After a day on which Croatia and Serbia took potshots at each other over the symbolism of a tank, both of their national champions on Tuesday reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
Red Star Belgrade drew their playoff second leg 1-1 at home to Young Boys in Belgrade to advance on away goals with the score all square at 3-3.
Dinamo Zagreb also drew, 1-1, away to Rosenborg to go through 3-1 on aggregate. Olympiakos of Greece won 2-1 in Krasnodar to cruise through 6-1.
Before their home game against the Swiss champions, Red Star fans stirred controversy by parking a decommissioned Yugoslav Army tank outside their Rajko Mitic Stadium. The tank, decorated with the club’s logo, was installed with a crane.
On their Facebook page the club called it an “attraction.”
Croatian media took it personally.
One leading sports daily said that the tank was a “morbid provocation from Belgrade.”
The fans said that the tank celebrated the Red Star “machine,” but it only sputtered on the field.
Aleksa Vukanovic gave the hosts the lead after 59 minutes, when he powered a near-post header through the outstretched hands of goalkeeper David von Ballmoos.
Red Star finished on the defensive.
With eight minutes left, defender El Fardou Ben Nabouhane put his head to Saidy Janko’s hopeful shot and deflected it inside his far post.
Goalkeeper Milan Borjan tipped a ferocious drive by Jean-Pierre Nsame over the bar, then, as added time ended in a flurry of cards, Red Star’s Tomane was sent off.
In Norway, Rosenborg struck after 11 minutes. Samuel Adegbenro scored from point-blank range after Dominik Livakovic had saved Ike Jensen’s close-range effort, only for the ball to hit the post and roll back along the line.
With 19 minutes to play, Amer Gojak restored Dinamo’s aggregate two-goal margin when he smacked a rising left-foot shot just inside the near post from outside the Rosenborg penalty area.
In Russia, Krasnodar had 60 seconds of hope.
In the ninth minute, Olympiakos had chances to clear before the ball reached Daniil Utkin on the edge of the six-yard box. The 19-year-old midfielder had time to tee the ball up before popping it into the net.
A minute later, Youssef al-Arabi replied for the visitors. He also had time to control a low cross as defender Sergei Petrov fell over.
Once he had flicked the ball over prone Petrov, the French striker scored easily.
Al-Arabi, only starting because Miguel Angel Guerrero had a muscle problem while warming up, added a second three minutes into the second half. Slicing the ball into an empty goal from close range after the hosts’ defense had failed to deal with a low cross.
The victory stretches Olympiakos’ unbeaten run in qualifying rounds of European club tournaments to 16 matches. They have reached the group stage of either the Champions League or the UEFA Europa League in each of the past eight years.
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