Europa League Qualifiers: NK Osijek Eliminated After Losing on Penalties to CSKA Sofia

Daniela Rogulj

NK Osijek was eliminated in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers after a penalty shootout against CSKA Sofia on Thursday at City Garden stadium. 

NK Osijek and CSKA Sofia met for the return match of the second round of the Europa League qualifiers on Thursday at City Garden stadium. Recall, Sofia won the first leg 1:0 at home, reports HRT on August 1, 2019.

Osijek needed to put up a tough fight to stay alive in the Europa League and did just that on Thursday night in Osijek. In the 23rd minute, Bočkaj hit the wall from a free-kick and had an even better opportunity a minute later when he crossed the ball to Šorša who shot over the goal. 

But Osijek finally got their chance in the 27th minute after Ante Majstorović nailed a header from Žaper’s cross from the right. After exactly half an hour of play, the game could have been 2:0. Marić fooled the Sofia player to find Mance, though their stopper cleared Osijek’s attack. 

The game saw no other goals, and after 90 minutes with a 1:1 aggregate from both games, it went into extra time. However, no winner could be decided in the dramatic added minutes, and the winner was then to be decided on penalties. Unfortunately, Osijek failed to overcome the Bulgarian club on penalties, losing 3:4 in the end. Thus, Osijek joins Hajduk and is no longer competing in the Europa League this season.

City Garden Stadium in Osijek welcomed 7,200 spectators for the Europa League clash between Osijek and CSKA Sofia.

This game was also the return of Ljupko Petrović to City Garden. The expert took over CSKA Sofia after the club dismissed Dobromir Mitov at the beginning of the season. Petrović’s first encounter with Osijek was his debut for the club, and in the second he beat city rivals Slavia 2:1.

Petrović is the best scorer in Osijek history with 139 goals and has achieved his greatest career success as the Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) coach, winning the European title in 1991.

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