Spanish side Malaga defeated experienced European campaigners Panathinaikos 2-0 on Wednesday to edge closer to a much-needed, lucrative first appearance in the Champions League group stages.
Malaga, who spent nearly 60 million euros ($74 million) on new players last year, have put the brakes on spending this summer and badly need the financial impetus the tournament provides.
Panathinaikos, coached by former Malaga boss Jesualdo Ferreira, were undone by first-half goals from Argentine defender Martin Demichelis and Portuguese midfielder Eliseu.
Malaga fans greeted the players' entry to the pitch with a giant banner that read, "What our grandparents never witnessed, our children are about to see."
That desire will become stronger next week if Malaga get the job done in the second leg of the play-off tie in Greece.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Ismaily cancelled out Dusan Basta's first-half opener as Sporting Braga drew 1-1 at home to Udinese.
AEL Limassol edged Anderlecht 2-1 with Dosa Junior and Rui Miguel's goals sandwiching a Dieudonne Mbokani's second-half equaliser for the Belgians.
Dynamo Zagreb skipper Milan Badelj scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Maribor of Slovenia, having earlier put through his own goal.
The 23-year-old will join Hamburg in the German Bundesliga once next week's second leg is completed
Belarusian side BATE Borisov defeated Israeli debutants Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 2-0 in the night's other game.