Malaga have one foot in Champions League

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Updated: August 23, 2012

Malaga gave themselves an excellent chance of qualifying for the Champions League for the first time by beating Panathinaikos 2-0 at home in the first leg of their playoff on Wednesday.

Udinese, like Malaga hit by a flurry of summer departures, held Braga 1-1 away and Belarus champions BATE Borisov appear on the brink of a second successive group stage appearance after a 2-0 home win over Israel’s Hapoel Kiryat Shmona.

AEL Limassol, hoping to provide more success for Cyprus after Apoel’s run to the quarterfinals last season, won 2-1 against Anderlecht.

Milan Badelj scored in the 74th minute to give Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb a 2-1 win at home to Maribor, from neighbouring Slovenia.

Celtic took a giant step towards reaching the Champions League group stages for the first time in four years with a 2-0 win over Swedish side Helsingborg on Tuesday.

That could well include Dynamo Kiev, 3-1 winners at Borussia Moenchengladbach, but French side Lille have plenty of work to do after a 1-0 defeat at FC Copenhagen.

In other ties, Spartak Moscow enjoyed a 2-1 home win over Turkish visitors Fenerbahce while Swiss outfit FC Basle suffered a 2-1 loss to CFR Cluj of Romania.