SK Slavia Praha finished with ten men but were still able to come away from MŠK Žilina with a goalless draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie.
Nearly 10,000 fans were present to see the meeting of the 2006/07 Slovakian champions and Czech runners-up, and the home side provided excitement with an attacking display from a revamped team that had put seven goals past Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange in the opening round. But Slavia, playing their first competitive match of the season, held on despite a late red card for Ante Aračić after his second booking on a day when Vladimír Šmicer made his comeback appearance and both sides were led by Czech coaches - Pavel Vrba for Žilina and Karel Jarolím for the visitors.
Žilina forwards Andrej Porázik and Peter Štyvar pushed hard from the start, but Slavia restricted them to only half-chances. The home side introduced new signing Ivan Lietava for Štyvar in the 58th minute, but he was unable to make an impact. Just past the hour Slavia legend Šmicer, who left the club for RC Lens in 1996 and went on to win the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup with Liverpool FC, made his entrance from the bench having overcome a knee injury following his return from FC Girondins de Bordeaux. After his team successfully negotiated the final minutes a man down, he will hope to help Slavia earn progress next Wednesday in Prague.
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