SK Slavia Praha held their nerve to squeeze into the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round following a tense 4-3 penalty shoot-out win against MŠK Žilina after 210 minutes without a goal.
Having ground out a goalless draw away from home in the first leg, Slavia were expected by many to ease to victory at the Evzena Rošického Stadium yet they came up against a Žilina goalkeeper in sublime form. Chance after chance went begging as Dušan Kuciak kept them at bay and he then denied Ladislav Volešák in the shoot-out. Marek Suchý also missed, but Zdeno Štrba and Peter Štyvar failed from the spot for Žilina before Czech defender Benjamin Vomáčka fired over in sudden death as Slavia triumphed.
It was perhaps a deserved success for the hosts who dominated proceedings in Prague. Matej Krajčík shot wide when well placed early on, while Stanislav Vlček was at the heart of much of Slavia's attacking play. He volleyed straight at Kuciak before half-time and the keeper frustrated him again after the restart with Vlček through on a one-on-one. Zdeněk Šenkeřík headed over while substitute Ladislav Volešák squandered further opportunities. However, they were not made to pay as Žilina faltered amid the drama of penalties. Slavia will now play AFC Ajax, although the influential Vladimír Šmicer will be suspended for the first leg.
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