Ten-man Wisla Kraków won through to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League but were made to work all the way by Cypriot side Omonia AC despite their three-goal deficit going into the second leg.
The Polish champions were not daunted by the humid conditions and on six minutes increased their grip on the tie when Maciej Zurawski collected a loose ball and went on a solo run before stylishly chipping in the opener.
Home side have hope
Omonia's response was quick, and within ten minutes German midfield player Marco Haber fed Rainer Rauffmann, whose clever lob beat visiting custodian Adam Piekutowski. Things became even trickier for Wisla on 25 minutes when defender Maciej Stolarczyk was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Chances for Omonia
Omonia spent the rest of the half on the attack but neither Jozef Kozlej or substitute Efstathios Aloneftis were able to convert their chances. At the other end Wisla looked dangerous on the counterattack, Cristino Pereira De Souza in particular worrying the home side.
The islanders began the second half well, and took the lead on the night six minutes in. Elias Charalambous was the scorer with a spectacular curling free-kick into the top right-hand corner. Omonia sensed an unlikely comeback in the tie, but could not make it 3-1.
Wisla then virtually ensured their passage from a rare attack, as in the 62nd minute Zurawski scored his second of the night with a low shot. That goal seemed to deflate Omonia, though urged on by 12,098 fans they kept pushing until the end.
"I am very happy with my team's performances in the first and second games," said Wisla coach Henryk Kasperczak. Asked if he feared a comeback when Omonia were 2-1 up and on the attack, Kasperczak said: "The only thing I fear in this life is my wife." His team now meet RSC Anderlecht.
Omonia coach Toni Sayeyski added: "The game was more or less finished after the first game in Poland. These kind of games should be looked at as gaining experience for the Cypriot sides.”