Unpolished performance: FC Copenhagen close in on Europa League group stage

Nervy Lions beat Polish outfit Piast Gliwice, but SønderjyskE were knocked out of contention following Czech drubbing

FC Copenhagen are one step away from reaching their 14 European group stage appearance in 15 years after beating Polish side Piast Gliwice at home 3-0 in the third round of the Europa League qualification round last night. 

The Lions started brightly and went ahead after 14 minutes through Kamil Wilczek before a finish by Jonas Wind settled jittery nerves early in the second half.

The Danes seemed unorganised and defended with desperation at times in the second half as the Poles pushed for a goal, but held on to see Pep Biel seal the deal in injury time.

To reach the group stage, FCK now face HNK Rijeka of Croatia in another one-off game in Copenhagen in the playoff round on October 1.

READ ALSO: SønderjyskE acquired by American investor

South Jutlanders Czech out
Elsewhere, it was the end of the line for Danish Cup winners SønderjyskE, which got new US owners this week.

The Light Blues went behind to Czech stalwarts Viktoria Plzen thanks to a terrible penalty decision before succumbing to the final score of 0-3.

The final Danish side in European contention, FC Midtjylland, faired better in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, securing a 0-0 draw to Slavia Prague on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League playoff round.

The return leg  will be played in Herning on September 30.