Cypriot side AC Omonia have one foot in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round after overpowering FK Sloga Jugomagnat of F.Y.R. Macedonia at Nicosia's GSP stadium.
Spurred on by more than 12,000 fans, Omonia took the early initiative and posed a constant threat to Jane Nikoloski's goal. But Sloga defended in numbers and 40 minutes had elapsed before the home side finally broke the deadlock when Elias Charalambous converted Efstathios Aloneftis's cross.
Omonia shifted up a gear in the second period and within two minutes had doubled their advantage. The industrious Aloneftis again provided the centre - this time from a corner - which was met with a powerful header from Slovakian international striker Josef Kozlej.
The goal was the cue for Sloga to abandon their defensive formation and they pushed men forward in search of a reply but could not break down the stubborn Cypriot back-line. For all the away side's effort, Omonia goalkeeper Adam Vezer did not have to make a notable save all game.
Makris makes mark
Indeed it was Omonia who eventually added to the scoreline. The home side brought on the promising Antonis Makris with 20 minutes remaining and the young striker rubbed salt in the Sloga wounds with two late goals.
'Anything can happen'
Sloga coach Adnan Zekir believes that all is not lost though. "Omonia were better than us today but in 14 days we will be in better shape than we were tonight," he said. "In football, anything can happen and it's possible that this deficit can be overturned."
Omonia coach Franciszek Smuda concurred. "The tie is not over yet and we should expect a tougher game in Skopje," he said. "I am very happy with my team's performance though and the support from our fans was fabulous."