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Malmo’s Filip Helander (left) fights for the ball with Sparta Praha’s David Lafata during the Champions League third qualifying round second leg soccer match at the Swedbank Stadium in Malmo, Sweden, Aug 6. (AP)
Ba hat-trick fires Besiktas into play-offs Celtic humbled

BERNE, Aug 7, (Agencies): A Demba Ba hat-trick sent Besiktas into the Champions League playoff round at the expense of former winners Feyenoord and past champions Celtic were humiliated 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw on Wednesday. Ludogorets Razgrad went through on away goals after a dramatic 2-2 draw at 10-man Partizan Belgrade and Zenit St Petersburg scored three second-half goals to end a brave challenge from AEL Limassol. Scotland’s Celtic, who reached the last 16 two seasons ago and beat Barcelona on the way, were humbled 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw after losing the second leg 2-0 at home. Michal Zyro and Michal Kucharczyk scored in each half to take the Polish champions within two games of their first group stage appearance since 1995-96.

Moldova, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan’s hopes of being represented in the group stage for the first time ended as their champions were all eliminated. Azerbaijan’s Qarabag Agdam took a 2-1 lead to Salzburg, only to be sunk by two-first half goals from Martin Hinteregger as they lost 2-0 to the Austrians in the third qualifying round, secondleg tie. Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol lost 2-1 on aggregate to Slovan Bratislava after a goalless draw at home to the Slovakians and Kazakhstan’s Aktobe were beaten 2-1 at former champions Steaua Bucharest, going out 4-3 on aggregate.

Napoli, Porto, Athletic Bilbao, Bayer Leverkusen and Arsenal enter the fray in the final qualifying round with the draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Friday. Besiktas, who finished third in the Turkish Super League last season, only qualified in a knock-on effect because champions Fenerbahce are serving the second of a two-year ban over domestic match-fixing in 2011. Leading 2-1 from the first leg, Besiktas extended their lead after 28 minutes when Mustafa Pektemek raced clear down the left and played in former Hoffenheim, Newcastle and Chelsea forward Ba, who slotted into the net with his right foot.
 
Elvis Manu lobbed an equaliser for Feyenoord in the 74th minute but Senegalese forward Ba replied with two goals in the last 10 minutes as the Turks won 3-1 to complete a 5-2 aggregate win. Cypriot league runners-up AEL, who took a 1-0 lead to Russia, had Danielzinho sent off in the 27th minute but held out until 10 minutes into the second half when Venezuelan Jose Rondon headed in for Zenit. The Russians avoided extra time when Danny and Aleksandr Kerzhakov, from a penalty, scored in the last three minutes to give them a 3-1 aggregate win. Cypriot champions APOEL Nicosia qualified, however, when Cillian Sheridan and Tomas De Vincenti’s penalty gave them a 2-0 win over HJK Helsinki for a 4-2 aggregate win.
 
Bulgarian champions Ludogorets, under new coach Georgi Dermendzhiev, knocked out Partizan for the second season running. Brazilian Marcelinho gave them a 2-0 lead with a quickfire brace midway through the first half, only for Partizan to hit back with a Petar Skuletic double in the space of five minutes. The Serbs lost momentum, however, after their centre back Branislav Trajkovic was shown a red card for slapping an opponent in the face shortly before halftime.
 
Danish champions Aalborg BK stunned Dinamo Zagreb when Anders Jacosben scored twice, the second a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area, to give them a 2-0 away win to overturn the Croatians’ 1-0 opening victory. Other teams to qualify were FC Copenhagen, who beat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-0 after a goalless draw in the first leg, and 1979 runners-up Malmo, who qualified on away goals after beating Sparta Prague 2-0 for a 4-4 aggregate draw. 
 
Meanwhile, Celtic manager Ronny Deila says he takes full responsibility after his side exited the Champions League following a resounding 6-1 aggregate defeat to Legia Warsaw in their third round qualifying match at Murrayfield. The Hoops boss, who replaced Neil Lennon in the summer, had called for more energy and urgency from his side following their humbling 4-1 defeat in the first leg in Poland last week. 
 
However, there was no notable improvement from the Hoops as goals from Michal Zyro and Michael Kucharczyk handed the Scottish champions a 2-0 second leg defeat to end their hopes of a third successive season in the Champions League. “Of course it is my responsibility but also I need time to get my ideas across and get the players I want to come in and get the best out of the players here,” Deila said. “It’s a new thing for the players and a new thing for me but we are working every day.
 
“I am disappointed and the performance wasn’t good enough but that’s where we are just now and where we have to start improving from. “I am not embarrassed by the result but I’m not satisfied. We have been in the Champions League for the past two years but this year we weren’t good enough - not by far. “That was one of our goals as a club and it’s where we want to be. I feel really sorry for the players because I know they wanted it but they didn’t perform good enough.” Deila only joined Celtic from unfashionable Norwegian side Stromsgodset, whom he led to the title, two months ago and the 38-year-old said the job to rebuild the team he inherited from Lennon was bigger than he thought.
 
“I came in here to do a job and to work together with the club to improve things. I’ve only been here for six weeks and right now it’s not good enough. That’s what I can see,” Deila said of the match, which was played at Murrayfield while Celtic Park is restored following the Commonwealth Games. “Of course when I sit here now I understand it is a big job and a big task in front of me. I see that we have to do a lot of things differently,” he said. “We need to make the squad better and we are working to get new players but we also have to do the best with what’s here. There’s a lot of skill and quality here but they haven’t shown it in the last two games and that’s what I’m going to work on in the next games.
 
“We have to bring in the best quality players we can with the money we have. I know that the club wants to improve the squad with good players. “We need players with pace, with ambition and who are young as I want to build up a team that can last for many years. I see things today that can be good but too many things that need improved. “We need to get players in as we need a new team and a better team.” Deila has only been in charge for four competitive games but such is the scale of the job at Celtic that pressure is already beginning to mount on him.

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