Romanian clubs enjoyed comfortable UEFA Cup victories against Maltese opponents as uefa.com reviews the Southern-Mediterranean section.
Romanian sides AFC Rapid Bucuresti and FC Dinamo 1948 Bucuresti both emerged convincing winners from their encounters with Maltese opponents in today's UEFA Cup first qualifying round first-leg ties. It was also a good night for clubs from Bulgaria as uefa.com reviews the action from the Southern-Mediterranean section.
AFC Rapid Bucuresti 5-0 Sliema Wanderers FC
Despite being without injured trio Marius Maldarasanu, Ionut Rada and Ryan Griffiths, last-season's quarter-finalists made short work of the Maltese runners-up. Five goals in the first half all but booked Rapid's place in the second qualifying round. Nicolae Grigore opened the scoring in the fifth minute, and his effort was swiftly followed by goals from Mugurel Buga and Nicolae Constantin. Buga claimed his second of the evening five minutes before the break before an own goal by Brian Said made Sliema's misery complete.
Hibernians FC 0-4 FC Dinamo 1948 Bucuresti
Dinamo Bucuresti ran out impressive winners against Hibernians at Malta's National Stadium. The visitors went in front within four minutes through Ionel Danciulescu, but Hibernians defended well until 12 minutes after the restart when Claudiu Niculescu found the net. Just a minute later Niculescu scored his second and Dinamo's third, before Stefan Radu finished off the scoring with a goal six minutes from full time. However, they finished the game with ten men after Cosmin Moti was sent off in added time.
NK Varteks 1-1 KF Tirana
The Croatian side came from a goal down to secure a draw against their Albanian visitors. Varteks coach Zlatko Dalić faces a difficult start to the season following the departure of several key players, and his side struggled in the first half as Devis Mukaj converted Elvis Sina's cross to give Tirana the lead on 20 minutes. Varteks bounced back and drew level two minutes into the second half when Enes Novinić tidied up the rebound following a save from Blendi Nallbani.
KS Dinamo Tirana 0-1 PFC CSKA Sofia
A goal three minutes from time by Eugen Trica helped CSKA Sofia to victory in Tirana, evoking memories of the sides' meeting last summer. On that occasion the Bulgarian team struck twice in the dying minutes to take a 2-0 away win in the second qualifying round. This time Romanian substitute Trica made the difference in a match which saw both sides hit the post. CSKA coach Plamen Markov said: "I am very happy that we got what we came here for. It was a tough match but we are going home as winners."
FK Vardar 1-2 KSV Roeselare
Roeselare conceded a goal in the first minute but responded in style to establish an advantage against Vardar. Fifty-seven seconds were on the clock when Dejan Ristovski ran on to a through ball and found the net from five metres. Despite dominating the first half-hour Vardar could not add to their lead and the visitors drew level on 33 minutes when Sanharib Malki Sabah capitalised on a goalkeeping error from Ljupco Kmetovski to fire into an empty net. Six minutes later Davy Oyen finished calmly to give Roeselare a lead they will carry into the home leg.
PFC Lokomotiv Sofia 2-0 FK Makedonija GP Skopje
The first match in UEFA club competition between Bulgarian and Macedonian clubs went the way of the former as Lokomotiv claimed victory at the Bulgarska Armia stadium in Sofia. After a goalless first half the home side went in front through a twice-taken penalty by Ivan Paskov on the hour mark. The visitors had a great chance to pull one back in the 75th minute, but Lokomotiv goalkeeper Uros Golubović made a brilliant point-blank save, paving the way for Kaloyan Karadzhinov's potentially decisive strike five minutes from time.
HNK Rijeka 2-2 AC Omonia Nicosia
Cypriot outfit Omonia gave themselves a great chance of pulling off a UEFA Cup shock as they twice came from behind, meaning only a win or a high-scoring draw in Nicosia will see Rijeka through. Newly-signed forward Nino Bule put the hosts in front on ten minutes, and it was another newcomer, Mihael Mikić, who gave away a penalty on the half-hour that was converted by Giorgios Vakouftis. Rijeka restored the lead with a penalty of their own on 51 minutes, but soon afterwards Vlatko Grozdanovski levelled and Omonia held on despite a late red card for Giorgios Theodotou.
APOEL FC 3-1 S.S. Murata
APOEL will take a two-goal lead to San Marino but could be made to pay for the second-half goal they unexpectedly conceded. APOEL broke the deadlock on 34 minutes after Federico Donati brought down Konstantinos Makrides and Neophytou converted the ensuing spot-kick. The hosts were stunned early in the second half when an inswinging free-kick from Murata captain Bryan Gasperoni found the head of Cristian Protti on 51 minutes. The Cypriot challengers fought back with powerful headers from Georgiou (58) and substitute Giorgios Eleftheriou (82).
NK Orašje 0-2 NK Domžale
The Slovenian side enjoyed a short and profitable trip to Bosnia-Herzigovina, returning with a two-goal cushion to take into the second leg in a fortnight's time. Brazilian midfielder Juninho, 22, opened the scoring two minutes after the half-hour. Janez Aljančič then doubled his side's tally three minutes before the break, and Domžale's two-goal margin rarely looked threatened during the second period.
FK Sarajevo 3-0 FC Ranger's
The Bosnian club recorded the result most people expected against Andorran opponents thanks to three goals in the first half. Emir Obuća registered the first of his two strikes in the 22nd minute, and again found the back of the Ranger's net seven minutes before half-time. The scoring was completed just before the break, when Samir Duro gave Sarajevo a comfortable lead to take to the Pyrenees in a fortnight.
FC Koper 0-1 PFC Litex Lovech
A single goal from defender Rosen Kirilov was enough to give Litex a useful advantage to take back to Bulgaria for the second leg. The goal came after 18 minutes and, despite several promising attacks, the Slovenian side were unable to find a way back into the tie. They go into the return fixture knowing only a win will see them into the hat for the next round.