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APOEL hit four to see off Skënderbeu

APOEL FC 4-0 KS Skënderbeu (agg: 6-0)
Already in charge after the first leg, the Cypriot champions reasserted their authority in Nicosia to reach the third qualifying round without alarm.

Aílton (left) harries the Skënderbeu defence
Aílton (left) harries the Skënderbeu defence ©AFP

APOEL FC hit four second-half goals without reply to wrap up a 6-0 aggregate win against KS Skënderbeu in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.

Already in charge after last week's opening instalment in Albania, APOEL suffered only a handful of minor scares on home soil before taking total control of the tie. Esteban Solari was first to strike, on the cusp of the hour mark, with Aílton doubling the lead midway through the second half before further efforts from Aldo Adorno and Constantinos Charalambides in the closing ten minutes.

Now guaranteed a third qualifying round meeting with ŠK Slovan Bratislava, the Cypriot champions will be confident of matching their 2009/10 feat of reaching the group stage following another assured performance in Nicosia. Their superiority begun in the third minute when Solari's header hit the bar.

Charalambides then tested goalkeeper Orges Shehi before Skënderbeu had their first attempt, Davor Bratić turning Blendi Shkembi's corner over. The same player was narrowly off target 11 minutes into the second half, and was this time made to pay, the impressive Gustavo Manduca feeding Solari for APOEL's opener.

Manduca saw one shot come off a post and another parried by Shehi, who was, however, helpless to prevent Aílton turning in the rebound. Manduca had hit the woodwork once more by the time Adorno poached a third and Charalambides scrambled in a fourth to complete the scoring.