Berlin (Germany), August 27: Union Berlin were held by Finnish outfit Koupion Palloseura to a goalless draw on Thursday but four away-goals from the "Eisernen" were enough to progress into the group stage of the Europa Conference.
In the second leg of the qualifictaion at Berlin's Olympia stadium, hosts Union took the reins from the starting whistle as Taiwo Awoniyi kept KuPS defence busy in the opening stages after pulling wide from the edge of the box before testing goalkeeper Johannes Kreidl with a dangerous header in the 8th minute.
Kreidl remained busy as Union's Robin Knoche unleashed another promising header on target following a free kick with 14 minutes played, while Marvin Friedrich's hammer went just wide moments later.
Union continued active but as the match progressed KuPS was able keep the hosts at bay. Hence, the hosts had to wait until the closing stages, but Awoniyi couldn't break the deadlock with only Kreidl to beat.
The half time disrupted Union's flow as the hosts needed some time to gain a foothold into the second half whereas Koupion eventually created its first chance of the match after Union goalkeeper Andreas Luthe had to stretch, defusing Urho Nissila's long-range attempt with 70 minutes gone.
Koupion's opportunity was a wake-up call for the hosts, who should have opened the deadlock, but Cedric Teuchert's attempted lob wasn't good enough to beat Kreidl.
The visitors from Finland gained momentum in the closing stages and almost punished wasteful Union but Luthe was on guard to neutralize Santeri Haarala's shot from tight angle and Taneli Hamalainen's volley.
Union's progression into the group stage was never in doubt though as the "Eisernen" had already reaped a 4-0 victory in the first leg.
"We should have played out one or the other promising chances but reaching the group stage is a big thing for us. I would have liked to pick up a win here but at the end of the day we are through," Union Berlin head coach Urs Fischer said.
Source: Xinhua