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By Ladislav Josef
FC Baník Ostrava went some way to making up for their first-leg humbling by recording a 2-1 victory against visiting Bayer 04 Leverkusen - but it was not enough to stop the German side progressing to the UEFA Champions League 6-2 on aggregate.
The home side's coach Frantisek Komnacký changed his usual starting lineup in five places as he rested his most experienced players for the domestic campaign - and it made a huge difference. Captain Radoslav Látal was just one usual starter who watched a thrilling game from the stands.
Komnacký's opposite number, Klaus Augenthaler, sent out a full-strength side despite the forthcoming Bundesliga game against FC Bayern München. Only Jens Nowotny stayed home through injury.
However, the home side caused havoc in the vistors' defence on several occasions and they were rewarded in 38th minute. Mario Licka escaped the attentions of the Bayer defenders, rounded advancing goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt and pulled the ball back to Michal Papadoulos. The striker could not miss.
Leverkusen, still with a four-goal advantage, sat back and defender Carsten Ramelow had to clear Zdenek Pospech's effort on the hour. The German side then gave a lesson in efficiency when Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov levelled the scores 14 minutes from time.
Nevertheless Baník pushed for victory and two substitutes conjured up the home side's second goal six minutes later. Martin Cízek delivered the accurate cross, Libor Zurek smartly chested the ball down and his hard shot bounced off the bar into the net.
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