BRUGGE: A Wayne Rooney hat-trick has fired Manchester United back into the group stage of the Champions League with a 4-0 win, 7-1 on aggregate, in their play-off second leg at Club Brugge.
Rooney’s treble was also a timely return to form for the England striker, who had gone 10 games without a goal for United.
United missed out on Champions League football last season but have made amends and will discover their group opponents in Friday’s (AEST) draw in Monaco.
Meanwhile, Lazio crashed 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen, losing 3-1 on aggregate after heading to Germany hoping to defend a one-goal advantage and reach the main draw for the first time since the 2007/08 season.
But the Italians were trailing following goals from Hakan Calhanoglu (40) and Admir Mehmedi (48) and faced an uphill battle as they played the last 20 minutes with 10 men when Brazilian Mauricio was sent off for a second yellow card.
Karim Bellarabi put the result beyond any doubt for the Germans when he finished into an empty net two minutes from time after good work from Julian Brandt.
Astana made history as they became the first Kazakh team to qualify for the main competition with a 1-1 draw at Cypriot side Apoel in a 2-1 aggregate victory.
The Kazakh club had taken a 1-0 lead to the Cypriot capital Nicosia for their second leg against 2012 quarter-finalists APOEL.
Semir Stilic’s superb free-kick put the Cypriots ahead after 60 minutes but six minutes from time Nemanja Maksimovic tapped in the winner from close range.
In Serbia, Belarusian champions BATE Borisov reached the group stages for the fourth time in five years on away goals after a 2-1 loss at Partizan Belgrade, having won the first leg 1-0.
Igor Stasevich put BATE ahead after 25 minutes only for Partizan to level after 74 minutes via an own goal from BATE’s Maksim Zhavnerchik.
An injury-time Ivan Saponjic goal proved academic in the end as Partizan earned a hollow victory on the night.
2010 quarter-finalists CSKA Moscow also advanced after a come-from-behind 3-1 success against Sporting Lisbon, 4-3 on aggregate, to add to their record of seven wins out of seven in Russia this season.