Croatian football club HNK Rijeka have caused an upset in front of 10,000 of its own fans by downing the more fancied German side Stuttgart 2:1 in the first leg of the Europa League qualifying rounds at Kantrida stadium on Thursday night.
It looked as if Rijeka would take a vital 2:0 into the away leg in Stuttgart next week, but a late goal from Vedad Ibisevic put the Germans right back in the tie. Earlier in the second half Rijeka took a deserved 1:0 lead when Leon Benko headed in from a cross from the right. Rijeka’s lead was doubled when Zoran Kvrzic slotted in unmarked after Benko squared the ball back to him after a break on the right.
“I already said that the result doesnt interest me. It is undescribeable to see how the players played till the last second. I am very pleased to lead a club which the whole city stands behind,” said Rijeka’s coach Matjaz Kek after the match.