Park Joo-ho’s late goal snatched a valuable victory for Borussia Dortmund as they ran out 2-1 winners over Krasnodar in the Europa League.
The result extended Dortmund’s winning start to the season and brought Krasnodar’s run of three games unbeaten away from home in European competition to an end.
Thomas Tuchel’s side could not continue the free-scoring form that saw them cruise through the Europa League qualifiers, as Krasnodar proved to be fearless opponents at Signal Iduna Park.
Krasnodar were ahead within 12 first-half minutes, when Pavel Mamayev managed to find himself unmarked at close range to open the scoring.
But Matthias Ginter’s first-half equaliser dragged Dortmund back into the game, and Park’s late header clinched all three Group C points for the home side.
Krasnodar’s first attack of the game saw Fyodor Smolov break down the left flank, where his trickery took him past Ginter and he crossed to the near post for Mamayev to arrive unmarked and score with the easiest of finishes.
The Russian side did not allow Dortmund to settle and Gonzalo Castro squandered a great chance to level matters when Ginter’s pass across the edge of the box found him with space and time to pick his spot, but he fired harmlessly wide.
Mats Hummels made a brilliant last-ditch challenge to deny Smolov a one-on-one with goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, before Dortmund broke again and Henrikh Mkhitaryan nipped into the box where his close-range shot was smothered by Andriy Dykan.
Dortmund pushed for an equaliser before the break and a deep Adnan Januzaj corner found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the far post and he forced a good save from Dykan, before the ever-lively on-loan Manchester United winger flashed a shot across the face of goal with no player on hand to take it over the line.
But in stoppage time in the first half, Dortmund’s determined fightback paid off when Marcel Schmelzer created space for Park to cross and Ginter rose above everyone to crash home a header at the far post.
Dortmund burst out of the blocks in the second half and Januzaj hit a shot that took a deflection and looped into the box, where Mkhitaryan headed just wide.
Januzaj again fed Mkhitaryan 10 minutes later, splitting the Krasnodar defence with a throughball into the box, but the Armenian overhit his curling shot and put it wide of the far post.
Despite bossing the second half in terms of possession, Dortmund lacked conviction in the final third, but Krasnodar threatened to take the lead when a passing move inside the home side’s box allowed Smolov to poke a shot just wide.
Dortmund’s cutting edge finally started to show when substitute Shinji Kagawa played in Januzaj, whose turn and shot inside the box forced Dykan into a superb two-handed save at full stretch.
Just as it looked as though Dortmund had run out of time, Ginter fired a low cross to the back post, where Park stooped low to head the ball high into the net, to the delight of the home crowd.