Selver Hodzic secured FC Thun's first victory in the UEFA Champions League group stage with a last-minute goal that ended spirited AC Sparta Praha's hopes of taking a point from their trip to Berne.
Just as the Czech champions looked to have earned a draw with a disciplined display, the Thun defender crept in at the far post to turn José Gonçalves's low left-wing cross into the bottom corner and claim a narrow win which moved the Swiss debutants into second place in Group B.
Both sides started the game without their usual captains. An achilles problem kept Thun's Andreas Gerber on the bench, while Karel Poborský left Sparta on loan for second division SK Dynamo Ceské Budéjovice last week after falling out with coach Jaroslav Hrebík. Leandro Vieira stepped in for Gerber and Armand Deumi replaced the concussed Tiago Bernardi in Thun's midfield, while Hrebík brought in Adam Petrouš and Martin Hašek.
Thun on top
After both dropped points to late goals on Matchday 1 - Thun losing 2-1 at Arsenal FC and a last-gasp strike giving AFC Ajax a 1-1 draw in Prague - the teams were keen to get into their stride from the kick-off. In the event, it was the hosts who carved out the best early openings with the lively Leandro setting up Mauro Lustrinelli on the edge of the box ten minutes in, but his shot failed to trouble Jaromír Blažek. Another Leandro cross from the left cannoned off Petrouš and was met by Silvan Aegerter, yet the Sparta goalkeeper somehow blocked with his feet.
Petráš to the rescue
Thun's stand-in skipper Aegerter was again in the thick of things, superbly flicking a long ball into the path of Lustrinelli. Blažek rushed from his goal to deny the striker, but the ball rebounded to Nelson Ferreira whose goalbound effort was kept out by Martín Petráš with the goalkeeper stranded.
Sparta fight back
Sparta battled resolutely yet struggled to force their way through a crowded midfield, although Tomáš Sivok headed just wide on 18 minutes before Tomáš Poláček saw his well-struck volley blocked by Ljubo Milicevic. Sparta's best chance of the half was a direct result of a Thun error, however, goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic failing to clear and creating mayhem in the home defence, but the unmarked Lukáš Zelenka could only curl his 18-metre shot wide of the far post.
Thun brought on Gerber for Alen Orman in an unfamiliar right-back position at half-time, and the change caused some jitters. Six minutes after the restart, Sparta's Sivok climbed between two defenders to connect with Zelenka's corner, but Jakupovic got down well to his right to save. The ball fell perfectly for Zdeněk Pospěch, yet the Sparta defender somehow prodded wide from close range.
Space opening up
Thun responded a minute later as Ferreira whipped in a low delivery from the right that evaded the lunging Lustrinelli's outstretched boot by millimetres. With the game opening up, Sivok again came close just past the hour, lifting Poláček's centre over the bar from six metres.
Gaps were becoming apparent in either defence and Ferreira twice found himself in space down the right, but the winger could not pick out a team-mate with his crosses. Just as it looked as though the match would end goalless, however, Hodzic popped up at the far post to steal the points and send the vociferous crowd home happy.