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Zlatinski sinks Partizan to seal Ludogorets passage

FK Partizan 0-1 PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (agg: 1-3)
Hristo Zlatinski's 88th-minute penalty sealed a famous win for the Bulgarian champions – and earned a first play-off.

Ludogorets' Hristo Zlatinski celebrates scoring from the spot at Partizan
Ludogorets' Hristo Zlatinski celebrates scoring from the spot at Partizan ©Meridian Match

Hristo Zlatinski's 88th-minute penalty clinched a first ever appearance in the UEFA Champions League play-offs for Bulgaria's PFC Ludogorets Razgrad, as they wrapped up a shock third qualifying round victory over FK Partizan.

After coming from behind to secure a 2-1 advantage in the first leg, Stoicho Stoev's men kept their nerve to complete the job in Belgrade and earn a place in Friday's draw. In just their second campaign in Europe, the Bulgarian champions registered a second win against their Serbian counterparts in a week as Zlatinski's late spot kick sealed the fate of the 2010/11 group stage contenders.

Although Ivan Stoyanov had an early shot saved by Milan Lukač after breaking clear, it was the home team who turned up the heat as they sought to level the aggregate scores. Saša Marković shot wide before Aleksandar Mitrović, fresh from Serbia's UEFA European Under-19 Championship triumph, forced a sharp save from Vladislav Stoyanov.

The 18-year-old threatened again when striking the crossbar just after the half-hour as Vuk Rašovic's hosts continued to threaten. Marković and Nikola Ninković were equally wayward with efforts either side of the interval and, with Ludogorets riding their luck, Mitrović failed to convert another opportunity following a corner.

The hosts were made to pay for their profligacy as the clock ticked down. Nikola Gulan toppled Roman Bezjak in the area as the forward bore down on goal after a good run, and the referee pointed to the spot. Gulan was dismissed and Zlatinski stepped up to cap a memorable success.