AC Sparta Praha 3-0 NK Široki Brijeg
AC Sparta Praha never really pushed into top gear in their UEFA Cup first round first-leg tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina's NK Siroki Brijeg, but still managed to run out comfortable 3-0 winners.
Sparta's performance of fits and starts was most evident during the opening 45 minutes. The Czech Republic side struggled to break down the stubborn Široki defence and at times lacked any attacking invention. But then, from nothing, Michal Pospísil broke the deadlock four minutes before the break after instigating and finishing a one-two with Lukás Zelenka.
Raised their game
The hosts raised their game after the restart, but Igor Melher managed to keep Sparta at bay by parrying several dangerous shots including Jirí Jarosík's deflected free-kick. Sparta, however, were not to be denied and Miroslav Baranek connected with Libor Sionko's cross to fire the ball through a crowd of players and into the net after 63 minutes.
Former Manchester United FC winger Karel Poborský then satisfied the fans 15 minutes before the end when he added the third with an overhead kick, an impressive flash of individual flair in an otherwise routine display. At the other end, the Bosnian league leaders failed to create a single scoring chance with Mirko Hrgovic's free-kick alone allowing Sparta 'keeper Jaromír Blazek the chance to warm his hands.
"We were pretty nervous at first," said Sparta coach Jozef Jarabinský. "It is not easy to play against a ten-man defence, but then you have to create a lot of clear chances." Jarabinský, while impressed by Poborský's wonderful strike, was more concerned with the injury to Libor Sionko that will keep him out of the upcoming Prague derby match against Slavia.