Legia Warszawa 1-1 FK Vardar (Legia win 4-2 on aggregate)
Legia Warszawa claimed their place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League and set up a mouth-watering tie against FC Barcelona after completing a comfortable aggregate victory over FK Vardar.
Despite drawing at the Wojska Polskiego stadium in the Polish capital, the hosts never looked to be in trouble, thanks largely to their 3-1 advantage from the first leg in F.Y.R. Macedonia last week. A defensively minded Vardar team offered little in attack but did go close early on when Dejan Ristovski's shot narrowly missed the target.
Kucharski on target
Legia slowly asserted their authority and were rewarded in the 32nd minute as Tomasz Kielbowicz crossed into the penalty area, and Dariusz Dudek's header was tapped in from close range by captain Cezary Kucharski. The visitors, now needing three goals to make things interesting, decided to adopt a more attacking strategy in the second half and equalised when Brazilian Rogerio Da Costa scored from inside the penalty area six minutes after the interval.
Ristovski then raced clear on to a clever pass from Srdan Zaharievski but saw his effort come back off the crossbar, while Legia only created one more chance of note, Vardar keeper Gogo Jovcev making a fine stop to deny Kucharski his second goal of the match. Legia coach Dragomir Okuka was relieved to have successfully negotiated a potentially tricky tie, and is now setting his sights on the two-legged encounter against Barcelona.
'We can play better'
"I expected us to go through and it happened," he said. "Legia can play better, that's for sure. Anyway, there are no weak teams in Europe at all. It was hard to beat Vardar and although it's a draw, it's a good result for us. In fact, almost everyone was thinking about the Barcelona match since the first match in Skopje."
'Gave it everything'
Vardar coach Gjokica Hadzievski was pleased with his side's second-half performance. "We gave it everything," he said. "The second half was much better for Vardar and we created chances for Zaharievski and Ristovski. We really wanted to do something big here, but I'm glad we've made a good impression tonight and I'd like to thank the great supporters for making it a real football atmosphere. I also thank Legia, as they did their best as the home team."
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