Maribor make hay against nine-man Dudelange

F91 Dudelange 1-3 NK Maribor (agg: 1-5)
The hosts finished two players down as Maribor completed a comfortable aggregate victory against the champions of Luxembourg.

Action from the Stade Jos Nosbaum in Dudelange
Action from the Stade Jos Nosbaum in Dudelange ©Babaev David

Dejan Mezga scored twice as NK Maribor made serene progress into the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round at the expense of nine-man F91 Dudelange.

Two goals down from the first leg, Dudelange's task became even greater when Mezga opened the scoring on 26 minutes. Though Daniel Da Mota pulled one back in the early stages of the second half, Robert Berić and Mezga − from the spot after Jean-Philippe Caillet received a second booking for handball − calmed any nerves.

Michaël Wiggers and Stefano Bensi had efforts on goal for Dudelange − the second well saved by Marko Pridigar − in what was an assertive start from the home side. Yet their early enterprise was undone when Mezga punished a defensive error with a low shot.

Unbowed, Daniel Theis's men remained a match for their Slovenian counterparts and equalised on the night through Da Mota's 54th-minute shot. Sofian Benzouien then drove wide as Dudelange looked to build on their goal, but any momentum was quashed when the impressive Mezga teed up Berić for a close-range finish.

Mezga's spot kick coincided with another dismissal, with Da Mota this time taking his leave following his second yellow card in six minutes. Maribor's reward is a tie against Maccabi Haifa FC or FK Borac Banja Luka, with the former 5-1 up going into the second leg on Wednesday.

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