Champions League Qualifiers: Dinamo Moves Forward after Dramatic Penalty Shootout

Daniela Rogulj

Photo by: CFR Cluj
Photo by: CFR Cluj

Photo by: CFR Cluj

August 27, 2020 –  Dinamo is in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. The Zagreb club celebrated in Romania against Cluj on Wednesday after a penalty shootout.

After 120 minutes, the match ended 2:2, and all Dinamo players scored penalties except Amer Gojak, while the home team missed two.

Goals for the Croatian champions, who played 70 minutes with a player down thanks to Theophile’s red card, were scored by Gojak and Lirim Kastrati. Dinamo led twice, but the home team managed to come back both times. It was especially painful for Dinamo when Debeljuh scored in the 92nd minute for extra time.

During the penalty shootout, Dinamo won 6:5. Interestingly, this is only the second time that penalties have decided Dinamo’s fate in the Champions League. The first time the Zagreb club was eliminated by Sheriff in the 2010 Champions League.

Match recap

Cluj entered the match better, but Dinamo soon found their rhythm and in the 14th minute, the “Blues” took the lead. After a short tussle with the defender, Ivanusec shot, Balgradean defended, but Gojak rebounded to find the back of the net.

Cluj had their first big chance in the 20th minute, but Deac shot high. Five minutes later, the host threatened again, this time in front of Dinamo’s goal. In the 36th minute, Cluj had another chance. Deac shot from a free-kick, the ball bounced off the wall to Chipciu who shot brilliantly into the near corner, but Livakovic was ready.

In the very end of the first half, Dinamo had two great opportunities, but failed to succeed – Orsic and Dilaver both hit the crossbar.

Unfortunately, the second half brought big problems for Dinamo. The crucial moment happened in the 51st minute when Theophile-Catherine earned a red card. The French stopper committed a foul on Debeljuh by pulling him from behind, which the Portuguese referee rewarded with a penalty kick and exclusion.

Deac took the penalty, but Livakovic defended brilliantly. Unfortunately, the home team equalized in the 64th minute, anyhow. Pereira shot from 25 meters, and Livakovic reacted badly by receiving a goal for 1-1.

In the 78th minute, Dinamo took a new lead. Kastrati scored for the 2-1 lead.

In the remaining minutes, Cluj rushed for an equalizer and extra time, and when it already seemed that Dinamo would celebrate, the host equalized in the second minute of the referee’s added time. The goal was scored by 23-year-old Croatian striker Gabriel Debeljuh.

Petkovic lost the ball in the middle of the pitch, after which Cluj sprinted for the counter. The ball came on the wing to Rondon who sent a great ball into the penalty area where Debeljuh scored for 2-2 and extra time.

In extra time, Dinamo coped very well with the player less and managed to bring the match to penalties.

Two Croatian football players played for Cluj – Gabrijel Debeljuh and Damjan Đoković. Both the whole game.

Dinamo will be the leader in the third qualifying round as well, and they will certainly not play against Young Boys, Red Star, Qarabag and Maccabi. Potential rivals for the Croatian champion are Molde, Midtjylland, Ferencvaros, Omonia and Dinamo from Brest.

The draw for the third qualifying round is on August 31, and one game will be played on September 15 or 16. The playoffs will be played in two games on September 22/23 and September 29/30.

Lokomotiva failed to advance for the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League after losing to Vienna’s Rapid 0-1 in the 2nd qualifying round at Kranjčevićeva Street Stadium. The only goal of the match was scored by Ercen Kara in the 32nd minute.

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