By Márton Dinnyés
Debreceni VSC scored three headed goals without reply against HNK Hajduk Split to give themselves an excellent chance of reaching the third and final UEFA Champions League qualifying round.
If the Hungarian champions were to progress from this second qualifying round tie at the expense of their Croatian counterparts, it was imperative that they recorded a victory in tonight's first leg - something not lost on the home supporters as they gave their team a rousing welcome at the Oláh Gábor utcai stadium; two decent early chances for the visitors having no effect on the atmosphere.
Debrecen took the lead in the 26th minute following a swift counterattack down the left flank which ended with Péter Halmosi curling a deep cross to the unmarked Igor Bogdanovic who powered a header back across the Hajduk goalkeeper and in off the underside of the crossbar. The second goal five minutes before the break was almost a carbon copy, although this time it was Csaba Szatmári whipping the ball over on to Bogdanovic's head.
The home side made it 3-0 in the 58th minute with a header from another left-wing raid. Szatmári set the move in motion, running into space and crossing for Tibor Dombi who showed great vision to head the ball into the path of Zsombor Kerekes. The Hungarian international did the rest, diving in from four metres to head another fine goal.
Debrecen will now watch Friday's third qualifying round draw with added interest, although they cannot afford to be complacent ahead of next Wednesday's return in Split.
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