Croatian football champions NK Rijeka are just one tie away from making the UEFA Champions League after knocking out Red Bull Salzburg tonight.
NK Rijeka and Red Bull Salzburg drew 0-0 in Rijeka on Wednesday night in the 3rd round of UEFA Champions League qualifying, with the Croatians going through on the away goal rule after drawing 1-1 in Austria.
Both sides had chances on Wednesday evening in front of a packed Rujevica stadium, with the Austrians having two goals disallowed on the night.
NK Rijeka could have sown the match up right at the death but Bradarić sent his shot into row Z of the stand with an opening goal begging. In the end, NK Rijeka managed to hold on and deservedly go through to the playoff round.
“This is a big result, an important moment for Rijeka football. It is a great Rijeka story and a big moment for Croatian football,” coach Matjaž Kek said after the match.
NK Rijeka is now just one match away for qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club’s history and have guaranteed already 5.6 million euros for reaching the playoff stage.
Celtic, Olympiakos, Maribor, Kopenhagen and APOEL are NK Rijeka’s possible opponents with the draw being made Friday. The first leg will be played on 15/16 August with the return leg a week later.
NK RIJEKA 0-0 RED BULL SALZBURG
RIJEKA: Sluga – Ristovski, Župarić, Elez, Vešović – Maleš, Bradarić – Kvržić (Heber, 87), Mišić, Gorgon – Gavranović (Jelić, 74)
RED BULL SALZBURG: Walke – Lainer, Miranda, Ćaleta-Car, Ulmer – Yabo (Haidara, 68), Samassekou, Minamino (Wolf, 81), Berisha – Hwang, Dabbur (Gulbrandsen, 74)
(Photos: NK Rijeka)