David Lafata scored a hat-trick as AC Sparta Praha came from behind twice to win a thrilling UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg against Malmö FF.
Although Lafata cancelled out Emil Forsberg's opener, the visitors regained the lead before half-time thanks to Isaac Kiese Thelin. However, two goals in two minutes from Lafata and Radoslav Kováč put the Czech club ahead before the Sparta captain – on target five times against FC Levadia Tallinn in the previous round – sealed victory with his third.
The game turned in the Swedish side's favour when Forsberg completed a quick counterattack by finding the net via a deflection off Kováč. Lafata drew the hosts level with a header, but five minutes later they were again caught out by a break that Kiese Thelin finished off.
Sparta heaped pressure on Malmö after the interval and two quick-fire goals gave them an advantage they never relinquished. Robin Olsen spilled a shot from Tomáš Přikryl and Lafata buried the loose ball; a minute later Kováč poked in when the goalkeeper failed to hold another Přikryl effort.
The capital club's comeback was sealed 20 minutes from time when their skipper headed in his third of the game and eighth of a highly fruitful European campaign, ensuring Sparta take a two-goal cushion into the second leg on 6 August.
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