Marijo Mandzukic’s second-half goal gave Dinamo Zagreb the edge at the midway stage of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against FC Salzburg as the Croatian champions battled back from a goal down to earn a draw in Austria.
Alexander Zickler, a surprise starter in place of leading scorer Marc Janko, opened the scoring for the home side on the brink of half-time, but the 15,800 Salzburg fans in attendance would have gone home concerned for their side’s chances after Mandzukic, who was later sent off, hit back with a vital away goal 15 minutes later.
Dinamo seized the initiative from the outset and caused Salzburg some early problems and it took the hosts ten minutes to create their first chance, Admir Vladavic testing goalkeeper Tomislav Butina from 20 metres.
The breakthrough did not come until injury time at the end of the half when Zickler took his chance alone in front of Butina.
Dinamo were not behind for long, though. They stepped up the pressure on the Salzburg goal after the break and were rewarded on 63 minutes when Mandzukic pounced on a mistake from Franz Schiemer to equalize, chipping neatly over goalkeeper Eddie Gustafsson.
The Croatian champions seemed content to settle for the draw and sat back thereafter, successfully thwarting Salzburg’s increasingly desperate attempts to regain the advantage.
Their otherwise successful evening was tarnished deep into injury time, however, when Mandzukic was dismissed, ensuring his absence for the return leg.