APOEL FC took a firm grip of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against FK Partizan as second-half goals from Nenad Mirosavljević and Marcin Żewłakow gave them a 2-0 home win.
These two clubs had combined to accumulate 17 goals without reply in the previous round yet they produced a goalless 45 minutes in Nicosia, Lamine Diarra passing up two excellent chances for the visitors. APOEL made Partizan pay for their profligacy after the break with both goals coming from headers following set-pieces.
The Serbian champions were in impressive form during their second qualifying round tie, scoring 12 times against Rhyl FC. They started this game positively too, with Diarra having a left-footed shot turned over by home goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis early on. Midway through the first half, the Senegalese striker had another presentable opportunity but scuffed his shot in front of goal.
Chances were proving hard to come by on a hot and humid night in Nicosia with much of the play focused on the battle in the middle of the park. However, four minutes after the break, APOEL forward Mirosavljević made the breakthrough against his old club when he found himself unmarked and headed in Konstantinos Charalampidis's inviting free-kick. It was from another dead-ball situation that the home team doubled their lead, Żewłakow nodding in another Charalampidis delivery late on for his third goal in as many European games this season. With five minutes remaining, Partizan could not respond, ensuring the Cypriot champions a decent lead to take to Serbia for next week's return leg.