FC Copenhagen took a big step towards the UEFA Champions League playoffs with a 3-1 victory in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie against Stabaek.
Palmi Palmason’s away goal for the Norwegian champions, however, ensured that this Scandinavian derby is far from over.
In front of 15,383 fans at Parken, the home side jumped into a 2-0 first half-lead through goals from Jesper Gronkjaer and Cesar Santin before Palmason pegged them back on 58 minutes.
The Danish champions, however, finished strongly to take control of the tie with Santin adding a third from the penalty spot late on.
FCK dominated from the outset, and after Santin, Zdenek Pospech and Ailton Almeida (twice) had all gone close, Gronkjaer put the home side ahead on eleven minutes when he headed in Oscar Wendt’s corner.
The goal served as a wake-up call for Stabaek who pushed forward and FCK keeper Jesper Christiansen did well to deny Fredrik Berglund on 12 minutes and Palmason soon after before Daniel Nannskog hit the crossbar just before the half-hour mark.
FCK survived the siege and doubled their lead shortly before the interval when Santin started and finished a counterattack by heading in on 41 minutes. It was rough justice on Stabaek who were back on the attack at the start of the second half.
After Pospech had missed a presentable chance for the home side, Berglund came close for the Norwegian champions who drew level when Palmason fired in low from the right side of the area. FCK, though, were not finished yet.
Pospech hit the crossbar on 68 minutes before Santin made the game safe from the penalty spot after the Brazilian had been fouled in the area.