Goran Ljubojević is hoping for another starring role after scoring the hat-trick that helped NK Dinamo Zagreb earn a UEFA Champions League date with Arsenal FC.
The 23-year-old second-string striker hit three goals as an under-strength Dinamo won 5-2 at home to Lithuanian opponents FK Ekranas in the second qualifying round to complete a 9-3 aggregate victory and secure a glamour tie against the London giants. "We didn't show that Balkan mentality and say 'it's going to be easy' ahead of the match," said Ljubojević. "We built up an atmosphere and it will be great when Arsenal come to Zagreb. We will be fully motivated and a full stadium will help us. That is our chance in the first match against Arsenal."
Whether Ljubojević will have the chance to test himself against Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann next week remains a mystery as he has struggled to gain a regular place since joining Dinamo from Croatian rivals NK Ošijek in summer 2004. Once considered his country's brightest young attacking talent, his form has been shaky in Zagreb and he was loaned to Swiss side FC St. Gallen for part of last season to get match practice. He struck five league goals in 16 appearances.
Despite not being confident of featuring at home to Arsenal, he is satisfied with his contribution so far. "I don't expect more after this match, I really don't," he said. "I finally played from the first minute - I didn't get that chance until now. People say I am not in form, but how can they judge me if I have only played half an hour all season?" Yet Dinamo might be tempted to use him in the return fixture given his previous experience in the English capital. Ljubojević scored twice for Croatia's Under-21s in a 3-0 success against England in August 2003.
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