Estonian football club Tallinna FC Flora opened its Champions League qualifying round with a 2:0 victory over Maltese club Hibernians FC. Both goals were scored by Rauno Sappinen after a red card reduced Malta to 10 players.
The match went by without too much action but there were a few opportunities for both sides. After Hibernians defender Raphael slid to tackle Hendrik Ojamaa in the 73rd minute, the Maltese side were left to finish the match with 10 players.
Two minutes after the red card, Flora finally got their goal. Martin Miller's cross from the left flank found Rauno Sappinen, who headed it into the net for 1:0. 12 minutes later, Flora was on the attack again and found an unmarked Sappinen in the box, who slotted it past the goalkeeper for 2:0.
Sappinen's goals can be seen here:
Manager: Taking two goals here for second leg is not bad
Flora manager Jürgen Henn told ERR post-match that he feels like Flora could have scored one more. "We could have perhaps used that third [goal], it was close, that will stick with me. But at the same time, taking a 2:0 lead from here is not bad at all," Henn said.
"We knew we wanted to play more boldly at home, the opponent did everything to lower our pace, but we found or spots in the end and two goals is important in conclusion. That we were able to take this lead with us from here, the game could be completely different there - on artificial grass, in another climate," Henn added.
The manager said that since Hibernians was a largely unknown opponent, there were some nerves in the preparation process. "Their pace, level, formations, it was feeling it out somewhat, but we played boldly in the second half, found our movements, made the corrections at half. I think the second half went better," Henn said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste