FC København took a big step towards the UEFA Champions League play-offs with a 3-1 victory in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie against Stabæk IF, although Pálmi Pálmason's away goal for the Norwegian champions should ensure that this Scandinavian derby is far from over.
In front of 15,383 fans at Parken, the home side jumped into a 2-0 first-half lead through goals from Jesper Grønkjær and Cesar Santin before Pálmason pegged them back on 58 minutes. The Danish titleholders, however, finished strongly to take control of the tie with Santin adding a third from the penalty spot late on.
FCK dominated from the outset, and after Santin, Zdeněk Pospěch and Ailton Almeida (twice) had all gone close, Grønkjær put the home side ahead on eleven minutes when he headed in Oscar Wendt's corner. The goal served as a wake-up call for Stabæk who pushed forward and FCK goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen did well to deny Fredrik Berglund on 12 minutes. Christiansen foiled Pálmason soon after before Daniel Nannskog hit the crossbar just before the half-hour mark.
FCK survived the siege and doubled their lead shortly before the interval when Santin started and finished a counterattack by heading in on 41 minutes. It was rough justice on Stabæk who were back on the attack at the start of the second half. After Pospěch had missed a presentable chance for the home side, Berglund went close for the visitors who narrowed the arrears when Pálmason fired in low from the right side of the area. FCK were not finished yet, though. Pospěch hit the crossbar on 68 minutes before Santin made the game safe from the penalty spot after the Brazilian had been fouled in the area.