BV Borussia Dortmund substitute Heiko Herrlich scored the only goal with virtually the last kick of the game to break FC København hearts in their lively UEFA Cup third round first-leg encounter at Parken stadium, Copenhagen.
The Danish side will rue their luck in a match that saw them dominate much of the possession and create a high percentage of the chances. They will also be disappointed that, when presented with the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot, the finishing was less than convincing. Both teams finished the match with ten men after Jan Koller and Christian Poulsen were sent off in the first half.
Heine Fernandez did have the ball in the Dortmund net as early as the 16th minute but his effort was ruled out for a push on visiting goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. The impressive Sibusiso Zuma, a South Africa-born striker blessed with electric pace and a slick touch, proved to be a constant thorn in Dortmund's side and was unlucky to see his low shot flash wide midway through the half.
Niclas Jensen then curled his 20-metre free-kick over the Dortmund wall forcing Lehmann to dive smartly to his left to make a fine save, before Thomas Røll Larsen was unlucky to see his powerful header fly narrowly past the post. With half-time approaching, Koller and Poulsen were dismissed after a clash that left both injured in the København half. Referee Mike Riley adjudged both players to be at fault and, despite the protestations of both teams, ordered the duo from the field.
Zuma continued to cause panic in the Dortmund rearguard, before his side were handed the perfect chance to edge in front. Christian Wörns rose to head a deep cross clear but the ball struck his arm and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. The experienced Jacob Laursen stepped up to take the kick but blazed his shot high over Lehmann's crossbar.
The hosts continued to press but were eventually undone by an injury-time blow that will see them travel to Dortmund for the second leg as underdogs. Zuma and Thomas Thorninger both went close in the dying moments but Herrlich had the final say when he was on hand to poach what could prove to be a vital goal for his side.
Lars Ricken broke free of the København defence but saw his low shot blocked by goalkeeper Rune Pedersen. Herrlich, who replaced the largely ineffective Marcio Amoroso for the second half, was on hand to roll home from six metres and put his side firmly in the driving seat.
'We had luck'
Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer said: "I have to admit that we did not win the game thanks to a brillant performance, but merely because we had the luck we needed tonight. At the same time I must say that I am very disappointed that we were not capable of showing our true strength."
'A fine performance'
"I think that we delivered a fine performance, and were able to create some good chances," FC København coach Hans Backe said. "I'm looking forward to the away game, and I still think we have a chance of qualifying if we are able to put the same kind of pressure upon Dortmund as we did tonight."