FC Spartak Moskva battled back to take a point against FC Bayern München and keep alive their hopes of claiming a UEFA Cup place after an entertaining draw in UEFA Champions League Group B.
Radoslav Kováč struck 18 minutes from time to pull the Russian side level after Claudio Pizarro had turned the tide Bayern's way, cancelling out Maxym Kalynychenko's early free-kick with a pair of goals which had Bayern on course for the victory that would have guaranteed them first place in the pool.
Spartak enjoyed most of the early possession and created the game's first real opening when captain Yegor Titov's rasping drive was palmed away by Oliver Kahn. The goalkeeper, however, had little chance in the 16th minute when Spartak breached the Bayern defence for the first time in the competition. Mark van Bommel brought down Titov ten metres outside the penalty area, allowing Kalynychenko to step up and curl a superb free-kick into the bottom corner past the wrong-footed Kahn.
It was just reward for Spartak's early endeavour, but the hosts' lead was short-lived. Just six minutes after falling behind, Bayern left-back Christian Lell found space to cross for Pizarro to glance a header inside the far post with Aleksei Zuev, Spartak's third-choice goalkeeper who was starting his first UEFA Champions League match in the absence of the injured Wojciech Kowalewski and Dmitri Khomich, rooted to his line.
It was the Peruvian's third goal in five UEFA Champions League outings this season, and he added another in spectacular fashion six minutes before the break. Bastian Schweinsteiger fed him midway into the Spartak half and Pizarro looked to have nothing on as the home defence closed in, but from fully 30 metres he unleashed an unstoppable shot that gave Zuev no chance and flew into the top corner. Spartak rallied before the end of the half and Kahn did well to tip away Vladimir Bystrov's effort, but as the half-time whistle blew Bayern were in command.
Spartak fans were offered some consolation during the interval as a replay of rivals PFC CSKA Moskva's defeat by FC Porto the previous evening was shown on the big screen. Their mood improved still further when Kalynychenko drew a save from Kahn soon after the restart. Titov went even closer with a glancing header that flew narrowly wide before Roman Pavlyuchenko fired over just past the hour after being set up by Bystrov.
For all Spartak's possession, though, opportunities were few and far between and it came as a surprise when Kováč rifled in from close range after collecting Martin Jiránek's flick-on from a corner. Spartak's hopes of earning a UEFA Cup spot had been rekindled and they pressed forward, yet Kahn saved well from Bystrov and in fact it was Bayern who came closest to a winner, Daniel Van Buyten somehow heading wide when in front of goal in added time. Spartak must now beat Sporting Clube de Portugal in Lisbon on 5 December to continue in European competition, while Bayern will vie for group supremacy with FC Internazionale Milano.