Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spartak Rolls as Dynamo Kiev Loses

BOURGAS, Bulgaria -- Russian champion Spartak Moscow all but guaranteed its place in the Champions League with a 5-0 first leg demolition of Bulgarians Liteks Lovech in its European Cup second qualifying round tie Wednesday.

After a goalless first half, striker Nikolai Pisarev opened Spartak's account 10 minutes after the break with a powerfully struck shot and he added a second -- and his side's fourth -- four minutes from time.

Striker Egor Titov made it 2-0 after 65 minutes when he waltzed through three Litex defenders before firing through the legs of goalkeeper Stoyan Stavrev.

Spartak went 3-0 up through Brazilian Leonardo Samarone, and after Pisarev had made it 4-0, Spartak captain Ilya Tsymbalar made it 5-0 in the last minute.

Liteks has virtually no chance of salvaging the tie in Moscow but at least the team should be back to full strength after having three defenders suspended for this game.

In Kiev, Czech champion Sparta Prague surprised last season's Champions League quarterfinalists Dynamo Kiev with a 1-0 away win in the first leg of its European Cup qualifying round tie on Wednesday. With just five minutes gone, Czech Miroslav Beranec was left unmarked in front of goal, scoring what turned out to be the winner.

Both teams finished with 10 men as Dynamo's Alexander Khatskevich and Sparta's Vlastimil Svoboda were sent off for rough play in the second half. They will both be suspended from the second leg in two weeks time.

The Ukrainian champion saw its last chance for an equalizer disappear after international striker Serhiy Rebrov's 30-meter lob went just wide in the final minute.

In Pisa, Italy, Inter Milan took a firm step towards the Champions League on Wednesday when it beat Skonto Riga of Latvia 4-0 in the first leg of the team's qualifying tie.

Inter dominated the match from the start and led 3-0 at halftime. Chilean striker Zamora Zamorano got things moving in the fourth minute, followed by Diego Simeoni in the 10th and Nicola Ventola in the 21st.

Roberto Baggio, making his competitive debut for Gigi Simoni's side following his move from Bologna, electrified the fans, who had been chanting his name, when he scored his first goal for the club in the 59th minute.

The only disappointment for the Italians was a red card for Francesco Colonese three minutes from time.

Inter, the UEFA Cup holder, was playing without Ronaldo, who is still on a much-needed holiday in Brazil following the World Cup.

In Manchester, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Wednesday that he was confident his side will progress to the Champions League after goals from Ryan Giggs and Andy Cole saw off Polish side LKS Lodz 2-0 in the first leg of their second round qualifying series.

"I would think we would go out there and set our stall out not to lose a goal and keep possession of the ball and look for a sensible performance.

"I would be disappointed if we didn't go through, but anything can happen in football," Ferguson said. "Tonight some players distinguished themselves and I thought Ryan Giggs was outstanding. He's got the pace and courage to penetrate anywhere on the pitch."

LKS Lodz coach Marek Dziuba believes his side's adventure in the elite competition is all but over -- even though the consolation of a place in the UEFA Cup awaits.

He said: "We are struggling at 2-0 down. We could score two but we need three and that would be a monumental task, but it's not all over."