In the lead-up to the third-round Champions League game against Red Star Belgrade, FC Copenhagen coach Ståle Solbakken predicted that the game rested on a razor-sharp blade.
It was up for grabs. The details would decide it. He wasn’t lying. Unfortunately, FCK came out on the wrong end of a titanic drama.
Having taken a solid 1-1 draw home from inhospitable (football wise) Belgrade, the Lions started off brightly but found themselves on the back foot as the Serbs went ahead out of nothing.
Backed by a boisterous crowd of about 30,000, the Danes pressed and got their reward just before halftime as Dame N’Doye headed home the equaliser. Then things got really interesting.
Finland or Latvia
Nemanja Milunovic was sent packing for the hosts with a second yellow card after 54 minutes and FCK was in the driving seat for a spot in the playoffs.
But the Danes couldn’t capitalise and, despite playing an hour against ten men, ended up losing after extra time even though they had two game-winning attempts in the subsequent nerve-wrecking marathon of a penalty shoot-out.
Instead it was the away fans, who were in good form as well it must be said, who ended up celebrating in earnest when starlet Jonas Wind (the hero from the first leg) missed his second attempt – 13 penalties were taken in the end.
The result means that FCK will take on either HJK Helsinki or FC Riga in the playoff qualification round of the Europa League.