A late goal from Bernardo Romeo earned Hamburger SV a narrow 2-1 first-leg lead at home to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the first round of the UEFA Cup.
The Argentinian striker headed in a cross from Bosnian midfield player Sergej Barbarez nine minutes from time to give the German side a slender advantage to take to the Meteor stadium in the Ukraine on 15 October.
In front of 26,831 spectators at the AOL Arena, the home side began brightly, with Barbarez almost finding Romeo with another left-wing cross. The striker then went close with another header and Iranian international midfield player Mehdi Mahdavikia tested Dnipro goalkeeper Mykola Medin with a shot, all inside the first five minutes.
Against the run of play, however, it was the visitors who took the lead in the tenth minute. Olexandr Rykun's perceptive pass found Oleg Venhlinskyy, and the Dnipro striker evaded the attentions of Hamburg defender Tomáš Ujfaluši before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Martin Piekenhagen.
Piekenhagen in action
Only five minutes later, the Hamburg goalkeeper was called into action again to prevent the Ukrainian side doubling their lead, denying Ruslan Kostyshyn and, as the visitors sought to press home their early advantage, Piekenhagen had to be alert to keep out a Rykun free-kick.
Hamburg fight back
The home side struggled to get back on level terms, although Barbarez twice saw efforts fly just past the post, but began the second period in positive fashion, with Romeo and Mahdavikia both failing to convert presentable chances.
Hoogma spot on
Four minute after half-time, Hamburg were literally handed a golden opportunity to get back in the match as Dnipro midfield player Dmytro Mykhailenko used his arm to deny Barbarez, and Dutch defender Nico Jan Hoogma scored from the resulting penalty.
Home side on top
The equaliser visibly lifted the home side, who pressed forward in search of a second but were unable to find a way past Medin, who denied Barbarez and Marcel Maltritz. The visitors almost snatched a second away goal when Rykun's shot from the angle flew just over the crossbar, but the home side were largely on top. Ujfaluši and Bastian Reinhardt both missed with headers, and it seemed the match would end level before Romeo's late intervention.
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