Vllaznia Shkodër 0
Dundee 2
UEFA Cup (Qualifying Round 1st Leg)


0 - 2


UEFA Cup (Qualifying Round 1st Leg)
Thursday, August 14th, 2003
Loro Boriçi Stadium
Attendance: 11,000
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Steve Lovell (42)
Nacho Novo (49)

Team Managers
Derviš Hadžiosmanovic Jim Duffy

Starting Eleven
1. Armir Grimaj
8. Amarildo Belisha
2. Luan Zmijani
16. Armando Cungu
22. Bledar Devolli
7. Klodian Asllani
19. Sokol Ishka
20. Bledar Mancaku
9. Vioresin Sinani
4. Admir Teli
6. Hamdi Salihi
Julian Speroni .1
Lee Wilkie .6
Jonay Hernández .16
Barry Smith .2
Lee Mair .19
David Mackay .3
Garry Brady .26
Gavin Rae .8
Giorgi Nemsadze .10
Nacho Novo .17
Steve Lovell .25

12. Arion Mustafa
5. Safet Osja
15. Erion Kraja
13. Rinor Bishja
21. Senad Mashi
3. Edmir Luka
10. Edi Martini
Jamie Langfield .12
Tom Hutchinson .4
Brent Sancho .18
Beto Carranza .7
Colin Boylan .20
Neil Jablonski .24
Juan Sara .9

Edmir Luka for Klodian Asllani (52)
Arion Mustafa for Armir Grimaj (58)
Edi Martini for Armando Cungu (69)
Juan Sara for Steve Lovell (82)
Beto Carranza for Nacho Novo (89)
Brent Sancho for Giorgi Nemsadze (90)

Sokol Ishka (63) Steve Lovell (63)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Jaroslav Jara (Referee)

Match Report

Steve Lovell and Nacho Novo scored the goals as Dundee won the first leg of their UEFA Cup qualifying round against KS Vllaznia to bring the Dark Blues their first win in the competition since they beat AC Milan 2-0 at Dens in 1971.

On that occasion the result wasn't enough to ensure progression in the competition with Dundee having lost the first leg in the San Siro 3-0, but there should be no doubt about Jim Duffy's team heading for the first round draw after an excellent display in Shkoder.

Wearing their new European strip of dark blue shirts and light blue shorts, this was Dundee at their best so far under Duffy. Indeed perhaps as good a display as any seen since the early seventies, it was a totally professional performance from the Dens men which had the hundred or so travelling support in ecstasy.

It's been warm in Scotland recently, but the heat in the Loro Borici Stadium was something else, and Dundee's new found high level of fitness showed itself again after they had bossed Motherwell at the weekend.

From the start they were in about Vllaznia who appeared to spend the early part of the match in cautious mode as they sized up the Dees. They soon found out that Dundee were classy opponents but they never managed to get the measure of Barry Smith and his team mates as a corner count of double figures for Dundee as opposed to two for Vllaznia amply illustrated.

Although the first chance on goal fell to KS Vllaznia, Bledar Mansaku's long-range shot saved without fuss by Julian Speroni, Dundee thereafter took control, and spent the rest of the first half contriving to miss chances, thanks to a combination of some defiant defending by the home side and no measure of good fortune.

Lovell might easily have struck with 26 minutes gone when he rose unchallenged to meet a Jonay Hernandez cross only to see his header clear the bar with ease.

Then Nacho Novo should have capitalised on Bledar Devolli's failure to cut out a Garry Brady pass which left the Spaniard with only keeper Armir Grimaj to beat. Unfortunately, Novo shot straight at Grimaj and Lovell dragged his attempt to net from the rebound across goal and wide of the far post.

Next, it was Jonay Hernandez to have a go. Indeed, he had two bites at the cherry after Armir Grimaj, under pressure from Lovell, spilled a Brady cross.

Hernandez's initial effort and then a second from the rebound, however, were blocked by the keeper.

It has to be said that Dundee looked more like the home side than their hosts, but the Albanians finally sparked into attacking life with a sudden flurry of activity around Speroni's goal.

First, Mansaku's header which was destined for the top corner was superbly tipped over by Speroni, while the keeper was simply grateful to watch Sokol Ishaka's effort from the resultant corner clear his bar. Thereafter, he was virtually restricted to the role of spectator, but at least there were two goals for him to savour - at the other end.

Heeding that warning, the Dark Blues raced upfield where Lovell, released by a fantastic Georgi Nemsadze through ball, slotted low past Grimaj with two minutes of the half remaining.

And three minutes after the re-start, the tie was effectively over as Gavin Rae pounced on to the loose ball after seeing his shot blocked and fed Brady whose low cross was turned in by Nacho Novo.

That may have ended the scoring, but not all the incident. It could have been three when substitute keeper Arjon Mustafa - on for the injured Grimaj - and defender Hamdi Salihi got their wires crossed and Salihi had to poke the ball out for a corner to stop Lovell from cashing in.

Late on Novo should have made it three after turning Teli inside the area, but Mustafa denied him with his feet.

There was a scare late on as Vllaznia tried to recover a degree of pride and Speroni spilled a Mansaku shot.

To his relief the ball came back to him off the base of his right-hand upright leaving him to remember the match only for the best of reasons.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at August 14th, 2003)

2003-04 All Time
Julian Speroni (GK)24 2 - 69 -
Lee Mair22 2 - 361
Barry Smith29 213123
Jonay Hernández24 2 - 391
Lee Wilkie23 21924
David Mackay22 2 - 632
Gavin Rae25 2122924
Garry Brady26 2 - 351
Giorgi Nemsadze31 2 - 855
Steve Lovell22 213716
Nacho Novo24 214510
Brent Sancho (sub)26 1 - 1 -
Beto Carranza (sub)31 2 - 644
Juan Sara (sub)26 1 - 9234

League Table (as at August 14th, 2003)

No league table has been added for this season.