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Pavlovic hat-trick gives Copenhagen win

FC Copenhagen forward Andrija Pavlovic scored a 15-minute hat-trick to give the Danish side a 3-1 win at Zilina in their Champions League qualifying second-round first leg on Wednesday.

Alexei Rios scored at both ends as BATE Borisov were surprisingly held 1-1 at home by Armenian champions Alashkert and Ludogorets Razgrad suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Zalgiris Vilnius.

Twenty-nine national champions have entered the fray in the second qualifying round, joining five teams who made their way through the first round.

A team starting at this stage would have to play 18 matches to reach the final in Kiev on 26 May.

Zilina took a first-half lead through Nikolas Spalek but the Slovakian champions fell apart after midfielder Miroslav Kacer was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 61st minute.

Copenhagen, who reached the group stage last season, levelled when Pavlovic curled in a 25 metre left-foot shot in the 68th minute.

The Serb scored from close range after a one-two and completed his hat-trick when he was left unmarked to head in at the far post in the 83rd minute.

Belarusian champions Borisov, who have reached the group stage four times in the last six seasons, went ahead when Rios headed in from Igor Stasevich’s in-swinging free-kick two minutes before halftime.

But the right-back turned villain in the 78th minute when Borisov goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski parried a low cross and the ball rebounded off Rios and into the net.

Madagascar midfielder Anicet Abel gave Bulgarian champions Ludogorets a first-half lead in Lithuania but Serge Nyuiadzi and Mantas Kuklys replied for Zalgiris in the last 15 minutes.

Zalgiris suffered a setback when forward Darvydas Sernas, their leading scorer in the league this season, was sent off in stoppage time and will miss the second leg.

Malmo’s attempt to qualify for the group stage for the third time in four seasons suffered a setback when they were held 1-1 at home by Macedonian champions Vardar Skopje.

Legia Warsaw enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win at Finland’s IFK Mariehamn and Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva beat Hungarians Honved 2-1 at home to leave their tie finely balanced.

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