PFC CSKA Moskva 1-1 Parma AC
Denis Popov salvaged PFC CSKA Moskva's UEFA Cup hopes with a second-half equaliser to secure his side a 1-1 draw in their first round first-leg encounter with Parma AC in the Saturn stadium. The striker lashed a 68th-minute volley into the Parma net after goalkeeper Sébastien Frey had parried Sergei Semak's shot into his path.
The goal cancelled out Adrian Mutu's opener 15 minutes earlier, which only came about after a terrible blunder in the CSKA defence. Deividas Semberas tapped the ball back to the otherwise outstanding Ruslan Nigmatullin, who pounced on the ball conceding a free-kick inside his own area. The free-kick was rolled to Mutu, who crashed a right-footed strike past the unsighted keeper.
The goals brought to life what had been a tepid game. Parma, who have played just once in the Italian league this season, looked rusty in the opening period - nobody more so than forward Emiliano Bonazzoli, who missed two gilt-edged chances before half-time. On 16 minutes the long-haired striker found himself unmarked in the CSKA area but could only stab Mutu's lofted pass wide of target and, after Sabri Lamouchi had forced a fine double save from Nigmatullin, Bonazzoli somehow skewered wide a simple volley just six metres from goal.
Bonazzoli tried his luck again eleven minutes before the break, this time from 20 metres out, but although his venomous effort beat Nigmatullin, it struck the outside of the keeper's right-hand post.
Rolan Gusev went close for the hosts after half-time, forcing a smart save from Frey with his measured volley, then Nigmatullin's error paved the way for Mutu's goal.
But once Popov had put CSKA back on level terms, both sides had chances to take a lead to Italy for the second leg. Nine minutes from time, Nigmatullin denied Massimo Donati, tipping his powerful strike over the bar before Igor Yanovski fired horribly wide from close range at the death.