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Nistru seal dramatic triumph

Shakhtyor 1-2 Nistru (agg: 2-3) Late winner takes FC Nistru Otaci past FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk.

By Denis Orlov at the Traktor stadium

Serghei Pogreban's late winner gave Moldovan side FC Nistru Otaci a first-ever aggregate victory in the UEFA Cup, as they beat Belarus's FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk to move into Friday's second qualifying round draw.

Shakhtyor breakthrough
A 1-1 draw a fortnight ago had set up a tight second leg, but although Shakhtyor would have progressed with a goalless result, coach Yuri Verheichyk sent out an attacking formation combining Anatoli Tsikhanchyk and Igors Slesarcuks. That tactic paid dividends within six minutes, as Tsikhanchyk broke through the visiting defence and cut back to Slesarcuks, who fired the ball into the far corner of the goal.

Nistru equalise
Nistru were not disheartened, though, and began to control the game, threatening down the flanks with Iulian Bursuc dangerous on the right. But it was the left-wing play of Catalin Lichioiu that made the equaliser, as his cross was deflected into the net by luckless defender Aleksei Belousov on 25 minutes.

Bursuc chance
Neither side could edge ahead in the remainder of the first half, but four minutes after the break, Nistru's Anatolie Ostap released Bursuc through on goal. However, the captain shot wide to the relief of Shakhtyor goalkeeper Ihar Lohvinau. At the other end, Dzmitri Bespanski created a chance for Raman Trapachkin, who raced into the area but was denied by Roman Bayrashevskyy.

Decisive goal
Fourteen minutes from time Trapachkin found the unmarked Tsikhanchyk in the box but his shot was straight at Bayrashevskyy. The Nistru keeper then saved from Trapachkin as Shakhtyor upped the tempo. But the home side could not make their pressure tell, and with extra time looming it was Nistru who struck, Yuriy Groshev crossing from the right and Pogreban's header giving Lohvinau no chance.

'Nice teamwork'
Nistru coach Alexandr Matiura, whose club's previous three UEFA Cup campaigns had ended at the first stage, said: "Shakhtyor were slight favourites to go through, because they managed to get a draw away from home in the first leg. Both teams were a little lucky with their first goals, but our clincher was the result of good teamwork. Shakhtyor are a really good side, but we are through."

Coach concedes defeat
Verheichyk admitted: "We started really well, especially in the first ten minutes of the game, when we managed to score. But then our opponents enjoyed a lot of possession and finally they showed their class."