A goal early in the second half and another deep in stoppage time enabled CFR Cluj to beat Floriana 2-0 in a match from the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League at the Centenary Stadium on Wednesday to secure a second qualifying round tie with Dinamo Zagreb.
Floriana, on the other hand, will proceed to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League which is scheduled for September 17 and the draws for which will be held on August 31.
During the first half, the visitors held the initiative but the Greens controlled their opponents well and it was only in added time that Mario Rondon managed to test Akpan with a fine header from the edge of the area which was neutralised by the Floriana goalkeeper.
However eight minutes in the second half, Cluj managed to break the deadlock when off a corner from the left by Michael Pereira, Mike Cestor headed the ball home past Akpan.
The Greens went close three minutes later with an assist by Fonseca for Leone but the latter’s attempt was deflected into a corner by a defender. Ovidiu Hoban had a shot from outside the area parried by the Floriana goalkeeper on 57 minutes.
On 78 minutes, Floriana threatened once again with an attempt by Nicola Leone from a close angle from the left but the Romanian goalkeeper cleared the ball into safety.
Deep in stoppage time, substitute Brandon Paiber had the opportunity to level matters but his direct freekick ended just over the bar.
However on the 96th minute, Cluj sealed the issue when off a cross by Rondon, substitute Catalin Golofca headed home to double the score.
FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Enzo Ruiz, Diego Venancio, Nicola Leone, Kristian Keqi, Jurgen Pisani (82’ Brandon Paiber), Matias Nicolas Garcia, Alex Cini (69’ Muhamadou Moustapha Beye) Flavio Silva Cheveresan (67’ Marcelo Dias), Ryan Camenzuli, Tiago Adan Fonseca.
CLUJ Cristian Balgradean, Andrei Burca, Ciprian Deac, Michael Pereira (83’ Mateo Susic), Alexandru Chipciu (90’ Catalin Golofca), Ovidiu Hoban, Camora, Paulo Vinicius, Mike Cestor, Catalin Itu (67’ Luis Aurelio), Mario Rondon.
Referee: Laurent Kopriwa (LUX)