FC Kairat Almaty 0-2 FK Crvena Zvezda
Kazakhstan outfit FC Kairat Almaty's European debut ended in a disappointing UEFA Cup qualifying round first-leg defeat against 1991 European Champion Clubs' Cup winners FK Crvena Zvezda.
In a game played in driving rain, Kairat fought hard, but were undone by goals from Igor Bogdanovic and substitute Dragan Mrda either side of the interval as the Yugoslavian side put themselves in pole position to reach the first round.
The visitors had the ball in the net after 29 minutes when Bogdanovic converted Ivan Gvozdenovic's pass, but the effort was ruled out for offside. The home side threatened themselves after 41 minutes, only for Crvena Zvezda keeper Ivan Randjelovic saved from Alibek Buleshev.
Another chance fell to Buleshev immediately, but his lob sailed over the bar. The visitors then struck back to take the lead in 43 minutes when Dragan Bogavac's shot took a deflection, and Bogdanovic made no mistake from five metres.
Crvena Zvezda stretched their lead after 66 minutes. Mrda, who had been introduced six minutes earlier, found a chink in the Kairat defence to give the home side an uphill mountain to climb.
Kairat red card
Kairat were reduced to ten men 12 minutes from time, when Dilmurat Shayakhmetov was dismissed for his second bookable offence, and Crvena Zvezda were content to play out time and make themselves clear favourites to progress.
"Kairat had some chances early on, but they failed to convert them," said Crvena Zvezda coach Zoran Filipovic. "It will be hard for us to play in Yugoslavia, but Kairat will do their best," promised Kairat counterpart Zlatko Krpmotic.
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