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Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb roll on in Champions League

By Agencies - Aug 28,2019 - Last updated at Aug 28,2019

Rosenborg’s Nigerian forward Babajide David Akintola (centre) scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League play-off, second leg football match in Trondheim, Norway, on Tuesday (AFP photo by Ole Martin Wold)

PARIS — After a day on which Croatia and Serbia took potshots at each other over the symbolism of a tank both their national champions on Tuesday evening reached the group stage of the Champions League.

Red Star Belgrade drew their play-off second leg 1-1 at home to Young Boys in Belgrade to advance on away goals with the score all square at 3-3.

“I am very proud of my players and what we achieved this evening is a tremendous success,” Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic told a news conference.

“It was tough. I told the players before the match that giving it their best shot was all anyone could ask for. We are now looking forward to our second season among Europe’s elite.

“We are one big happy family at Red Star and still living the dream. We’ve made Serbia proud.”

Dinamo Zagreb also drew, 1-1, away to Rosenborg to go through 3-1 on aggregate. 

Olympiakos of Greece won 2-1 in Krasnodar to cruise through 6-1.

Before their home game against the Swiss champions, Red Star fans stirred controversy by parking a decommissioned Yugoslav army tank outside their Marakana stadium.

The tank decorated with the club’s logo, was installed with a crane.

On their Facebook page the club called it an “attraction”.

Croatian media took it personally. One leading sports daily said the tank was a “morbid provocation from Belgrade”.

The fans said the tank celebrated the Red Star “machine,” but it only sputtered on the field.

Aleksa Vukanovic gave the home team the lead after 59 minutes when he powered a near-post header through the upstretched hands of goalkeeper David von Ballmoos.

Red Star finished on the defensive. With eight minutes left, home defender El Fardou Ben Nabouhane put his head to Saidy Janko’s hopeful shot and deflected it inside his far post. 

Goalkeeper Milan Borjan tipped a ferocious drive by Jean-Pierre Nsame over the bar. Then, as added time ended in a flurry of cards, Red Star’s Tomane was sent off. 

In Norway, Rosenborg struck after 11 minutes. 

Samuel Adegbenro scored from point-blank range after Dominik Livakovic had saved Ike Jensen’s close range effort only for the ball to hit the post and roll back along the line.

With 19 minutes to play, Amer Gojak restored Dinamo’s aggregate two-goal margin when he smacked a rising left-foot shot just inside the ear post from outside the Rosenborg penalty area. 

In Russia, Krasnodar had 60 seconds of hope.

In the ninth minute, Olympiakos had chances to clear before the ball reached Daniil Utkin on the edge of the six-yard box. The 19-year-old midfielder had time to tee the ball up before popping it into the net.

A minute later, Youssef Al Arabi replied for the visitors. He also had time to control a low cross, as defender Sergei Petrov fell over. Once he had flicked the ball over the prone Petrov, the French striker scored easily.

Arabi, only starting because Miguel Angel Guerrero suffered a muscle problem warming up, added a second three minutes into the second half. Slicing the ball into the empty goal from close range after the home defence had failed to deal with a low cross.

The victory stretches the Olympiakos unbeaten run in qualifying rounds of European club tournaments to 16 matches. They have reached the group stage of either the Champions League or the Europa League in each of the last eight years. 

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