Caltex Socceroos Tom Rogic and Milos Degenek are one step closer to playing in this season’s UEFA Champions League after their clubs progressed to the final qualifying round on Thursday morning (AEST).
Rogic’s Celtic advanced 3-1 on aggregate against Norway’s Rosenborg – where Alex Gersbach was an unused substitute – after a goalless draw in the second leg in Trondheim.
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Brendon Rodgers’ men – who dominated the first leg in Scotland last week – survived a few nervy moments but were largely untroubled on the night.
Rogic, who has only been back in pre-season training for three weeks, was left on the bench and came on just after the hour-mark as the visitors held out.
They’ll now face Greek outfit AEK Athens in the next round, with the Scottish champions at home in the first leg at Celtic Park on August 9 (AEST).
The winner over the two legs will go into the draw for the group stage for this season’s Champions League.
We achieved the objective, which was to get through over the two games. It was a different type of game to last week,” Rodgers said.
“I haven’t watched them [AEK Athens] yet, but they’ll be a good side, I’m sure,” he added.
“They’re at this level of competition so they’ll be a good side but so are we, and we’ll hope to show that in the first-leg next week.”
Degenek continues to shine since his move to Red Star Belgrade, playing another 90 minutes at the heart of defence in their 2-0 win over Suduva in Lithuania.
The win was set up with two first-half goals from El Fardou Ben Mohamed and Nemanja Radonjic.
The Serbians now face Slovak side over two legs over the next few weeks to try and get in the main draw.
Elsewhere, keeper Danny Vukovic was an unused sub for Genk as they beat Fola Esch 4-1 in Europa League qualifying, wrapping up a 9-1 aggregate win.
In the J-League, fellow gloveman Mitch Langerak got through 90 minutes as Nagoya Grampus beat Vegalta Sendai 2-1, while Mitch Duke also played a full match for Shimizu S-Pulse, as they edged out Sagan Tosu 1-0.