By Vakhtang Bzikadze at Boris Paichadze stadium
FC Dinamo Tbilisi became the first Georgian side to progress past the UEFA Cup first round since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, with a dramatic 2-1 victory against Wisla Kraków, the home team winning on away goals after a 5-5 aggregate draw.
Two goals in six second-half minutes from Georgi Nemsadze and Mikheil Kakaladze secured Dinamo's passage to the competition's group stage, with the Georgian side surviving a frantic finale after Tomasz Frankowski pulled a goal back 14 minutes from time. George Geguchadze's side held firm, however, to book their place in Tuesday's draw.
Trailing 4-3 after the first leg in Poland a fortnight ago, Dinamo looked to be up against it and, despite a full house at the Boris Paichadze stadium, began the match in nervous fashion. Neither side was able to take control of the game in the first half, with Frankowski coming closest to finding the net in the second minute, only to see his deflected effort rebound off the crossbar.
Nemsadze spot on
Chances were few and far between until the match burst into life just before the hour mark. The 20,000 spectators were celebrating in the 59th minute, after Marcin Beszczynski handled inside the penalty area while trying to prevent Dinamo subsitute Vladimer Akhalaia connecting with Levan Melkadze's cross. The Wisla defender was sent off for deliberate handball, and Dinamo captain Nemsadze made no mistake from the spot.
Six minutes later the supporters were sent into a frenzy as the home side moved ahead on aggregate, with Nemsadze again heavily involved. The 32-year-old was the architect of the second goal, creating the opportunity for Kakaladze to double Dinamo's lead with a fine shot from an acute angle.
Frankowski on target
The Georgian side came close to confirming their progress moments later, as Wisla were forced to clear the ball off the line after a corner had led to a goalmouth scramble. The Polish side were not beaten yet, however, and hauled themselves back into contention inside the final 15 minutes as Frankowski halved the home team's lead.
Both sides had further chances to score in the closing stages, with Maciej Zurawski and Nemsadze both striking free-kicks against the post. It was the Georgian side who ultimately emerged victorious, though, preserving their slender but vital lead until the final whistle.