APOEL FC won through to the UEFA Champions League play-offs thanks to a two-goal away victory against ten-man ŠK Slovan Bratislava.
With the tie goalless after the first leg, Karel Jarolím's side were hoping to make home advantage count at the Štadión Pasienky but the match turned in three second-half minutes as Aílton gave the visitors the lead after 58 minutes and Erik Grendel was then dismissed on the hour. A goal and a man down, Slovan could find no way back into the tie and had their fate sealed by Gustavo Manduca's added-time effort.
Neither side were able to fashion any meaningful opportunities in an uneventful opening period. The game sprung into life after the break, though, with both visibly spurred on by their respective half-time team talks. With the hour approaching, the hosts fell behind to Aílton's fine finish and things went from bad to worse when Grendel received his second yellow card for a foul on Portuguese midfielder Nuno Morais.
The Slovakian champions piled men forward in search of an equaliser and came close to getting it when Karim Guédé unleashed a fiercely struck effort from 25 metres but Dionisios Chiotis was on hand to preserve the visitors' lead. Martin Dobrotka then headed wide from Igor Žofčák's resulting corner in what would prove to be Slovan's last foray into their opponents' penalty area.
Substitute Esteban Solari struck a post for APOEL two minutes from the end and the Cypriot champions confirmed their place in Friday's draw when Manduca tapped in the rebound after another Solari effort came back off a post.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.