Three first-half strikes helped FK Partizan overcome Valletta FC 4-1, putting them in a commanding position ahead of next Tuesday's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round return in Serbia.
The fans in the packed Hibernians Ground were given a highly entertaining match. But the Maltese support were left disappointed as goals from Nemanja Tomić, Ivan Ivanov, Stefan Šćepović and Miloš Ostojić rendered Michael Mifsud's fifth strike of his European campaign scant consolation.
Partizan, aiming for their second group campaign in three seasons dominated the first half, and were ahead in the sixth minute with a well-crafted goal by Tomić. The second arrived on 33 minutes after hard work by the industrious Ivanov, before Šćepović essentially killed the game off three minutes before the break.
Valetta fared a little better after the restart, and Mifsud's neat finish gave them a lifeline on 65 minutes. But Ostojić turned in the excellent Stefan Babović's floated free-kick to put the match – and perhaps the tie – beyond the Maltese champions' reach.