Dinamo visited Ludogorets in Razgrad for the first match of the Champions League 3rd qualifying round. Ludogorets has been the champion of Bulgaria for the last 11 seasons.
Recall, Dinamo advanced to the 3rd qualifying round after beating Shkupi on a 3-2 aggregate last week. After 2-2 in Zagreb, Dinamo won in Skopje with a minimal 1-0 to move forward.
If Dinamo advances past the Bulgarian champion after two matches, the Zagreb club will face the winner of Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt and Lithuanian club Žalgiris in the Champions League play-off. On the other hand, if Ludogorets moves forward, Dinamo will play in the Europa League play-off against the loser of the same pair.
Due to injuries, Dinamo was without Kévin Théophile-Catherine, Mahir Emreli, Josip Šutalo and Marko Bulat.
Ludogorets: Padt, Cicinho, Plastun, Verdon, Nedjalkov, Jordanov, Piotrowski, C.Souza, Tekpetey, Sotiriou, Rick
Dinamo: Livaković, Ljubičić, Perić, Lauritsen, Ristovski, Ivanušec, Ademi, Mišić, Baturina, Oršić, Drmić
Ludogorets threatened Dinamo’s goal quickly and recorded their first corner in the 3rd minute. Dinamo was quick to react and took the early lead just 3 minutes later. Lauritsen assisted Perić, who shot from the edge of the penalty area for 1:0.
Just three minutes after that, Dinamo surprised Lugogorets again. The clumsy reaction of Ludogorets goalkeeper Padto resulted in an own goal to put Dinamo ahead at 2:0 in the 9th minute. Dinamo had another chance five minutes later, but Perić wasn’t as lucky this time.
Ludogorets reduced Dinamo’s lead in the 22nd minute when Tekpetey left Dinamo goalkeeper Livaković powerless for 2:1. Ludogorets was hungry to equalize for the remainder of the first half, which ended 2:1.
Dinamo coach Ante Čačić started the second half with one change. Dario Špikić entered for Luka Ivanušec. Ludogorets, however, made two changes. Cauly Souza and goalkeeper Sergio Padt remained in the dressing room, and midfielder Dominik Jankov and Croatian goalkeeper Simon Sluga entered the match.
Ludogorets had an excellent chance two minutes into the first half, forcing Livaković to make an incredible save off the goal post. Ludogorets shot over the crossbar less than 10 minutes later.
Bruno Petković replaced Josip Drmić in the 59th minute.
Dinamo’s defense had to clear two dangerous attempts by Ludogorets in the 65th and 67th minutes, the latter of which was saved brilliantly by Livaković. Ludogorets continued pressing to get the second goal, even hitting the post a minute later.
Čačić replaced another attacker in the 71st minute – Menalo was subbed on for Oršić.
Ludogorets brought on fresh strikers in the 79th minute to increase their hopes of getting a goal. In the 82nd minute, Dinamo’s Menalo was nearly one-on-one with the Ludogorets keeper but shot over to keep the match 2:1 with less than 10 minutes to go.
Čačić subbed off Baturina for Boško Šutalo in the 86th minute.
Another dangerous chance for Ludogorets in the 89th minute just missed the Dinamo goal. A minute later, Petković took on three defenders and forced the ball out for a corner which Sluga punched out. The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the match, in which neither team could score.
The return match will be played in Zagreb on August 9.
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