Dmitri Loskov scored for the second time in as many matches against Internazionale FC to earn FC Lokomotiv Moskva a point at the Giuseppe Meazza.
The Lokomotiv captain's deflected 54th-minute strike cancelled out Alvaro Recoba's early goal in coach Alberto Zaccheroni's first UEFA Champions League match for Inter since replacing Héctor Cúper after the Milan side's 3-0 defeat in Moscow on Matchday 3. The draw was enough, however, to keep Inter top of Group B by a point from FC Dynamo Kyiv, who lost 1-0 at Arsenal FC.
Zaccheroni made three changes to the side that lost to Lokomotiv two weeks ago, the most important of which saw Kily González start on the left of midfield. The Argentinian, in partnership with his international colleague Javier Zanetti, provided the brightest spark in an otherwise pedestrian first half from Inter that might have seen them fall behind after ten minutes had Vadim Evseev connected with Sergei Ignashevitch's low pass. The midfield player, just two metres from goal, missed the ball completely.
A goal then would have been reward for an enterprising start from Lokomotiv during which Marat Izmailov, Loskov and Dmitri Khokhlov were in commanding form. Their short passes caused problems for the Inter midfield, but it was the Lokomotiv defence that was left standing on 14 minutes when, against the run of play, Recoba struck.
The Uruguayan has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts since the arrival of Zaccheroni and he followed up Sunday's goal in the victory over AC Chievo Verona with another trademark left-footed strike. A dummy from Christian Vieri allowed the ball through to Recoba who took two touches to turn past Dmitri Sennikov before sending a powerful shot beyond Sergei I. Ovchinnikov.
Eight minutes later Vieri should have doubled the home side's advantage. Zanetti sent Kily racing down the left and after skipping past Evseev he picked out Vieri ten metres from goal. The striker, unmarked, elected to shoot first time but got under the ball and it sailed over. Inter were now in the ascendancy, and four minutes later another surging run from Zanetti split the Lokomotiv defence, but Ignashevitch was back to clear the Argentinian's dangerous low cross.
Luck with Loskov
Inter had the momentum but that changed nine minutes after the restart when luck went the visiting side's way. Loskov was rewarded for another fine performance when his low shot from distance deflected off the left leg of Marco Materazzi and flew beyond Francesco Toldo in the Inter goal.
The balance of the game had shifted and Lokomotiv sensed their chance. On 60 minutes Izmailov cut into the box and delivered a teasing ball across the face of goal that Thomas Helveg was forced to put behind. Then only a great tackle from Zanetti to take the ball off the toes of Loskov kept the captain from shooting from close range.
Ovchinnikov to the rescue
In response, Inter pushed forward in numbers. Daniele Adani hit the post with a header under pressure from Ovchinnikov, who then twice saved brilliantly from Vieri. Kily played a long ball in over the top that the striker met first time – Ovchinnikov was off his line quickly to block but the rebound went straight back to Vieri who kicked out in frustration after also seeing his second attempt saved. Inter continued to press, but Lokomotiv held out, earning a point that keeps Group B wide open.