Rosenborg BK took control of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie with FC Astana as they won the first leg 3-1 in Kazakhstan.
The home side were depleted with Bulgarian midfielder Dian Todorov suspended and defender Maksim Zhalmagambetov on trial at ŠK Slovan Bratislava. And they suffered the worst possible start when Burkina Faso striker Yssouf Koné headed in a sixth-minute cross from the left for Norway's Rosenborg, back in this competition after missing out for the first time in 12 seasons last year.
Alexandr Irkhin's side were nearly further behind five minutes later, when Steffen Iversen fired a free-kick straight at Astana goalkeeper Sergei Boichenko. Shortly after that Iversen turned provider for Didier Ya Konan to shoot just past the target. Astana slowly came back into the game, however, and after Eduard Sergienko failed to make the most of a one-on-one opportunity, they equalised when captain Aleksandr Kuchma struck a sweet free-kick in off the underside of the crossbar.
After the break Rosenborg again took control with Koné the inspiration. It was his burst into the penalty area on 63 minutes which forced Boichenko to bring him down and Iversen converted the spot-kick. Koné swiftly made it 3-1 with a shot that crept in at the near post from the most acute of angles. Murat Suyumagambetov, Kenzhisariev and Alexandr Suchkov all went close for Astana but they now have a mountain to climb next Wednesday in Trondheim.
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