FC Lugano 1-0 FK Ventspils (Ventspils win 3-1 on aggregate)
Swiss club FC Lugano emerged victorious from the home second leg of their UEFA Cup qualifying round tie against FK Ventspils, but it was not enough to prevent the Latvian side from progressing in the competition.
Goalkeeper on form
With a three-goal deficit to make up in order to enter tomorrow's first-round draw, the home team made an aggressive start, but failed to unlock a confident Ventspils defence, with Deniss Romanovs showing great form in goal for the visitors.
Razzetti makes vital saves
Alberto Regazzoni and Raphael Darbellay both went close for the home side early on, though, while at the other end Deimantas Bicka forced a good save from Stefano Razzetti on 18 minutes, who also superbly denied Vits Rimkus just after the half-hour.
Andreoli on target
After the break, Lugano poured forward in search of a vital first goal, Marco Maglioglio just off target with a chance early in the half. And on 55 minutes, the pressure told, as Christian Andreoli's header finally put Lugano ahead.
However, despite frantic Lugano efforts, the away side held on to their aggregate lead, and could even have equalised on the night late on, when Mihails Zizilevs through ball found Igoris Stukalinas, only for the midfield player's shot to go wide.
After the match, Lugano coach Pierluigi Tami admitted: "Our exit from UEFA Cup is a shock for the team. We played well, but took only one chance. Our inability to take our chances is what ruined this tie for us in the end. Ventspils were lucky, but the fought well to get into first round."
Ventspils make history
Tami's opposite number Paul Ashworth was unsurprisingly delighted at the result. "I am very happy, as this is the only the second time in Latvian history that a club has advanced past the [UEFA Cup] qualifying round", he said. "Lugano were better than us today, but our goalkeeper Deniss Romanovs was excellent. I am also happy about how we defended the result that suited us. We lost, but we won."