The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Now Scotland's only club still in European competition and two goals up after the 1st leg at Tannadice, confidence was high in the United camp that they would be able to replicate their performance in the first match and become the first Scottish Club to reach the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Cup. In the build up to the game, it was announced that player-coach Walter Smith had been appointed assistant manager on a long-term contract. Eamonn Bannon was brought back in to take advantage of the wide playing surface, with Ian Gibson dropping to the bench, and Iain Phillip replaced Ralph Milne. After some expected early Slav pressure, Paul Hegarty came close in the ninth minute when his chipped effort from a Bannon free-kick went slid past the post. The match then became slightly farcical, when Bulgarian referee Bogdan Dotchev, who lives in Sofia just 50 miles away, began to give a series of inexplicable free-kicks from which Hamish McAlpine had to dive bravely to avert a goal. Then in an off the ball incident Paul Sturrock was punched by Stojan Gavrilovic, with McLean protesting from the touchline when neither the referee or linesman saw anything untoward. Moments later Sturrock himself was booked after Milos Drizic went down dramatically. On the half hour mark Slavoljub Nikolic was put clean through but his effort hit the top of the crossbar, and that was about the only real threat to United's 1st leg lead.United again had an early chance to score as the second half began, with Billy Kirkwood sending Paul Sturrock through, but the strikers left foot shot was wide. Four minutes later and Radnicki pulled a goal back when Aleksandar Panajotovic, who had come off the bench during the interval, pounced on a rebounded effort when McAlpine saved a Sanid Beganovic shot. Both sides then had appeals for a penalty, when Davie Dodds was upended in the box, and then Narey appeared to handle in the opposite penalty area. Dodds was then pushed off the ball when in an excellent scoring position, but yet again the referee wasn't interested. Disaster struck in the 73rd minute, when Gavrilovic pushed the ball into the middle, where Aleksandar Panajotovic from a decidedly offside position, shot into the net for the aggregate leveller. Amid the hostile atmosphere, where the United dug-out was pelted with bolts and coins, the home side were awarded a controversial penalty with six minutes to play. McAlpine punched the ball out when Nikolic went down, and the Bulgarian referee immediately pointed to the spot. After United's protests were waved away Branislav Djordevic converted the spot-kick to send the Serbians through to the semi-finals.