One goal proved decisive as Malmö FF edged past FK Ventspils 1-0 to set up a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against AC Sparta Praha.
Ventspils impressed in the first leg by holding Malmö to a goalless draw but their dream of an upset was dashed after 19 minutes of the return when Isaac Kiese Thelin put Malmö in control of the tie. The strike proved a body blow to the hosts who, in need of two goals to progress, never recovered.
Bright young winger Emil Forsberg was instrumental in Malmö's victory. Indeed it was his endeavour which created the goal, driving to the byline and providing the looping cross that Kiese Thelin tucked away from close range. Ventspils were lucky to go in at half-time just the one goal down as Malmö pinned them back before the interval.
It was a long way back for the Latvian outfit, who lacked a cutting edge in attack and ultimately relied on goalkeeper Maksims Uvarenko to keep the visitors at bay. As the game neared its conclusion, the Ventspils No1 produced a fine double-save to deny Forsberg a deserved goal from a fierce shot and then impressively block Simon Kroon's goalbound follow-up.
Malmö travel to Sparta for the first leg of their third qualifying round tie next week.