After the first leg of their Champions League first-round qualification match between CFR Cluj and FC Pyunik ended goalless, the teams meet again for the second leg.
The victor of this match will proceed to the second round, where they will take on either F91 Dudelange or Tirana.
Cluj learned the hard way against Pyunik that European pedigree doesn’t matter over the course of 90 minutes, as we have seen in a number of first-round qualifying games this season.
Dan Petrescu’s team frequently competes in the group stages of many continental competitions, but after a stalemate in Armenia last week, the Romanian champions were unable to secure a first-leg lead.
The 114-year-old Cluj will try to avoid a first-round qualifying elimination when they return to their familiar surroundings at the Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu. Cluj has advanced to the Champions League group stages three times, most recently in the 2012–13 season.
Many teams competing in first-round qualifying haven’t had to worry about a domestic match falling in the middle of their two-legged match, but Cluj were competing in the Romanian Super Cup at the weekend and lost 2-1 to Sepsi OSK Sf. Gheorghe, which hasn’t helped the team’s morale under Petrescu.
Pyunik, the defending champions of Armenia’s premier division, has been given the luxury of a full week of leisure before traveling to Romania, where they hope to advance to the second round of Champions League qualifying for the fifth consecutive time.
Pyunik extended their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 18 games thanks to Eghishe Melikyan’s defensive strategy in the first leg, and they haven’t been eliminated in the first round of qualification since 2008-09.
Pyunik has already appeared in the second round of Champions League qualifying seven times, but they haven’t advanced on any of those occasions. By passing the second hurdle, Pyunik would match their best-ever finish in Europe.
While Pyunik can be confident in the fact that they haven’t failed to score on the road in a competition since May 2021, they have only ever won three games on the road in Champions League qualifying, and if they want to continue their continental progress, they cannot afford to sit back and hold onto what they currently have.
Although the visitors have recently had a strong streak on the road, it is tough to predict where the goals may come from inside their ranks ..
After Petrescu rotated for the weekend’s unsuccessful Super Cup endeavors, Cluj will have a number of its senior players well-rested, and the Romanian champions anticipate succeeding with the support of their home audience.