Moscow hand Zilina final defeat
© AFP

Spartak Moscow came from behind to seal a 2-1 victory against MSK Zilina from Slovakia. Tomas Majtan headed Slovakian minnows MSK Zilina in front just after half-time but Brazilians Alex and Ibson turned the game around by the hour mark.

Within minutes of the match kicking off, Dutch referee Kevin Blom led both sets of players off the field as flares were thrown onto the pitch from the Spartak section of the crowd. Eventually, though, the game was able to restart and Dmitri Kombarov shot over from close range for Spartak. Ibson was similarly wasteful, skewing wide from a good position, before Kirill Kombarov flashed an effort wide from range.

Marek Suchy blocked Roman Gergel's effort at the other end before Zilina's Lubomir Guldan was booked for fouling Ibson, who teed up Alex from the resulting free-kick. The Brazilian, though, fired over. Gergel was again off target before Suchy blocked Pavol Poliacek's shot, Babatounde Bello blazing the rebound over. Alex shot wide from long range and team-mates Aiden McGeady and Yevgeni Makeev followed suit as half-time arrived goalless.

Zilina had been unable to impose themselves on the game for much of that first period, but took the lead three minutes into the second. Robert Jez crossed from the right and Majtan's downward header beat keeper Andrei Dikan and found the net.

Dikan was then forced to tip Tomas Oravec's fierce drive over the bar, and also gathered Bello's effort before the visitors levelled in the 54th minute as Alex finished low from the left of the penalty area. Gergel blocked Alexander Shyeshukov's drive but the second Spartak goal was not long in coming, Alex turning provider for compatriot Ibson to finish from close range on the hour.

Gergel shot over and Oravec and Guldan's long-range volleys went wide, while Ibson was off target at the other end. The latter was then dismissed for a bad foul on Oravec, before substitute Momodou Ceesay wasted Zilina's best chance of an equaliser when he headed Emil Rilke's corner wide from close range.