July 16, 2008: UEFA Champions League, 1st qual. round, 1st leg:
Dinamo Tbilisi – NSÍ Runavík 3-0 (3-0)
1 - 0 Shota Kashia 7'
2 - 0 Oleg Gvelesiani 10'
3 - 0 David Odikadze 31'
It always looked like a daunting task for the Faroese champions as soon as it was known that NSÍ were facing a team from Georgia, as Georgia hasn’t been the most inviting place for Faroese teams to visit.
Two other Faroese clubs have played against Georgian opposition before, and their statistics was hardly inspiring reading for NSÍ. B36 Tórshavn lost 5-2 in Georgia in 2002 while HB Tórshavn have visited twice, losing 5-0 and 6-0. The only encouraging sign was that HB managed to win one of the home-legs 3-0.
And NSÍ's own statistical record in Europe did not bring much comfort either. Twice before they have competed in the UEFA cup, and their goal difference in total is 1 for and 15 against! In addition to that, NSÍ have participated in the Intertoto Cup once, losing 7-1 on aggregate.
And when NSÍ today went 2 goals behind within the first 10 minutes of the match, and that tally increased to 3 within the first 30 minutes after a penalty, it looked like NSÍ were going to get another of those 5-6 goals hammerings.
However, NSÍ tightened their defence and held Tbilisi from scoring in the last hour of the match.
The return leg will be played on the artificial grass in Gundadalur Stadium, Tórshavn on Tuesday 22 July.
For that match NSÍ will be without 1st choice goalkeeper, Tórur Thomsen, as he was given the red card towards the end of today's match.
July 22, 2008: UEFA Champions League, 1st qual. round, 2nd leg:
NSÍ Runavík – Dinamo Tbilisi 1-0 (1-0)
16' 1-0 Hjalgrím Elttør
NSÍ played a terrific match on Gundadalur's artificial grass in Tórshavn to win 1-0 against Georgian champions, Dinamo Tbilisi, but still bow out after losing 3-1 on aggregate.
The damage had already been done in the 3-0 defeat in Georgia, and it was unrealistic to think that NSÍ could overturn that result, but when Hjalgrím Elttør put NSÍ in front after 15 minutes, there was a sense that the impossible could actually become possible, because during the first 35 minutes, NSÍ were in full control and could so easily have scored to 2-0, and who knows what then could have happened...
15 minutes had gone when NSÍ forward Karoly Potemkin challenged a Tbilisi defender and won the ball off him. Øssur Dalbúð received the ball and went to the byline and made a low cross in front of goal where Hjalgrím Elttør came storming in and slotted it into the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, Elttør on the left turned provider (or maybe it was Bogi Løkin), but Dalbúð failed to connect with the cross. – A whisker from 2-0!
And just a few minutes later, Elttør so nearly was played clear in the penalty area, but the pass was just centimetres from reaching him.
Øssur Dalbúð also went close with a flat shot from the edge of the penalty area, but it went just wide of the left post.
During the first 30-35 minutes, NSÍ had played extremely well, with Nenad Stankovic as the pivotal point in midfield. – A class performance from the Serb.
But after that, Tbilisi worked their way back into the game, and NSÍ were never able to really put the visitors under any real pressure.
Tblisi's 2nd half approach was much more offensive, and that forced NSÍ to do a lot of defending in the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half.
Only 4 minutes after the break, Tbilisi went close with a long range effort, but Jens Martin Knudsen pushed the ball onto the crossbar.
Tbilisi had several finishes in the first 15 minutes after the restart, but only in the incident above was Knudsen forced to make a save.
Jens Martin Knudsen, the bobble hat keeper was otherwise retired after the end of last season, but as 1st choice keeper Tórur Thomsen was suspended, and reserve-keeper Pedrag Stankovic injured, Knudsen was forced out of retirement for today's match. However, today Knudsen played without his bobble hat. It has gone on an exhibition in a museum!
The last half an hour was mostly played in midfield, and neither team got close to scoring.
Dinamo Tbilisi therefore win 3-1 on aggregate and go through to the 2nd qualifying round where they'll meet Panathinaikos FC.
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