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Sparta hit their stride against struggling Athletic

Published: Thursday 4 October 2012, 20.53CET
AC Sparta Praha 3-1 Athletic Club
The Czech team got themselves off the mark in Group I on a frustrating evening for last season's UEFA Europa League finalists.
Sparta hit their stride against struggling Athletic
Bekim Balaj celebrates his goal for Sparta ©AFP/Getty Images

Match statistics

Sparta PrahaAthletic

Goals scored3
 
1
Attempts on target6
 
4
Attempts off target6
 
2
Corners4
 
10
Offsides2
 
2
Fouls committed18
 
15
Yellow cards2
 
4
Red Cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 28/09/2012 17:28 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Thursday 4 October 2012, 20.53CET

Sparta hit their stride against struggling Athletic

AC Sparta Praha 3-1 Athletic Club
The Czech team got themselves off the mark in Group I on a frustrating evening for last season's UEFA Europa League finalists.

AC Sparta Praha rediscovered their winning touch by beating last season's UEFA Europa League runners-up Athletic Club 3-1 in the Czech capital.

Goals from Tomáš Zápotočný and Bekim Balaj set Vítězslav Lavička's side on their way before Josef Hušbauer's 56th-minute penalty sealed their first Group I points.

Although the first significant opening came in the Sparta area, when Aritz Aduriz tried a back-heel from Óscar de Marcos's pass, it proved a false dawn for Marcelo Bielsa's team on a frustrating evening.

After Václav Kadlec broke through to rattle the woodwork, the hosts went ahead on 25 minutes. Receiving the ball from Marek Matějovský, Zápotočný stepped inside Ibai Gómez's challenge to let fly a powerful swerving effort that Gorka Iraizoz could merely help on its way. De Marco sought to repeat the trick for Athletic, but his strike was rebuffed by Tomáš Vaclík.

In an end-to-end contest, it required a block from Carlos Gurpegi to prevent Balaj slamming in Kadlec's pass from the right. Yet Balaj soon got his first European goal five minutes before half-time, heading Hušbauer's right-wing cross beyond Iraizoz via the face of Aduriz. If the unwitting deflection stung the Athletic forward, it also left his side staring at a fifth successive winless game.

Athletic had at least drawn on matchday one, yet here were Sparta – following four straight defeats, including at Olympique Lyonnais a fortnight ago – on the verge of their Group I breakthrough. It nonetheless took a superb stop by Vaclík, from Gurpegi's flying header, to maintain that position as Athletic seized the second-half initiative.

Despite that response, the Spanish side fell further behind when Xabier Castillo was penalised for catching Kadlec and Hušbauer slotted in the resulting spot kick. If the introduction of substitute Fernando Llorente suggested Athletic would fight on, De Marcos finally rewarded their perseverance with a cool 73rd-minute finish from Iker Muniain's cutback.

Last updated: 06/10/12 0.13CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000356/match=2009932/postmatch/report/index.html#sparta+defeat+athletic

Lineups

sparta praha

Sparta Praha

athletic

Athletic

31
VaclíkTomáš Vaclík (GK)
1
Gorka IraizozGorka Iraizoz (GK)
3
PamićManuel Pamić
5
AmorebietaFernando Amorebieta
Yellow Card90+1
4
ŠvejdíkOndřej Švejdík
8
A. IturraspeAnder Iturraspe
8
MatějovskýMarek Matějovský (C)
Yellow Card52
Substitution79
10
De MarcosÓscar de Marcos
Goal73
9
BalajBekim Balaj
Goal40
11
Ibai GómezIbai Gómez
Substitution57
14
V. KadlecVáclav Kadlec
Substitution87
14
SusaetaMarkel Susaeta
20
ZápotočnýTomáš Zápotočný
Goal25
15
IraolaAndoni Iraola
22
HušbauerJosef Hušbauer
Goal56
18
GurpegiCarlos Gurpegi (C)
23
KrejčíLadislav Krejčí
Substitution72
19
MuniainIker Muniain
Yellow Card61
25
HolekMario Holek
20
Aritz AdurizAritz Aduriz
Substitution64
39
JarošíkJiří Jarošík
22
CastilloXabier Castillo
Yellow Card56
Substitution62

Substitutes

1
M. ČechMarek Čech (GK)
13
RaúlRaúl (GK)
6
PřikrylTomáš Přikryl
Substitution87
2
ToqueroGaizka Toquero
16
KadeřábekPavel Kadeřábek
6
San JoséMikel San José
17
SkalákJiří Skalák
Substitution72
9
LlorenteFernando Llorente
Substitution64
18
PavelkaDavid Pavelka
Substitution79
Yellow Card90+4
16
Ismael LópezIsmael López
Substitution57
21
GilPablo Gil
21
Ander HerreraAnder Herrera
Substitution62
Yellow Card83
37
GrajciarPeter Grajciar
23
EkizaBorja Ekiza

Coach

Vítězslav Lavička (CZE) Marcelo Bielsa (ARG)

Referee

Manuel De Sousa (POR)

Assistant referees

Bertino Miranda (POR), Ricardo Santos (POR)

Fourth official

Venâncio Tomé (POR)

Additional assistant referees

Duarte Gomes (POR), Bruno Paixão (POR)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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