and a draw in Belarus so they head back home for the second leg in fantastic shape.

FC Copenhagen 1-3 Plezn

Copenhagen matched Plezn by putting two in the goal, but the problem is that one went into their own net. A Solvi Ottesen own goal broke the deadlock after halftime then seven minutes later Vaclav Pilar doubled Plezn's lead. Ottesen cancelled out his own goal by putting one in the correct net to cut Plezn's lead in half, but Martin Fillo's goal 10 minutes from time wrapped things up for the Czech side as they claimed a dominant away win.


Olympique Lyon Vs. Rubin Kazan, UEFA Champions League Playoff: Full Time, OL Win 3-1

After an absolutely disastrous start to the first leg of their UEFA Champions League playoff round tie against Rubin Kazan, Olympique Lyonnais have all but punched their ticket to the group stages of the competition with a 3-1 home win on Tuesday night. Though Rubin's away goal will still give them plenty of work to do in Russia, the French giants look set for yet another trip to the final 32 of the competition, and will just have to manage to avoid a 2-0 loss or any three goal loss next week.

Vladimir Dyadyun got the visitors on the board after just three minutes, indicating that the match might be a potentially disastrous one for OL. However, they fought back quickly through Bafetimbi Gomis, who netted goals in the 10th and 40th minutes to give OL a halftime lead. Jimmy Briand added a goal in the 71st minute, sealing a win for Lyon and giving them a massive advantage going into the second leg.

Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov should have done better on Gomis' second, but he was otherwise solid in goal and kept Lyon from scoring more. The visitors will have a chance to overturn their bad result at home thanks to an away goal, but they face a serious uphill climb to get into the Champions League group stages.


Olympique Lyon Vs. Rubin Kazan, UEFA Champions League Playoff: Halftime, Lyon Lead By 2-1 Score

Though expected to play a conservative and defensive match, Rubin Kazan and Olympique Lyonnais have done nothing of the sort to this point, playing a shockingly open match that produced three first half goals. Rubin appeared to have had their hosts reeling after scoring just three minutes in, but Lyon are now back in control of the tie thanks to two goals from Bafetimbi Gomis. At halftime, they lead by a score of 2-1.

Vladimir Dyadyun scored the opener on a very crafty finish inside of the box, giving his team a massive advantage. It took Lyon just eight minutes to equalize, though, as Gomis applied a fantastic finish of his own in the 11th minute. Lyon would finally find their go-ahead goal in the 40th minute, as Gomis scored off a deflection at the near post. Despite the deflection, Sergei Ryzhikov should have done better. Anyone who is a regular viewer of Rubin Kazan's matches will think I sound like a broken record.

Rubin are in a good position with an away goal, but Lyon still have the advantage at the moment. One goal by either side would seriously change the tie at this point.


Olympique Lyon Vs. Rubin Kazan, UEFA Champions League Playoff: Lineups

Based on the performances of both teams over the last two years in Europe, it's a bit of a shame that one of either Olympique Lyonnais or Rubin Kazan will not be able to participate in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. Of course, both have made their own bed by not finishing high enough in their domestic leagues last season, but there is little doubt that both are among the 32 teams most deserving of a Champions League place this season. Sadly, one will be banished to the Europa League come next week. Lyon will be looking to get a big win at home, and anything less will be a major disappointment. Here are the lineups.

Lyon lineup: Lloris; Kone, Lovren, Kallstrom, Lisandro, Michel Bastos, Reveillere, Gomis, Briand, Cissokho, Gonalons

Rubin Kazan lineup: Ryzhikov; Kuzmin, Kasaev, Noboa, Kaleshin, Dyadyun, Bocchetti, Gokdeniz, Natcho, Kvirkvelia, Sharonov

Kickoff is at 2:45 pm ET, 7:45 pm BST. Check your local listings for available TV coverage. The game is available streaming online through pay services at and

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