Champions League: Play off Leg 2 of 2
Crvena Zvezda qualified to Champions league group stage. Choreo is dedicated to one of the legendary Delije member who died - "Mirko Talijan". Banner on the fence says "SUPPORT!"
The Champions League Playoffs are always a tense affair, with teams just one step away from the group stages of the competition. Not only do the group stages bring the opportunity to play against some European football’s top clubs, it is very lucrative and the money on offer is tremendous.
The first meeting between Crvena Zvezda and Young Boys finished 2-2 in Switzerland. The draw was enough for both teams to believe they could make it through, although Crvena Zvezda had the slight advantage thanks to the two goals they scored away from home.
The Crvena Zvezda fans are known for creating a fantastic and intimidating atmosphere at the Rajko Mitić Stadium, which current Champions League holders Liverpool found out to their cost last season.
Their odds of 501.00 with William Hill to win the competition suggest they have very little chance but Crvena Zvezda are capable of causing the top teams plenty of problems, especially at home.
As per usual for home matches, the fans produced an awesome display at the beginning of the game. One end of the stadium, behind the goal was decorated in a giant tifo, including red and white stripes, the official colours of Crvena Zvezda and an image of an animal in the centre. It was a superb sight.
Crvena Zvezda have an organised supporters group called Delije and this name has been adopted by the hardcore fans. The large choreographies are famous around the world and there is often someone on a megaphone to whip the fans into a frenzy.
Young Boys tried to put the crowd out of their mind and they created a moment of confusion in the second half when a deflected shot came back down off the crossbar and flashed along the goal line before the defence cleared the ball. However, it wasn’t long before the hosts took the lead.
A nice turn by Richmond Boakye opened up the pitch in the attacking third on the 59th minute. Crvena Zvezda worked the ball into a wide position close to the edge of the penalty area. A cross from the overlapping Milan Rodic was headed home by Aleksa Vukanovic to send the home fans into ecstasy.
It was the goal Crvena Zvezda needed to ease the tension because the longer the match went on at 0-0, the more damage a goal for Young Boys would have done.
However, there was more drama to come as Young Boys lofted the ball into the box and picked up the clearance on the edge of the penalty area. The resulting shot was weak but a major deflection took the ball beyond Milan Borjan in the Crvena Zvezda goal.
That strike created a tense final 10 minutes of the game during which home substitute Tomane was sent off for a second bookable offence. Nonetheless, the hosts held on and Crvena Zvezda reached the group stages of the Champions League for the second season in succession.