FC Midtjylland of Denmark secured a 1-1 draw with NK Varteks in Croatia to progress to the second round of the UEFA Cup 2-1 on aggregate.
The overall margin of victory could have been even greater, as the away side missed several golden opportunities to extend their lead, substitute Mogens Laursen wasting two presentable chances, but in the end, they had to be satisfied with Razak Pimpong’s 67th-minute tap-in from substitute Nikolai Jørgensen’s unselfish square pass.
Varteks battled bravely, and deserved their equaliser on the night, which arrived in bizarre circumstances four minutes from time. Captain Miljenko Mumlek, who was at the heart of most of his side’s attacking moves, broke down the left but overhit his cross. Midtjylland goalkeeper Peter Skov-Jensen plucked the ball out of the air only to stumble backwards over the line with the ball still in his hands.
Midtjylland began the brighter, and missed two golden opportunities to make the home side's task even more difficult inside the first 15 minutes. In the 13th minute, Pimpong, a constant threat to the home defence, broke clear on to a pass over the top of the home defence, but the ball would not drop for him and he shot straight at Skov-Jensen.
Two minutes later, Frank Kristensen burst into the area only to have his heels clipped by Silverstar Sabolcki. The referee duly awarded a penalty, but Jens Jenssen saw his spot-kick turned aside by Zeljko Rumbak diving low to his left.
Varteks take control
As the half wore on, Varteks gradually took command, and were unlucky not to be in front at half-time. Ivica Huljev and Danijel Hrman both forced saves from Skov-Jensen, and a clever free-kick from captain Miljenko Mumlek set up Nikola Šafaric but his careful shot rolled centimetres wide.