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Sparta see off Sheriff to progress

AC Sparta Praha 2-0 FC Sheriff (agg: 3-0)
Goals from Petr Voříšek and Miroslav Slepička ensured AC Sparta Praha set up a tie against Panathinaikos FC.

Miroslav Slepička (right) scored Sparta's clincher
Miroslav Slepička (right) scored Sparta's clincher ©Getty Images

Comfortable win
Already a goal to the good after last week's first leg in Moldova, Sparta went further in front through Voříšek just before the break and Slepička removed all doubt just after half-time. However, if Sparta are to earn a seventh campaign in the competition proper, they must defeat a team who beat them twice in the 2001/02 second group stage.

Early chances
Sparta went into the game in good spirit having won their first league game of 2008/09 1-0 against FK Mladá Boleslav on Saturday and the goalscorer in that match, Slepička, came close on six minutes tonight, just missing the target after Sheriff goalkeeper Stanislav Namasco could only parry Ondrej Kušnír's shot. The home side were well on top but the visitors nearly levelled the tie in the 28th minute as Benjamin Balima's header was tipped over the bar by Matúš Kozáčik, continuing to deputise successfully for the injured Jaromír Blažek.

Decisive goals
But it was Sparta who broke the deadlock late in the half when Voříšek crossed in a free-kick only for the ball to fly straight into the net. Marek Kulič, starting in place of injured Miroslav Matušovič, provided the second goal with an unselfish pass to Slepička, who made no mistake. Kušnír's deflected shot hit the bar in the 66th minute but Sparta had done their hard work and Sheriff ended the game with ten men as Aleksei Kuchuk received a second booking in the final moments.