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FC Torpedo Kutaisi 1-2 AC Sparta Praha (Sparta win 5-1 on aggregate)
AC Sparta Praha will meet KRC Genk in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League after comfortably despatching FC Torpedo Kutaisi.
Sparta made light of leaving first-leg goal hero Miroslav Baranek on the bench when youngster Tomáš Jun forced Grigol Tchanturia into early action in the Torpedo goal. However, the hosts created chances of their own, notably through Zurab Ionanidze, who somehow managed to head the ball wide from close range on 23 minutes.
Ionanidze, though, made no such mistake ten minutes later when he edged Torpedo into the lead after Malkhaz Asatiani, Kakha Kvetenadze and Andriy Poroshin had combined in a scintillating build-up. With a 3-0 cushion from the first-leg, Sparta were unfazed and ensured they could remain so by equalising on 41 minutes. Midfielder Lukáš Zelenka beat Torpedo sweeper Revaz Kemoklidze and slammed in a shot from an acute angle.
Sparta should have taken the lead on 50 minutes, but Jirí Jarošik wasted a fine cross from Karel Poborsky when he headed wide. But the only genuine chance from the hosts came courtesy of the lively Ionanidze, who forced a fine reflex save from Michal Spit on 54 minutes.
After a period of sustained pressure, Sparta finally went ahead when a rebound from a Jirí Novotny header was tucked away by Tomáš Jun. The Czechs were poised for a rout but Zelenka, Rastislav Michalík and Peter Babnic all spurned chances.
'This is not it'
Sparta coach Jozef Jarabinský was in philosophical mood after the final whistle, but knows his side still have a way to go yet. "This is not it," he said. "Now we have to beat Genk and get to the Champions League proper. But I am happy about the way we played, as we have fulfilled our task."
'A lot to learn'
Torpedo coach Olexander Shtelin was clearly disappointed by the defeat but remained pragmatic in the aftermath of the match. "We still have a lot to learn," he reflected, having seen his team comprehensively beaten over two legs.
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