Trabzonspor 3-0 Skonto FC (agg: 4-1) An inspired personnel change helps Trabzonspor beat Skonto.
By Türker Tozar at Hüseyin Avni Aker stadium
An inspired personnel change from Trabzonspor coach Ziya Dogan helped his side beat Latvian champions Skonto FC to seal their place in the third qualifying round where they will face FC Dynamo Kyiv.
Dogan brought Mehmet Yilmaz and Ibrahima Yattara into the starting eleven after the pair had been so influential in the first leg in Riga. A goal down with less than twenty minutes to play, the pair had come off the substitutes' bench and conjured up a late goal to rescue a draw for the visitors. The decision proved inspired.
After Skonto had started strongly, the home side began to pull the strings and both Mehmet Yilmaz and Fatih Tekke tested goalkeeper Andrejs Piedels with powerful headers in the first 20 minutes. Skonto had a chance of their own on 21 minutes when defender Karel D'haene nearly put Aaron Nguimbats' cross into his own net.
The reprieve was only temporary though and on the half-hour Piedels was again called upon to parry a Yattara free-kick. The goalkeeper was beaten before half time but was rescued by a despairing goal-line clearance from Igors Semjonovs following Hüseyin Çimsir's close-range effort.
Skonto come close
The home side reshuffled during the interval with Yattara moving from the wing to join the strikers while wing-backs Emrah Eren and Celaleddin Koçak took more attacking roles. But the visitors nearly silenced the vibrant crowd immediately when a quick attack presented an opening for Mihails Miholaps, only for his shot to agonisingly rebound off the post.
The chance only invigorated Trabzonspor though as the home side finally found their feet in the final third. On 57 minutes Yattara pounced upon sloppy play by opposition captain Mihails Zemlinskis, taking the ball off his toes and powering into the box before unleashing an accurate drive between the legs of Piedels.
Eight minutes later and they were two goals to the good. Yattara was again involved as his corner found Mehmet Yilmaz unmarked in front of goal and he finished coolly to leave the away side needing three goals to keep the tie alive. It was not to be though, and seven minutes from time Celaleddin's cross found Fatih Tekke for a beautiful volley that sealed a 4-1 aggregate victory.