SK Tirana 0-1 FC National Bucuresti
National take the slenderest of leads into the second leg of their UEFA Cup qualifying-round tie after their away win at Tirana tonight.
In a match in which two former international goalkeepers made their UEFA competition debuts as the coaches of Tirana and National, it was not altogether surprising that while the attacks misfired the defences were rock solid. Sergiu Marian Radu scored the only goal of the match from the spot to ensure it was a winning start for Walter Zenga, the former Internazionale FC and Italy goalkeeper, as his National side overcame former Yugoslavian international Enver Hadziabdic's Tirana.
The Romanian side's greater technical ability proved the difference between the sides, although they had to wait for Radu’s 33rd-minute spot-kick to make their superiority count. Tirana raised their game appreciably after the interval, but the best of the chances fell to National when Marius Iordache hit the post after 69 minutes.
While Zenga was pleased with the away goal, he was also adamant there is still plenty to play for in the return leg in Romania in two weeks' time. "I am very happy with the result, but the last word in this tie has not been said yet, as I learned from the many European matches I played in during my career," Zenga said.
Tirana coach Hadziabdic was desperately disappointed at conceding the penalty. He said: "We made only one mistake in the match and have had to pay a high price for that."