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Privolzhie bounce back to stun hosts

Centre Zagreb AMA 0-2 Privolzhie AMA
The Russian side brought themselves back into the Group A reckoning after a goal in either half was enough to inflict a first defeat on Centre Zagreb.

Privolzhie players Aleksandr Gorbunov (left) and Sergey Makarov (right) celebrate after Branimir Karačić's own goal
Privolzhie players Aleksandr Gorbunov (left) and Sergey Makarov (right) celebrate after Branimir Karačić's own goal ©HNS

Privolzhie AMA kept their UEFA Regions' Cup hopes alive with a 2-0 win against tournament hosts Centre Zagreb AMA in Lucko.

Tense finale
An own goal from Branimir Karačić gave the Russian side a first-half lead and Aleksandr Gorbunov's 71st-minute penalty settled matters. With Oltenia AMA beating Bratislava AMA by the same score in the other Group A game, Privolzhie, Centre Zagreb and the Romanian side are all still in the running to finish top of the section going into the last set of pool fixtures.

Chances swapped
Privolzhie were the better side in the early stages, and nearly took the lead in the seventh minute through Ilya Egorov whose shot missed by a matter of centimetres. The Croatian outfit came into the game and Ivan Graf, double goalscorer on the first matchday, headed against the post with a quarter of an hour gone, the ball falling conveniently into Privolzhie No1 Victor Konoplev's hands.

Near misses
In the 29th minute, Gorbunov rose himself to head at goal but just missed the target. However, four minutes later, his side were in front as Karačić misdirected his header back to goalkeeper Nikola Durdek and the ball ended up in the back of the net. The setback spurred the tournament hosts on and they started the second half very well. Centre Zagreb defender Adel El-Saleh passed up a decent chance ten minutes after the break and then Ivan Horvat hit the bar – it was to prove to be the closest the home side came to scoring.

With 18 minutes remaining Marko Trampus fouled Aleksei Pasechnik in the area and Gorbunov stepped up to give an embattled Privolzhie some breathing space. Centre Zagreb kept their opponents under pressure for the remainder of the game, and Željko Štulec had another excellent opening closed down by Konoplev, but the Russian side remained unbreached to put themselves in the mix for a final place.