BUDAPEST, 16 September 2020 – Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb will have to settle for the Europa League playoffs after losing to Ferencvaros 2-1 in Champions League qualifying in Budapest on Wednesday night.
It was not to be deja vu for Dinamo Zagreb who beat Ferencvaros 4-0 last year at the same ground to advance to the playoffs of the Champions League after a goal in each half was enough for the hosts to advance at the Groupama Arena in the Hungarian capital.
“Ferencvaros took their opportunities. Unfortunately, we did not take ours. After conceding a goal in the first minute, we recovered relatively quickly and equalized. We had dominance. We were dangerous several times in front of Ferencvaros’ goal. In fact, all the opportunities we had in the first and second half were very good. Unfortunately, we did not use them, Ferencvaros did and I congratulate them once again,” Dinamo coach Zoran Mamic said after the match.
The Croatian champions now will play for a spot in the Europa League, which will be played in this format for the last time, with 12 groups of four teams each. Next summer, the European Conference League will launch, and the Europa League will have eight groups of four teams each, the same as the Champions League.
Dinamo is seeded for the play-off draw and will avoid the likes of Besiktas, Sporting, Tottenham, and PSV.
Some potential matchups for Dinamo include Celtic, Astana, Ludogorec, Legia, and Slovan.
Croatian clubs Lokomotiva, Rijeka, Osijek, and Hajduk are also all in the hunt to qualify for the Europa League. Lokomotiva and Rijeka will join in the third qualifying round, and Osijek and Hajduk will start the competition on Thursday. Osijek welcomes Swiss club Basel and Hajduk is visiting Renova in Macedonia.
The draw for the play-off round will be held on 18 September 2020, at 13:00.