Spaniards RC Celta de Vigo and Czech opponents SK Sigma Olomouc provided goals galore in a ding-dong UEFA Cup first round, second-leg battle. Sigma emerged 4-3 winners on the night – but Celta go through to the second round on a 7-4 aggregate.
McCarthy increases Celta’s lead
Celta won the first leg 4-0, and set out in the return leg with few fears, resting several key players. But they were soon into their stride, and increased their aggregate lead after only two minutes. Inexperienced home defender David Cep lost the ball in the area, and South African Benni McCarthy took full advantage to score.
Just after the half-hour, Celta were 2-0 ahead on the night. Zvonimir Boban’s corner found Fernando Cáceres unmarked, and he made no mistake. Sigma’s misery continued when the experienced Pavel Hapal limped from the pitch with a leg injury.
Somehow, Sigma pulled themselves together for a magnificent second-half comeback which stunned the visitors. Patrik Siegl scored a fine solo goal, David Kotrys levelled matters and Josef Mucha found the target twice to give the Czech side hopes of an incredible turnaround.
Lojo ends Sigma’s hopes
Sigma poured forward in a stream of attacks – but the Spaniards survived the storm, and struck back to score a third goal in injury time through Pablo Coira. Sigma were finally subdued after a tremendous effort.