A disciplined display by NK Dinamo Zagreb in Boras allowed the Croatian side to book their place in the UEFA Cup group stage at the expense of Swedish outfit IF Elfsborg.
Goals from Veldin Karic and Ivan Bošnjak in the first leg at the Masimir stadium a fortnight ago, proved decisive as the visitors held firm to subdue their hosts. Elfsborg coach Magnus Haglund was hopeful of overturning that two-goal deficit at the Ryavallen stadium, but his players were unable to offer any real attacking threat throughout the whole 90 minutes.
Elfsborg striker Lars Nilsson, who had been in fine goalscoring form of late, was included after recovering from a heel injury, but was unable to unbalance Dinamo. Indeed, the visitors dominated possession and carved out the better chances, not least when Edin Mujcin's clever chip from the edge of the box bounced off the crossbar on 75 minutes.
It proved to be the best chance of the game, despite Haglund having introduced an extra forward in the shape of Daniel Nils Alexandersson after just 27 minutes. Nevertheless, the attacking alteration hardly unsettled Dinamo who defended with purpose and attacked with poise.
Flash of inspiration
Elfsborg were scarcely able to get out of their half in the opening stages, but a rare flash of inspiration came on 24 minutes when Samuel Holmén saw his shot well saved by visiting goalkeeper Vladimir Vasilj, after good work from Andreas Nilsson.
Just moments later, Dinamo - who always looked in control - demonstrated their attacking threat when Mujcin's free-kick eluded everyone and had to be scrambled to safety by Elfsborg goalkeeper Johan Wiland.
The visitors, efficiently organised by coach Nenad Gracan, continued to dominate proceedings in the second half. Despite Elfsborg needing to score, it was Dinamo who always looked the more likely to find the net, as the visitors provided the moment of the match 15 minutes before the final whistle.
Mujcin danced his way around Elfsborg's tiring defence and dragged the ball back before cleverly chipping over Wiland. With the goalkeeper stranded, the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar and Ivan Bošnjak was unable to capitalise on the rebound.
Shot on target
Still the threat kept coming from the Croatian team as substitute Dario Zahora failed to match his fine run with a shot on target, flashing his effort across the face on goal in the closing moments. It matter little, however, with Dinamo already safely through.