Spartak Moscow's boys from Brazil confidently brushed aside Slovakia's Zilina 3-0 in their UEFA Champions League Group F clash on Tuesday to maintain their 100-per cent start to the tournament.
Brazilian striker Ari scored twice while compatriot Ibson added the third to lift Spartak on top of the table with six points from two matches. "We achieved a good result, though it was much tougher to win than it may have appeared especially in the first half before we opened the scoring," said Spartak coach Valeri Karpin.
"After the break, Zilina put us under pressure but we managed to overcome it and increase our lead. I think we were the better team today and won the match deservedly," he went on.
Spartak, who began their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win at Marseille, were in control from the start on their synthetic pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium. Irish international midfielder Aiden McGeady had an early chance for an opener in the ninth minute but his shot from the edge of the box went just inches wide of the top right corner of the Zilina goal.
Two minutes later, Spartak's Brazilian skipper Alex also tested goalkeeper Martin Dubravka with a shot from the edge of the box but the ball sailed over the crossbar. Spartak took the lead in the 34th minute when Ari lobbed the ball into the net over Dubravka with a 10-metre header from an Alex corner.
Zilina fought back after the break with Gambian substitute forward Momodou Ceesay causing problems. But Spartak defended stoutly and replied on the counter-attack, netting their second goal just after the hour mark through Ari, who scored from Dmitry Kombarov's cross.
Spartak increased their lead in the closing seconds through substitute Ibson who redirected Christian Maidana's cross into the goal.