Trailing FK Sarajevo 2-1 going into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie, FK Zeta stand on the brink of perhaps the greatest achievement in the Montenegrin club's history.
Zeta have already seen off FC Pyunik of Armenia and Finland's JJK Jyväskylä to come this far, but now need to overcome Sarajevo in Podgorica in order to continue their European journey. For coach Rade Vešović, they have a solid platform to build on.
"We achieved what we wanted," he said. "We have a very good result ahead of the second leg, and every right to hope we can go to the next round." Two down after 43 minutes, it could have been far worse for Zeta but Balša Božović halved the arrears before half-time and they maintained a one-goal deficit despite the second-half dismissal of defender Vlado Peličić.
"We had problems at the beginning, as our players were overawed by the atmosphere at the stadium," added Vešović of last week's trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina. "Most of them had never played in front of 20,000 people. However, once we adapted we showed that we are not a weaker side than Sarajevo. We were not outplayed, we just conceded goals from our mistakes."
Thursday evening's second leg promises to be Zeta's biggest fixture since the visit of Rangers FC in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round five years ago. One player remains from that 1-0 home loss – confirming a 3-0 aggregate defeat – and forward Žarko Korać is anticipating a similar atmosphere, albeit with a different outcome.
"We don't have the same team, but I hope we will have the same support as we had against Rangers," he said. "With a full stadium we can overcome a one-goal deficit. Itꞌs all in our hands – this is a big chance for us which I hope we will not miss."
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