PFC CSKA Moskva made it two wins out of two in UEFA Europa League Group F following what the 3-0 scoreline indicated was a comfortable victory against AC Sparta Praha.
In fact, Sparta were far from outplayed and dominated for long period of the first half. But while they did not take their chances, CSKA came through in the last 18 minutes with two goals from Seydou Doumbia either side of Mark González's penalty.
Both teams were looking to build on Matchday 1 victories and while CSKA were surprisingly subdued from the outset, the visitors were creating the better opportunities, Václav Kadlec twice going close early on. CSKA were restricted to long-range efforts, Keisuke Honda forcing Sparta goalkeeper Jaromír Blažek into making a smart save.
With half-time approaching the home side picked up the tempo, but Vágner Love, who recently scored his 100th CSKA goal, shot straight at Blažek after Doumbia's fine pass had put him clean through. CSKA came out for the second half with much greater urgency, but they continued to be frustrated by a robust Sparta defence, led by 36-year-old Tomáš Řepka.
The visitors were under the cosh, but could still have taken the lead on 67 minutes, Juraj Kucka receiving the ball in space but shooting straight at Igor Akinfeev. Sparta were made to pay when Aleksei Berezutski headed back across goal, and Doumbia was left with the simplest of tap-ins.
There was to be no way back for Sparta when González added a second from the spot and just a minute later the impressive Doumbia put the result beyond any doubt after springing the offside trap. CSKA aim to further their qualification credentials when they visit US Città di Palermo on 21 October, when Sparta welcome FC Lausanne-Sport.