Europa League Qualifiers: NK Rijeka Tops Aberdeen 2:0 in First Leg

Daniela Rogulj

August 8, 2019 – NK Rijeka opened their Europa League season in the 3rd round of the qualifiers against Scottish club Aberdeen on Thursday at Rujevica stadium. Commentators said around 6,500 spectators were in attendance. reports that NK Rijeka missed a handful of critical opportunities in the first half, which ended without goals for either club. Rijeka, however, was given their golden chance to take the lead in the 62nd minute after Logan unnecessarily pulled Capan down in the penalty area, which the referee immediately whistled for a pen. Čolak fiercely shot down the middle as goalkeeper Lewis chose to move to the left. Rijeka took the 1:0 lead. 

At the very end of the duel, in the 88th minute, Halilović found the foot of Murić who nailed the bottom right corner from 18-meters out. Lewis was powerless in goal, and Rijeka led 2:0 for the final score of the game. 

“I am proud of my players and if it were 0:0 I would be pleased, let alone with 2:0. Everything we spoke about was fulfilled, and we were even physically equal. We have a nice advantage and Aberdeen will surely play differently in the return match. But if we play like we did tonight, then we will definitely pass,” said NK Rijeka coach Igor Bišćan.

Recall, the Scottish club was never a fond memory for Rijeka fans. Four years ago, they eliminated Rijeka in the Europa League qualifying round at Kantrida in a 3:0 blowout. 

The return match will be played at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen, Scotland in one week. If Rijeka advances, they will play the winner of the duel between AEK Larnaca and Ghent.

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