NK Dinamo Zagreb will meet Arsenal FC for a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage after Goran Ljubojević's hat-trick helped them to a 5-2 win against FK Ekranas on the night and 9-3 success on aggregate.
After a commanding first-leg victory, the Croatian champions rested several key players but Ljubojević nevertheless broke the deadlock in the second minute, connecting with Marijan Buljat's cross from the left. The expectant crowd then had to wait until just after the half-time whistle for more goals, with Ognjen Vukojević firing in a fine strike. Buljat and Ljubojević combined again to give the striker his second just after the hour. At 3-0, Dinamo eased up, perhaps mindful they would be taking on the 2005/06 runners-up in the first leg of the third qualifying round next week. Such complacency allowed Ekranas to score twice through Mantas Savenas and Povilas Lukšys.
Dinamo were not finished yet, though. Davor Vugrinec struck in the dying seconds of normal time before the 23-year-old Ljubojević, back after a successful loan spell at Swiss club FC St. Gallen last season, had a simple task to complete his hat-trick. "I am satisfied with the result, but I can't talk much about the style of play as it was not our best team and formation," said Dinamo coach Josip Kuže. "Our minds were already thinking ahead to Arsenal." With the club making a perfect start to their domestic title defence at the weekend, with a 1-0 win at home against NK Slaven Belupo, Arsenal can expect a stern test.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.