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Brann squeeze past Ventspils

Published: Tuesday 5 August 2008, 20.45CET
FK Ventspils 2-1 SK Brann (agg: 2-2, Brann win on away goals) The Norwegian champions narrowly won through to set up a tie versus Olympique de Marseille.
Brann squeeze past Ventspils
Ármann Björnsson (left) scored the decisive away goal ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 5 August 2008, 20.45CET

Brann squeeze past Ventspils

FK Ventspils 2-1 SK Brann (agg: 2-2, Brann win on away goals) The Norwegian champions narrowly won through to set up a tie versus Olympique de Marseille.

SK Brann squeezed past FK Ventspils on away goals to secure a tie with Olympique de Marseille despite losing the deciding leg 2-1 against the Latvian champions.

Crucial away goal
All was going well for Ventspils as they took a two-goal lead into the break following strikes from Zurab Menteshashvili – who was subsequently sent off – and Vits Rimkus which put them ahead on aggregate after Brann's 1-0 home win. However, Ármann Björnsson's effort five minutes after half-time put the Norwegian side back in charge and they held on to progress into the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round for the first time.

Hosts dominant
The home side were fastest out of the blocks as Andrejs Butriks found Menteshashvili after six minutes and the Georgian midfielder fired into the far corner. The same player was then dismissed after receiving two cautions in the space of 60 seconds just nine minutes later but despite the setback, the home side continued to dominate. After a succession of chances, Butriks again supplied the assist as Rimkus beat away goalkeeper Håkon Opdal just before half-time.

Second-half fightback
Ventspils were forced on to the back foot in the second half and Brann were soon ahead in the tie as Björnsson struck. The hosts redoubled their efforts, the best opportunity to put them back in control falling to Rimkus but he failed to connect properly with Sergei Zangareev's cross on 69 minutes and Brann prevailed.

Last updated: 06/08/08 11.54CET

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