GNK Dinamo Zagreb brushed aside Luxembourger champions CS Fola Esch 5-0 with an emphatic second-half display which all but confirms the Croatian side's place in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
Krunoslav Jurčić's team scored five times in 20 minutes as Fola Esch's resistance finally wilted in Differdange. Once Hilal Soudani had made the breakthrough, with a quickfire double in the 59th and 63rd minutes, further goals followed from Duje Čop, Arijan Ademi and lastly Junior Fernándes with 11 minutes remaining.
Such a scoreline had seemed unlikely in the opening period of this second qualifying round first leg, as Fola's stout defending limited last season's UEFA Champions League group stage contestants to two opportunities. Fernándes and Ademi had been the players responsible for missing those chances, yet they made amends after Soudani – whose contribution was two goals and an assist – had forced ajar the floodgates.
The irony for Jeff Strasser's side was that Fola's best attacking moment, a Stefano Bensi free-kick that flew narrowly over, came 60 seconds before Soudani's game changer. The Algerian international's first was deflected in by Billy Bernard, though he definitely took artistic merit for his second and then set up Čop's sliding third moments later.
Ademi profited from Jakob Dallevedove's mistake to fire in No4, and with Fola by now flattened, Fernándes completed the rout. Dinamo's greater ability, experience and know-how had won the day – and is likely to prevail again in the return leg in Zagreb next Tuesday, 23 July.
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