FC Spartak Moskva came from behind to beat MŠK Žilina 2-1 in UEFA Champions League Group F thanks to goals from Brazilian midfield pair Alex and Ibson.
Tomáš Majtán gave the home side a surprise lead early in the second half but Alex's equaliser for Spartak arrived within six minutes. The midfield playmaker then turned provider in the 61st minute when he crossed for Ibson to score the winner.
Following a 20-minute halt in proceedings after fireworks were thrown onto the pitch, Spartak had the best of the first half. Nonetheless, they squandered a series of chances with Alex the main culprit, particularly when he fired an Aiden McGeady cross wide from close range on the half-hour mark. After conceding four first-half goals apiece in their home ties against Chelsea FC and Olympique de Marseille, Žilina must have been pleased to reach the interval on level terms.
Spartak's first-half wastefulness was punished after 48 minutes when Majtán climbed unopposed in the area to head a Tomáš Oravec free-kick past Andriy Dykan. The home fans' ecstasy was short-lived, however, when Ibson sent Alex clear with the outside of the boot in the 54th minute to rifle a left-footed drive past Martin Dúbravka.
Pavel Hapal's men found themselves behind soon after when Alex was released on the left of the box and his whipped pass across the goalmouth was touched in by Ibson. The Brazilian's night was soured soon after his goal, though, when he was dismissed in the 77th minute for a foul on substitute Emil Rilke.
Žilina battled until the end and although Momodou Ceesay went close with a header in the 80th minute the equaliser did not arrive, leaving the Slovakian titleholders without a point in their debut group stage campaign. Spartak go into the round of 32 draw for the UEFA Europa League.
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