FK Crvena Zvezda scored twice late in the game to register a comfortable 3-0 win over ten-man Floriana at the Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.
The dismissal of Enzo Ruiz and a penalty converted by Richmond Boakye just before half-time was the turning point of the game as Floriana were controlling their opponents. However the penalty paved the way for Red Star before they added two goals late in the game.
The Greens had new signings James Baldacchino and Arthur Henrique making their debut.
Floriana were unlucky not to take the lead on the 9th minute but Ignacio Varela’s effort hit the woodwork.
However just before the end of the first half – four minutes in added time, Enzo Ruiz brought Nemanja Milic down inside the area. Referee Matthias Gestranius ordered a penalty and sent off the Floriana defender with Richmond Boakye converting from the penalty spot to put Red Star ahead.
Slavoljub Srnic doubled the score twelve minutes from time after that Haber had blocked a corner from the right by Milijas.
Srnic went close to adding another five minutes from time but his attempt hit the posts.
However four minutes later, Richmond Boakye added another for Red Star, hitting home from close range following a corner from the right by Milijas.
The second leg will be played at the Hibernians Stadium on Thursday 6th July.
CRVENA ZVEZDA Filip Manoljlovic, Damien Le Tallec, Abraham Frimpong, Richmond Boakye (90+1’ Milan Pavkov), Nemanja Milic (68’ Nenad Milijas), Mitchell Donald, Filip Stojkovic, Dusan Andjelkovic, Slavoljub Srnic, Ricardinho (82’ Adzic), Vujadin Savic.
FLORIANA Justin Haber, James Baldacchino, Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Ignacio Varela (66’ Juninho Cabral), Sebastian Nayar, Maurizio Vella, Arthur Henrique, Nicolas Chiesa (46’ Noel Nyason), Mario Fontanella (61’ Clyde Borg).
Referee: Matthias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referees: Jan-Peter Aravirta, Mirko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Karol Oskari Hamalainen (FIN)