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Rijeka fall to last-gasp Gençlerbirligi

Thursday, 26 August 2004

By Elvir Islamovic

[1] A last-gasp goal by Ugur Boral rescued Gençlerbirligi SK and put them into the UEFA Cup first round at the expense of HNK Rijeka on away goals.

Dramatic finish

[2] The Turkish side arrived in Croatia hoping to protect their 1-0 first-leg lead but were in grave danger of going out when they found themselves 2-0 down with only seconds of added time left to play. But Boral pounced on a parry by Rijeka goalkeeper Ivica Maric to square the scores on aggregate and put his side through to Friday's draw by the skin of their teeth.

Rijeka on top

[3] Rijeka had taken a 13th-minute lead through Tomislav Erceg, who latched on to Igor Novakovic's right-wing cross to score from ten metres out. Krešimir Brkic set up Siniša Linic nine minutes later but his snap-shot whistled wide as the home team dominated the first half.

Penalty saved

[4] Rijeka were 2-0 up on the night eight minutes into the second half after Tomislav Erceg collected a pass from Dragan Tadic and beat Omer Catkic to score. But the Gençlerbirligi goalkeeper came to the fore two minutes later when he saved Linic's penalty following Josip Skoko's foul in the area.

Boral heroics

[5] Linic missed a one-on-one opportunity moments later and rued his profligacy at the death, when Souleymane Youla's shot was parried and Boral pounced to score.

Gençlerbirligi have secured another season of UEFA Cup action