Wed, 02 Dec 2020

BERLIN, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Hoffenheim kicked off with a winning start after Christopher Baumgartner and Munas Dabbur scored late to beat Crvena Zvezda 2-0 in Europa League's Group L on Thursday.

Both sides started offensive-minded into the clash as Hoffenheim's Sebastian Rudy and Crvena's Srdan Spiridonovi created promising chances at both ends of the green.

Goalscoring opportunities remained at a premium until the closing period of the first half when Hoffenheim reaped and squandered its best chance of the first 45 minutes through Dabbur, who rattled only the post from a sharp angle.

After the restart, Dabbur started where he left off as he forced goalkeeper Milan Borjan to a diving safe following his long-range strike in the 51st minute.

The hosts got rewarded for their efforts at the hour mark after Rudy's cross into the box allowed Baumgartner to drill the ball with a volley into the roof of the net.

The opener was a wake-up call for the visitors from Belgrade as Sekou Sanogo headed twice just wide of the target in the 73rd minute.

Crvena threw every man up front, but Hoffenheim's defense stood firm and kept the visitors on a safe distance.

Hoffenheim put the result beyond doubt in the injury time when a turnover by Diadie Samassekou made room for Dabbur, who made no mistake to beat Borjan from close range for the 2-0 final score.

The winning start lift Hoffenheim to the top spot of Group L, followed by FC Slovan Liberec, KAA Gent and FK Crvena Zvezda.

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