NK Maribor 2-1 APOEL Nicosia FC
NK Maribor will take a slender lead into next week's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round second-leg match against APOEL Nicosia FC after a hard-fought home victory in the Ljudski vrt stadium.
On the attack
Slovenian champions Maribor spent the opening 15 minutes of the match on the attack, but their Cypriot opponents showed their resilience with a well-disciplined display.
Corovic on target
The host side's opening goal came in the last minute of the first half when Nemanja Corovic, Maribor's new Yugoslavian signing, finished calmly. Corovic's inclusion in the starting eleven had come as something of a surprise, but coach Bojan Prašnikar's confidence in the young striker proved to be well founded.
APOEL started the second half in determined fashion as they went in search of an equaliser, but Maribor extended their advantage just after the hour mark when Corovic scored his second of the night five minutes after Ermin Rakovic had rattled the APOEL crossbar.
Having taken a two-goal lead, Maribor were content to sit back and soak up the Cypriot side's pressure. However, Bulgarian defender Zaharin Sirakov scored what may prove to be a vital away goal in the dying seconds, handing APOEL a potential lifeline.
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