Spartak Moscow blanks Zilina at home
Brazilian striker Ari struck twice and Ibson also scored Tuesday to lead Spartak Moscow to a 3-0 win over Zilina in the Champions League.
The 24-year-old Ari hit a goal in each half in a match the hosts dominated to give Spartak two wins out of two in Group F.
Ari’s first came in the 34th minute, looping a header over goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from eight meters. The ball was cleared, but correctly adjudged to have crossed the goal line.
He tapped the ball into an empty net from Dmitri Kombarov’s low cross in the 64th minute to double the lead. Ari’s compatriot, Ibson, struck in the last minute.
Spartak outclassed its Slovakian opponents, with Brazilian midfielder Alex and winger Aiden McGeady orchestrating most attacks.
"We had to press more in the second half, and we managed to keep the ball better," Spartak coach Valery Karpin said. "I’d like to thank my players for playing the way they did, I have no complaints about their performance."
Zilina, restricted to speculative long-shots throughout the match, has now been beaten in both matches.
"We tried to do something, to construct our game from the back, but it just didn’t work," Zilina coach Pavel Hapal said.
Spartak next hosts Chelsea on Oct. 19, while Zilina travels to Marseille a day later.
Evgeni Makeev set the tone for the match in the opening seconds, volleying just wide from outside the box. On 10 minutes, McGeady, the Irish winger who was signed in the offseason from Celtic, cushioned a pass from Ari and fired just over from the edge of the area.
Soon after, Alex glanced the top of the crossbar with a curling shot from just outside the box after McGeady’s surge and pass.
Zilina’s first meaningful effort came from Lubomir Guldan, whose long-range drive bounced wide in the 18th. Two minutes later, Welliton broke clear down the left but his toe-poked cross drifted harmlessly across the goal with no forwards in support.
Spartak continued to press, playing an unhurried passing game its opponents couldn’t match.
McGeady crossed for Dmitri Kombarov to half-volley toward goal, but Dubravka dived sharply to his left to parry the low drive away.
The busy Dubravka tipped Alex’s curling free kick over the bar on the half-hour, conceding the corner from which Spartak scored the opener. Ari’s goal was confirmed by a referee stationed behind the goal who saw the ball cross over the line by about a meter.
"I saw it on the screen instantly, and already saw the linesman running back toward the center circle so I realized immediately," Karpin said.
Spartak maintained the pressure in the second half, with Welliton’s turn and strike from the edge of the box forcing a smart save from Dubravka.
The Slovakians mounted a rare attack of their own after 50 minutes, striker Emil Rilke chipping wide from captain Robert Jez’s through pass.
After Ari hit his second goal, Dubravka saved the visitors again in the 75th, tipping Alex’s swirling 25-meter strike onto the post.
Ari missed the chance for a hat trick in the 85th, blasting a close-range shot over the bar from McGeady’s through ball.
Two substitutes combined for the last goal, Christiana Maidana crossing for Ibson to find the net in the final minute.