FC WIT Georgia held on to a 0-0 draw against Slovenian champions NK Maribor in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie despite being reduced to ten men with seven minutes to go.
The game opened up as both teams tried their best to score but neither could make a breakthrough. Following some half-chances for both sides in the first period, Maribor carved out a great scoring opportunity ten minutes after the restart when Dragan Jelič raced clear only for Grigol Bediashvili to save bravely at his feet. A swift counterattack followed and visiting goalkeeper Marko Ranilovič had to parry a vicious shot from Irakli Klimiashvili. The WIT striker was then dismissed for a second booking, however, and Maribor almost snatched victory when Zoran Pavlovic hit the post.
"WIT played with great motivation, but we looked very able at the back so the score is logical," said Maribor coach Darko Milanič. "We could have won but did not take our chances in the first half. It will not be easy for us in the return match, but I consider our chances a bit higher than theirs." His opposite number, Nestor Mumladze, said: "It was a very tough game for us. We had some chances to open the scoring before the break but did not convert them. We will fight until the very end in the second leg and I hope it will be enough for us to qualify."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.