Sparta, Dinamo, Hapoel eye progress

Sparta Prague, Dinamo Zagreb and Hapoel Tel Aviv were all celebrating rousing starts to their UEFA Champions League campaigns on Tuesday.

Czech champions Sparta Prague dished out a 3-0 beating to SK Liepajas Metalurgs in Latvia to put them on target for a ticket to the Champions League third qualifying round next month. Sparta took a deserved lead through Vaclav Kadlec eight minutes before half-time. Bony Wilfried gave the visitors breathing space with two goals in seven minutes early in the second half. The defeat leaves Metalurgs facing a monumental job in the return leg of this second qualifying round tie in the Czech capital next Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Dinamo Zagreb whipped Slovenian outfit FC Koper 5-1 in Zagreb, with Israeli club Hapoel going one better with a 5-0 rout of Bosnia-Herzegovina's FK Zeljeznicar.

Maaran Lala scored a first-half hat-trick, striking in the tenth, 31st and 38th minutes, his third coming seconds after Zeljeznicar goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic had saved a penalty from Hapoel captain Valeed Badeer. Yossi Shivhon and an own goal from Mirsad Beslija sandwiched Lala's first and second goals.

Another club with a seemingly comfortable pass to the next round was Salzburg, who overwhelmed HB Torshavn from the Faroe Islands 5-0 in Austria.

Irish outfit Bohemians came away from their meeting with New Saints FC of Wales 1-0 winners. The Dubliners had Killian Brennan's 66th-minute goal to thank for the win which gave them hope of progressing from this stage for the first time at this their fourth attempt.

Wednesday's menu includes Norwegians Rosenborg in Northern Ireland to play Linfield.

Former European champions Ajax, Scottish giants Celtic and competition debutants from the English Premier League Tottenham are among those clubs eagerly awaiting their fate in Friday's third qualifying round draw in Nyon.