By Trevor Haylett at the New Den
Two goals both scored direct from free-kicks meant that Millwall FC's first-ever appearance in a European competition ended in a draw. The home team thought they were heading for a UEFA Cup first round first-leg triumph when player-manager Dennis Wise put them ahead but Ferencvárosi TC levelled matters with 12 minutes remaining.
The team from the second tier of English football had taken the game to the Hungarian champions from the start and it was fitting that Wise, who lifted the trophy with Chelsea FC in 1998, should score their goal. Captain Peter Lipcsei then came up with a valuable away goal with a similar strike at the other end.
The home crowd were clearly intent on making this first foray into the European arena a memorable one and gave their team a noisy reception at the start. At the same time they knew this would be a hard test for the debutants who were unable to start with either of their main strikers, Danny Dichio and Barry Hayles, through injury.
In the initial stages Millwall looked tentative which was perhaps understandable given their inexperience at this level. Nerves betrayed Neil Harris when Wise's cleverly-scooped free-kick put him in space behind the defensive wall. Just before that a Wise corner had seen Marvin Elliott head towards goal, demanding a stretching save from Lajos Szucs.
Another good opportunity emerged in the 23rd minute when Jody Morris' shot found it's way to Stefan Moore standing to the right of goal and in space. He elected to shoot first time and saw the ball travel harmlessly beyond the far post.
Millwall did get the ball in the net on the hour but the whistle had already blown for a foul. However they had only to wait another six minutes before they could celebrate. A foul on Moore just outside the area was ideally positioned for Wise who skilfully bent the ball into the far corner of the net.
Ferencváros had not shown too much of themselves as an attacking force, content to hang back and limit their raids. The Millwall goal changed that approach however and Zoltan Balog came close with an angled volley. Lipcsei's free-kick then ensured that the visitors would return home confident of earning a place in the group stages.