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Champions League

Red Star Belgrade end 26-year Champions League hiatus

The Serbian club, who won the 1990-91 European Cup, made their return to the continent's elite competition on Tuesday after more than quarter of a century.

Adam Ounas (R) of SSC Napoli vies with Red Star's Veljko Simic.
Srdjan StevanovicGetty Images

Vladan Milojevic revelled in Red Star Belgrade's goalless draw at home to Napoli after the Serbian giants made their return to the Champions League.

Red Star's 26-year wait for Champions League football ended on Tuesday as almost 50,000 fans packed into Rajko Mitic Stadium to watch the Group C stalemate in Belgrade.

Napoli were overwhelming favourites to leave the Serbian capital with maximum points but last season's Serie A runners-up were frustrated by the hosts – winners of the 1991 European Cup.

Speaking afterwards, Red Star head coach Milojevic said via "Today we saw a great football show. After all these years, playing the UCL and having an opponent as Napoli was fantastic.

"Everyone, as well as myself, lives for moment like these. Let's not forget that the last time we played in the Champions League was 26 years ago.

"Crvena Zvezda had a plan, and I think that we realised most of it. We tried to break through with fast attacks, but then calmed down in order to gain back the control.

"Our problem is that we lack players with experience, as we have only two players who have ever played in the Champions League. We had a very hard match and we still have two very challenging matches coming up."

Red Star midfielder Dusan Jovancic added: "We had a great performance. We knew that Napoli were a very strong opponent and we left them the initiative, preferring to sit deep, defend and counter-attack.

"Perhaps we could've been a little more daring, but this is fine. When we saw the draw with Napoli, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, we didn't expect to get a single point, so we must thank our fans for their support tonight. They were fantastic."


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