By James Agberebi:
Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was on target for French club OGC Nice but it was not enough to secure victory as they were forced to a 1-1 draw at home against Ajax Amsterdam in the first leg, third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
Balotelli, who also featured for Liverpool in the Premier League, opened scoring for Nice in the 32nd minute.
But last season’s Europa League finalists Ajax were back on level terms thanks to Donny van de Beek who scored in the 49th minute to force a valuable away draw.
In Belgium, former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor was in action for Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir who held Club Brugge to a 3-3 draw.
Club Brugge went 2-0 up through Denis Bonaventure and Stefano Denswil in the sixth and 16th minutes respectively.
In the 59th minute, Marcio Mossoro pulled a goal back for Istanbul Basaksehir to make it 2-1.
Eljero Elia made it 2-2 in the 64th minute for Istanbul Basaksehir.
Mossoro grabbed his second goal to put Istanbul Basaksehir 3-2 up but Denswil also scored his second goal of the match to force a 3-3 draw for hosts Club Brugge.
In other third qualifying round first leg fixtures on Wednesday, Celtic of Scotland played 0-0 at home against Rosenborg of Norway, FC Viitorul Constanta of Romania pipped visiting Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus 1-0, Maribor from Slovania edged Iceland’s FH Hafnarfjordur 1-0.
The second legs of all the games are on August 2nd.
UEFA Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round Results:
Nice 1-1 Ajax
Club Brugge 3-3 Istanbul Basaksehir
Celtic 0-0 Rosenborg
FC Viitorul Constanta 1-0 Apoel Nicosia
Maribor 1-0 FH Hafnarfjordur