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First-half goal flurry sends Liverpool into group stage

Football Soccer - Champions League - Playoffs - Liverpool vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Liverpool, Britain - August 23, 2017 Hoffenheim’s Sandro Wagner celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Football Soccer - Champions League - Playoffs - Liverpool vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Liverpool, Britain - August 23, 2017 Hoffenheim’s Sandro Wagner celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

ZURICH (Reuters) - Liverpool scored three goals in 12 dramatic first-half minutes as they swept to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim in the second leg of their playoff tie to qualify for the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.

Emre Can scored twice to help Liverpool to a 6-3 aggregate win and wreck Hoffenheim's dreams of qualifying for the first time.

Qarabag became the first team from Azerbaijan to reach the group stage despite losing 2-1 away to FC Copenhagen. They qualified on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Sporting scored four second-half goals to beat FCSB, formerly Steaua Bucharest, 5-1 away following a goalless draw in the first leg. CSKA Moscow went through with a 2-0 win over Young Boys (3-0 on aggregate) and a goalless draw at Slavia Prague was enough for APOEL Nicosia to go through (2-0).

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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