FC Slovan Liberec 3-2 FC Dinamo Tbilisi
FC Dinamo Tbilisi came from two goals down to give themselves hope in their UEFA Cup first round tie against Czech Republic champions FC Slovan Liberec.
Slovan, quarter-finalists in the competition last season, continued where they left off, making a lively start even though they were without the suspended David Langer. Dinamo were only able to hold out for 19 minutes before Slovan struck their opening goal.
Jan Polák, making his UEFA Cup debut following his recent transfer from 1. FC Brno, found Jan Nezmar, and the striker, returning to the starting lineup after five weeks absence, made no mistake. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 to the home side, with Martin Zboncák scoring after Nezmar had spurned the initial chance.
Dinamo hit back
However, the visitors refused to be daunted. They relied on counterattacks and their game plan paid dividends three minutes after the interval. Vitali Daraselia capitalised on an error by home defender Petr Johana to pull a goal back.
Ghanaian substitute Baffour Gyan restored Slovan's two-goal advantage only three minutes after his arrival, pouncing from Bohuslav Pilný's free-kick. Still though Dinamo fought back and George Anchabadze reduced the deficit again in the 67th minute. Slovan tried desperately to restore their two-goal cushion but were thwarted by the agility of goalkeeper David Gvaramadze who stopped a Zboncák header. It leaves Dinamo needing just a 1-0 win at home in the return leg to advance on away goals.
Slovan coach Ladislav Skorpil was not satisfied with his team's performance. "We have conceded too many goals recently. We must change it before the return match," he said before admitting he had been afraid after the second visitors' goal. "I feared that we will repeat our last league match," he said, referring to the fact that his team led 3-0 against FK Jablonec 97 on Monday for the game to end in a 3-3 draw.
Meanwhile, Dinamo coach Ivan Susak was delighted with the outcome and said: "I persuaded my players during the half-time break that nothing is over. We pulled back thanks to an early goal after the restart. Slovan are still the favourites but the return leg will be intersting for the fans now."