Bosnian U19 champions Zeljeznicar lost 1-3 to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Youth League play-offs on Wednesday.
Omer Joldic’s men put on a brave display against one of the Europe’s top sides, and even took the lead when Eldar Sehic scored in the ninth minute of the game after Denis Zeric and Ajdin Mujagic played a neat one-two deep in the opponent’s half.
But two defensive blunders proved too costly for Zeljeznicar, as Atletico came from behind with Borja Garces Moreno’s two quick goals in a span of only five minutes.
Both teams missed a number of clear goal-scoring opportunities before substitute Juan Aguero doubled the visitors’ lead with a brilliant strike in the 68th minute of the game.
Los Colchoneros were clearly the fresher team down the stretch, as Zeljeznicar was unable to do anything to revive the hopes of the rain-soaked crowd of 7,500 local supporters.
Manolo Cano’s team joined seven other play-off winners - reigning champions Salzburg, as well as Feyenoord, Internazionale Milano, Manchester United, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid - in the UEFA Youth League Round of 16.
Those eight teams will be drawn against the UEFA Champions League path group stage winners (Barcelona, Basel, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Porto and Tottenham Hotspur), again in one-off matches, with a secondary draw to determine which team will play at home. No team can play a side they met in the group stage of the competition, but there is no country protection.
The round of 16 draw will take place at 1300 hrs CET on Friday, February 9.