AC Sparta Praha kept alive their hopes of another long UEFA Champions League run after seeing off second qualifying round opponents APOEL FC 4-3 on aggregate.
The Cypriot champions were no pushovers for Sparta, who had already had to come back from 2-0 behind to draw the first leg in Nicosia. Tonight the Czech side opened the scoring after 31 minutes when Karel Poborský's effort found its way into the net via APOEL defender Marinos Satsias.
Although Konstantinos Charalampides equalised seven minutes into the second half it only took Sparta three minutes to respond with what proved the winner from Milan Pacanda on his home competitive debut.
Pacanda, indeed, only joined Sparta last month for a €650,000 fee from 1. FC Brno. But he had pulled a goal back for Sparta eight minutes from time last week when all seemed bleak in his first competitive appearance for the club, and today he took his Frantiek Straka's side through to within one tie of the group stage.
Sparta now meet Hungarian side Ferencvárosi TC, who overcame KF Tirana on away goals, as they seek to emulate their 2003/04 performance, where they reached the first knockout round only to lose to holders AC Milan.