Hungarian champions and cup winners Ferencváros travelled to encounter Azeri champions Qarabag in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League. For today's game in Baku, our head coach Stanislav Cherchesov sent the following starting line-up to the pitch: Dibusz - Knoester, S. Mmaee, Civic - Botka, Laidouni, Tokmac, Esiti, Zachariassen - Traoré, Boli.
The first few minutes were a familiarisation game in the game, but there was no shortage of offensive field play, with both sides fighting back hard losing a ball. We threatened first, but Zachariassan's shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Moments later, Qarabag were in position after an attack from the right, but our defence cleared. In the 11th minute, Wadji was on target after a clearance, but his shot bounced off Knoester's foot and Dibusz had no trouble collecting the ball. Then, Civic ran towards the Azeri goal and passed to Traoré, but the home defence was alert.
From the corner, however, Qarabag had no luck: first Laidouni's shot was saved by the goalkeeper, then Knoester hit the post, but then Boli arrived and headed into the goal to give Fradi the lead (0-1).
In the 28th minute, a free kick was taken from a promising position. Civic was there and curled the ball brilliantly over the line, but Mahammadaliyev made a great save. Moments later, Qarabag had another chance to score from a free kick in a good position, and although the first attempt was saved by Dibusz, Owusu managed to score (1-1). Less than three minutes later, Tokmac teed up Traore, who tried to volley but the goalkeeper saved the Malian striker's close-range effort.
In extra time, the home side again came from the right, Owusu made a good save to tease out his partner who centred, Wadji came through the middle and although he scored, after a short video review the Swedish referee disallowed the goal for an offside. There were no further chances in the first half and the teams went into the break with the score 1-1.
After the turnaround, the medical staff was needed almost immediately when Knoester remained down. After a quick check-up our Dutch defender indicated that he was ok and could continue. In the 50th minute Owusu was allowed to take a free kick, our defenders cleared the ball and Ozobic shot wide from distance. Two minutes later, the home side tried again, but the long-range effort missed the target.
We made a substitution in the 57th minute: Samy Mmaee was replaced by Thelander. Minutes later, a dropped cross was dangerous but Dibusz was alert. Ten minutes later we made two changes: Kovacevic and Vécsei replaced Knoester and Boli. After the substitution, we were very close to a second goal, but the Azeri defence cleared the ball from Kovacevic's back into the goal from the goal line.
A quarter of an hour before the end of normal time, Zachariassen passed it between the legs to Laidouni, who headed in and shot with the left foot but was blocked by the defence. In the 78th minute, Qarabag made a substitution: Sheydaev replaced Ozobic. In the second half, both teams missed some great chances: first Mustavazade failed to hit Dibusz's goal from close range, and then Tokmac shot over the top soon after, leaving the score 1-1. The battle continues next Tuesday in Budapest at the Groupama Arena.
Champions League, Round 3, Match 1
Qarabag - FTC 1-1 (1-1)
Tofiq Behramov Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan
Qarabag: Mahammadaliyev - Vesovic, Mustavazede, Huseynov, Bayramov - Garayev, Jankovic (Romao 83.) - Kvabena, Ozobic (Sheydayev 79.), Zoubir - Wadji
Head coach: Gurban Gurbanov
FTC: Dibusz - Knoester (Kovacevic, 67.), S. Mmaee (Thelander, 57.), Civic - Botka, Laidouni (Besic 88.), Tokmac, Esiti, Zachariassen - Traoré, Boli (Vécsei, 67.)
Head coach: Stanislav Cherchesov
Yellow cards: Jankovic (27th), Mustavazede (66th), and Botka (65th), Kovacevic (82nd)
Goals: Owusu (33rd), respectively Boli (17th)
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