History repeated as Dinamo down Sheriff

FC Sheriff 0-3 GNK Dinamo Zagreb (agg: 0-4) The Croatian champions defeated their Moldovan opponents for the second year running to book a place in the play-offs.

Dinamo Zagreb's Junior Fernándes celebrates his goal in acrobatic style
Dinamo Zagreb's Junior Fernándes celebrates his goal in acrobatic style ©Sergey Sokolov

GNK Dinamo Zagreb dumped Moldova's FC Sheriff out of UEFA Champions League qualifying for the second year running, as the Croatian title holders eased into the play-offs.

Krunoslav Jurčić's men could not quite match their 5-0 aggregate win over Sheriff at the same stage last season but that will not concern them in the slightest after goals from Junior Fernándes, Hilal Soudani and Duje Čop in Tiraspol completed a 4-0 success over two legs. Friday's play-off draw now awaits a Dinamo side bidding to make a third successive appearance in the group stage.

Given they had needed a late goal to edge the first leg, the visitors will have anticipated an awkward evening and they made a nervy start, almost letting in Sheriff in the opening two minutes as Luvannor Henrique forced a save from Oliver Zelenika and home skipper Marko Stanojević fired wide. Those nerves were swiftly settled, however, as Fernándes punished Sheriff for their failure to clear their lines as he picked up the ball on the edge of the home area and curled a sweet shot in off the far post for his second goal in qualifying.

That away goal left Veaceslav Rusnac's hosts needing to score three times but it was Dinamo who looked more dangerous, catching the eye with their speed on counter. Vjekoslav Tomic denied Said Husejinović with a fine save but the reprieve was temporary as the Croatian side doubled their lead on 27 minutes. Josip Pivarić was slipped in down the left and his low cross was met sweetly by Soudani who gave Tomic no chance.

Zelenika kept out Cadu's free-kick after the break before Ricardinho fired Sheriff's best chance off target. That just left Čop to remove any doubt about who was progressing as he ran at the home defence, stepped inside a yellow shirt and rolled a precise low finish past Tomic.