A penalty from Rob Wielaert gave NEC Nijmegen a potentially crucial away goal as the Dutch side suffered a 2-1 first-leg defeat by Wisla Kraków in the UEFA Cup first round in Poland.
The goal four minutes past the hour brought the away side right back into the match and meant that the tie is finely poised ahead of the return at the Goffert stadium on 15 October.
The home side were quickly into their stride at the Wisla Kraków SSA stadium and pressed their opponents back from the first whistle, but struggled to find a way past a stubborn NEC rearguard. The first chance arrived five minutes into the match, as Wisla's Brazilian midfield player Cristino Pereira De Souza was fouled just outside the penalty area, but Miroslaw Szymkowiak's free-kick was just too high.
Wisla continued to press forward, with Maciej Zurawski, Tomasz Frankowski and Szymkowiak combining well, but the visitors held firm in the early exchanges, although Zurawski went close on a number of occasions with shots from distance.
However, two minutes before the half-hour, the Polish side were in front. NEC threw men forward in a rare attacking foray, but when the move broke down they were left exposed to Wisla's swift counterattack. Zurawski's pass put Frankowski in on goal and the striker carried the ball forward before scoring with a well-placed shot.
The goal seemed to lift the home players, and they might have doubled their lead three minutes before half-time, but again a free-kick, this time from De Souza, was just too high.
Second for Frankowski
The opening minutes of the second half followed a similar pattern, with Wisla committing men forward in search of a second goal. It duly arrived ten minutes after the restart, Frankowski scoring his second of the match from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
However, the visitors halved the deficit in the 64th minutes, as Maciej Stolarczyk fouled Dennis de Nooijer inside the penalty area and NEC captain Wielaert stepped up to score from the spot.
Wisla were quickly back on to the attack seeking to restore their two-goal advantage, with Zurawski and Szymkowiak again linking up, while Damjan Gorawski's dribbling proved a constant menace. Nevertheless, NEC held firm to set up an intriguing second leg in Nijmegen.