Bernat secures victory for MSK Zilina in European Conference League qualifying

2021-07-23 05:35:48 GMT2021-07-23 13:35:48(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BRATISLAVA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- After relegating the Georgian side Dila Gori in the first qualifying round of the recently established UEFA European Conference League, MSK Zilina stunned Apollon Limassol FC of Cyprus 3-1 on Thursday in the second round thanks to Jan Bernat's two goals.

Slovak team MSK Zilina opened scoring just five minutes into the game on a fast-break as 19-year-old striker Adrian Kapralik was on the receiving end of a nifty through-pass into the penalty box and facing the goalkeeper passed the ball to David Duris who was completely unguarded and had no trouble opening the score.

Twenty minutes later, Apollon's Lebanese forward Bassel Zakaria Jradi sent a nice curve-ball from the top corner of the box that found its way past Zilina's keeper to tie the game at 1-1.

The visitors upped the ante at the end of the first half and their efforts got rewarded in extra time when Bernat capitalized on a mistake by one of the defenders and put Zilina ahead again.

Zilina continued its improved performance after returning from the locker rooms and one of their offensive plays resulted in an awarded penalty kick. Bernat took it upon himself and executed perfectly, stretching the lead to two.

"We believed we could win. We knew about the weak points of Limassol and managed to exploit them. The recipe from the first qualifying round - effectiveness - was useful today, as well," said Bernat after the final whistle.

Bernat was close to completing a hat-trick but his long-range effort got saved by Apollon's goalie Aleksandar Jovanovic. Enditem