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Grazer AK confirmed their place in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round with a 2-1 win against KF Tirana which secured a 7-2 aggregate victory.
Leading 5-1 from the first leg in Albania last week, the Austrian side kicked off knowing that a place in the next round and a tie against AFC Ajax was all but secure. GAK were therefore content to play within themselves in front of their own supporters, and concentrated on ensuring an aggregate success with as little fuss as possible.
GAK further extended their overall advantage within 14 minutes, as a corner led to a goalmouth scramble inside the Tirana penalty area before the ball broke for midfield player Gernot Sick to sweep it into the net from five metres.
GAK on top
The goal visibly deflated the visitors, and GAK were able to play the game at their own pace. The home side controlled the match without ever really threatening to add to their one-goal lead on the night, but as Tirana pressed forward in the second period more space opened up for GAK to break. It was from such a counterattack that the second goal was scored 16 minutes from time, as a left-wing cross was met by Roland Kollmann who turned it in from near the penalty spot.
To their credit, Tirana continued to push forward with only pride left to play for, and deservedly pulled a goal back a minute into added time at the end of the game, as Ansi Agolli, who had earlier seen a shot fly narrowly wide, reduced the deficit with a well-placed effort into the far corner of the net from the left-hand side of the GAK penalty area.
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