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Sparta seal steady path past Metalurgs

AC Sparta Praha 2-0 SK Liepājas Metalurgs (agg: 5-0)
First-half free-kicks from Marek Matějovský and Martin Zeman assured the Czech champions of a trouble-free path to the third qualifying round.

Martin Zeman scored Sparta's second of the night
Martin Zeman scored Sparta's second of the night ©Getty Images

Two first-half free-kicks completed an emphatic 5-0 aggregate win for AC Sparta Praha against SK Liepājas Metalurgs and set up a third qualifying round tie against KKS Lech Poznań for the Czech champions.

Last week's 3-0 victory in Latvia meant Sparta coach Jozef Chovanec had the luxury of resting Libor Sionko and Bony Wilfried, who scored twice in the first leg. Nevertheless, the hosts prevailed thanks to two goals direct from set pieces, Marek Matějovský and Martin Zeman doing the damage.

Matějovský, back in his homeland after three years in England with Reading FC, registered his first goal for his new club just 12 minutes into his third appearance. Substitute Zeman followed suit by dispatching a free-kick of his own two minutes before the break to end any remaining resolve that Metalurgs may have had.

Rüdiger Abramczik took off goalkeeper Viktors Spole at half-time but replacement Pāvels Šteinbors was scarcely tested, with Sparta clearly content with their lot. The visitors did at least muster a smattering of efforts on target but Jaromír Blažek was on hand to repel their search for a consolation.