STA, 25 July 2019 - Slovenian football champions Maribor opened the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League against AIK Stockholm with a 2:1 win at home on Wednesday evening. The team is happy with the win, but is aware that the away goal scored by the Swedish side will make the return leg next week very difficult.
Some 7,800 spectators in Ljudski Vrt stadium saw Maribor score early in the match, with Rok Kronaveter convert in the 6th minute, after which the Slovenian champions continued to apply pressure.
But the 12-time Swedish champions responded, as Henok Goitom scored a goal in the 28th minute with a diagonal shot from the left side of the box.
It took Maribor only ten minutes to score the second goal, with Saša Ivković converting a header after a corner kick by Kronaveter.
Maribor head coach Darko Milanič said the win was a self-confidence boost. "We have a win in our pocket, and we have played a good game, which will certainly be helpful in the future."
Milanič said that the opponent was very difficult, "perhaps even too good for this stage of competition", which is why he expects a tough return leg on 31 July. He is aware that the away goal scored by AIK is a problem.
"A majority of things in our game were really excellent, it's a shame that we were too offensive after we scored the first goal and let them score the equaliser."
Milanič expects a different game from the Swedish champions in Stockholm. "We have to be prepared for much more tempo. We will need to adjust, calm down their game and be good in possessing the ball," he concluded.
The winner of the encounter will play in the next round of qualifying against the winner of the matchup between BATE Borisov of Belarus and Rosenborg of Norway.