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We are back!

Crvena zvezda are back in the group stage of the Europa League after a decade in the wilderness. It took a heroic effort, but Vladan Milojević's team beat FC Krasnodar on away goals to beat the odds and delight the fans. Radonjić and Kanga scored in a 2-1 win in the second leg, but it was a marvellous team effort that secured at least another six European matches for the club.  

Ground: Rajko Mitić Stadium
Attendance: 50,720
Referee: Tobias Steiler (Germany)
Goalscorers: Radonjić 7', Kanga 46' - Granqvist (pen) 82'


Crvena zvezda: Borjan, Stojković, Savić, Frimpong, Rodić, Donald, Srnić, Kanga, Milić, Radonjić, Boakye.
Substitutes: Kahriman, Račić, Milijaš, Adžić, Babić, Gobeljić, Pešić.

Krasnodar: Sinitsin, Martynovich, Granqvist, Ramirez, Petrov, Claesson, Gazinski, Mamaev, Caboré, Wanderson, Smolov.
Substitutes: Safonov, Ivan, Zhigulev, Gritsaenko, Shishkin, Pereyra, Suleymanov.

After a 3-4 defeat seven days ago in Russia, the only way for Crvena zvezda was to go for a win in the return match. And it started remarkably well. After some early attacking moves, Nemanja Milić had an opportunity to shoot from just outside the box. His effort was pushed away by Sinitsin in to the path of onrushing Nemanja Radonjić. The winger hit it first time and it bounced off the ground, off the underside of the crossbar and in! The crowd went wild and Zvezda were in front on the night and in the tie after just seven minutes of play.

Crvena zvezda continued to look for openings and Richmond Boakye has had a header just wide shortly after the opener. But the gifted Russian side had most of the possession as the match wore on and Zvezda had to defend well to remain in front. The team grew in confidence and threatened Krasnodar with some dangerous counter-attacks.

Our back four consisting of Stojković, Frimpong, Savić and Rodić performed very well, but it has to be said that all players were tracking back all night and made our team tough to break.

In the first leg we conceded a goal just seconds after the restart and tonight we were the team who started the second half in the best possible manner – by scoring. Guélor Kanga was given a few seconds on the ball around 25 meters out and he produced a wonderful strike that dipped into the top far corner of Sinitsin's goal. A truly majestic goal by Zvezda's Gabonese playmaker.

Even though the second goal gave our team a bit of breathing space, the visitors attacked with everything they've got and made the hosts fight for every ball.

The visitors have been awarded a soft penalty on 80 minutes after minimal contact in the box. The players rounded the German referee, but the decision wasn't going to be changed. Up stepped Krasnodar captain Andreas Grankvist and beat Milan Borjan from the spot to set up a dramatic finale to this stirring match.

There was going to be another 16 minutes to be played and Crvena zvezda produced some more heroics at the back to keep the score at 2-1. Borjan also produced the best save of the game then he pushes away a header that looked destined for the net.

The final whistle finally went and more that fifty thousand Zvezda fans jumped for joy as the players celebrated on the pitch and thanked the supporters with a lap of honour.

It was a perfect European night for Crvena zvezda and we're in for at least six of those.

Well done, Crvena zvezda!



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