By Paris Ayiomamatis at Georgios Kamaras stadium
A goal from substitute Stewart Downing 12 minutes from time earned Middlesbrough FC a narrow win away to Greek side Egaleo FC in the opening match of UEFA Cup Group E.
The England Under-21 international, who had replaced Boudewijn Zenden only eight minutes earlier, collected a square pass from Ray Parlour - who had burst powerfully into the penalty area - and drilled a low shot beyond goalkeeper Mahamadou Sidibe and into the far corner of the net to give Steve McClaren's side a perfect start to the section against their fellow tournament debutants.
Egaleo coach Stefan Demol was without key strikers Anastasios Agritis and Günter Friesenbichler through injury, leaving Nikolaos Nikolopoulos up front. McClaren, meanwhile, opted to leave Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gaizka Mendieta, George Boateng and Ugo Ehiogu on the bench, although Mark Viduka returned from a back injury.
Early Egaleo pressure
Both teams began positively, but the home side had much of the early initiative with Georgios Fotakis and Georgios Barkoglou both testing Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with free-kicks and Ioannis Chloros a constant threat on the Egaleo right.
Mendieta came on for James Morrison at the interval and immediately helped the English club wrest the initiative. Sidibe was forced to parry Doriva's low drive within three minutes of the restart, and though Chloros again threatened two minutes later, Middlesbrough began to dominate.
With his team in the ascendancy, McClaren sent on Hasselbaink and Downing for Viduka and Zenden on 70 minutes, and was duly rewarded moments later with Downing's winner. Egaleo pressed for a late equaliser but Middlesbrough resisted stoutly and will welcome S.S. Lazio on 4 November with three points to their name. Egaleo visit FK Partizan the same night.