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Ten-man Slovan get the better of Sheriff

ŠK Slovan Bratislava 2-1 FC Sheriff
Karol Mészáros's late goal proved decisive as Slovan claimed a first-leg lead despite going down to ten men.

Igor Žofčák puts Slovan ahead from the penalty spot
Igor Žofčák puts Slovan ahead from the penalty spot ©Sergey Sokolov

ŠK Slovan Bratislava overcame the 61st-minute dismissal of Richard Lásik in securing a narrow UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first-leg victory against FC Sheriff.

Karol Mészáros's late strike gave Slovan a lead to take into the return in Moldova next week following Ricardinho's leveller for the visitors with 16 minutes remaining. Lásik's foul on Radu Gînsari led to him seeing red and a penalty that Cadu had saved by Dušan Perniš, Slovan captain Igor Žofčák having put the Slovakian title holders ahead with a spot kick of his own.

Žofčák converted following a handball by Elkin Blanco. Slovan had survived a scare in the 16th minute when Ismail Isa fired wide of the empty net from an angle after Perniš had failed to clear.

The dismissal of Lásik and the subsequent penalty award should have given the Tiraspol outfit the advantage, but Perniš had other ideas. Sheriff exploited their numerical superiority ten minutes later when Ricardinho equalised from close range after a right-wing cross by Ginsari.  

As Sheriff piled on the pressure, Mészáros landed the decisive blow for the ten men with a first-time effort after a chipped pass by Marko Milinković.