FBK Kaunas 2-3 KS Dinamo Tirana
Albanian champions KS Dinamo Tirana stunned Lithuanian hosts FBK Kaunas by fighting back from two goals down to secure a 3-2 victory tonight in a thrilling UEFA Champions League first qualifying round first-leg tie.
Kaunas dominated early on, although they failed to unlock Dinamo's stubborn defence. With scant creativity in midfield, Kaunas's best weapon was the aerial power of Anrius Velicka, who rose to head the opener after a corner from Marius Bezykrovnas on 38 minutes.
The duo combined for another goal four minutes later, when Bezykrovnas was brought down in the box and Velicka converted the spot kick. However, at the end of the first half, Kaunas lost key defender Darius Sanajevas to injury.
The Lithuanian defence looked disorganised as Julian Ahmataj was left unmarked and capitalised on 55 minutes with a header to put the Albanians back into the game. A minute later, Arian Pisha pulled Dinamo back on level terms with a stunning free-kick. Kaunas were shocked by Dinamo's persistence and it was no surprise when Ilir Qorri snatched the winner for the visitors following a rapid counter-attack on 76 minutes.
"Kaunas believed in their victory after the first half, and were punished for that," Dinamo head coach Faruk Sejdini said afterwards, as distressed Lithuanian fans left the stadium in disbelief.