Europa League: Dinamo Writes History, Advances to 2nd Round for First Time in 49 Years

Daniela Rogulj

Dinamo Zagreb has secured the 2nd round of the UEFA Europa League for the first time in 49 years after defeating Spartak Trnava 3-1 (2-0) in Zagreb.

Dinamo has fulfilled their desired dream and has thus broken the 49-year-curse European curse. The last time Dinamo played a “European Spring” was in 1969 – which was in the quarter-final of the Cup Winners’ Cup against Schalke. In the first match at Maksimir, the German team celebrated 3-1, followed by 1-0 in the return match in Germany, reports on November 8, 2018. 

The Croatian champion was led by Amer Gojak, Andrej Kadlec, and Mislav Oršić, while Spartak’s only goalscorer was Vakhtang Chanturishvili. 

Dinamo was welcomed to an overwhelming atmosphere at Maksimir, which recorded an attendance of 20,000 spectators. Recall, the North stands were closed due to a UEFA penalty. The fantastic atmosphere at Maksimir broke the dense fog which covered the pitch for the entirety of the match. 

In the next round of the Group Stage, Dinamo will face Fenerbahce where they can secure the first place in the group and a better draw for the 2nd round. 

Dinamo’s coach Nenad Bjelica gave his first impression after the win. 

“Wow, what to say… I’m very proud that I have achieved this result with this team and the people in the club. You know, we will not stop here, we can go far, and this team can do a lot. Now the basic goal is to be the first in the group, I believe we will do it. I thank the fans and the people who believed in me.”

His comments on the game itself?

“We were maybe a bit nervous in the first few minutes of the game and then we created a lot of chances. After Spartak got a goal, it became a little nervous again, but we quickly overcame it. We did not give them the slightest chance of endangering us.”

The first game of the 2nd round will be played on February 14, 2019, with the return match on February 21. 

Who Dinamo will face at this stage of the competition will be known on Monday, December 17, at 13:00 when the draw is held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

To read more about Dinamo, click here


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