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Levadia push Debrecen all the way

Debreceni VSC 3-2 FC Levadia Tallinn (agg: 4-3)
The Hungarian champions will now meet FC Basel 1893 after coming through on a topsy-turvy evening that visitors Levadia ended with ten men.

László Rezes (right) in action against Levadia
László Rezes (right) in action against Levadia ©UEFA.com

Hungarian titleholders Debreceni VSC survived a major scare by FC Levadia Tallinn to book a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against FC Basel 1893.

Debrecen went into the decider level at 1-1 thanks to László Rezes's late equaliser last week and found themselves behind in the tie twice more on a topsy-turvy evening. Konstantin Nahk gave the visitors a third-minute lead and having wrested the initiative then lost it again, Péter Szakály put Debrecen back in command ten minutes into the second half – this time they would not lose it.

Levadia's hopes were extinguished when Deniss Malov picked up a second yellow card 16 minutes from time, yet for a while it looked like their night. Nahk broke the deadlock with an exquisite free-kick that bent away from Mindaugas Malinauskas and into the top corner, though the Estonian side were soon on the defensive as Yannick Mbengono attacked with purpose, earning a penalty after a Maksim Podholjuzin foul after 24 minutes.

Martin Kaalma got a hand to Adamo Coulibaly's effort, but the striker headed in the rebound and eight minutes later it was advantage Debrecen as Mbengono fired in following a one-two with Coulibaly. Then came the sucker punch early in the second period, Vitali Leitan driving in low after being put through by Vladislav Ivanov. The tie was now in Levadia's hands courtesy of the away-goals rule – but not for long, as two minutes later Szakály ran onto Coulibaly's clever back-heel and finished calmly.