JK Nõmme Kalju created a piece of club history with their first victory in Europe as goals from Yankuba Ceesay and Damiano Quintieri earned a 2-1 success against Finland's HJK Helsinki and with it a place in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
The Estonian title holders may have claimed a goalless draw in Finland last week but their European record of three ties and three defeats before today meant nothing could be taken for granted. So it proved in a nervy finish after Demba Savage had halved Kalju's lead midway through the second half.
HJK actually finished the match with 16 goal attempts to their hosts' six but it was Igor Prins's team who were celebrating – and looking forward to a meeting with FC Viktoria Plzeň or FK Željezničar in the next round.
Kalju went ahead on aggregate when their Gambian midfielder Ceesay nodded in from a Ken Kallaste corner after 28 minutes. Savage almost equalised soon after with a close-range shot but instead Kalju grabbed a second goal. Vladimir Voskoboinikov sent Quintieri through to beat the last defender and goalkeeper Ville Wallén before finding the net.
The home side were defending well yet HJK asked even more questions of their back line after Mikael Forssell's introduction early in the second half and it was no surprise when Savage pulled a goal back following a corner. The same player had scored at Kalju when his old club, FC Honka Espoo, won there in a UEFA Europa League qualifier in 2011 – but this time he would leave Tallinn disappointed.
In an end-to-end finale, Kalju came out of their defensive shells and nearly registered twice more through substitute Maehara Hiroki while Joel Pohjanpalo missed one last, late chance for Sixten Boström's men.
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