Daniel Carvalho scored twice as holders PFC CSKA Moskva began their UEFA Cup campaign with a confident 3-1 win against Danish contenders FC Midtjylland.
The match at the Dinamo stadium was played behind closed doors as a punishment for the behaviour of CSKA fans during last season's semi-final against Parma FC, and the muted atmosphere appeared to influence early proceedings as both teams started cautiously. After 18 minutes, CSKA coach Valeri Gazzaev was forced into a reshuffle as Vágner Love, the Brazilian striker whose fitness had been in doubt, made way for defensive midfielder Evgeni Aldonin.
As a consequence, Rolan Gusev and Miloš Krasić switched to more attacking roles - a move which reaped immediate dividends as Krasić threaded a short pass into the feet of Gusev who had the time and composure to place a perfect shot into the far corner. Three minutes later, however, Midtjylland's Razak Pimpong picked up a pass from David Nielsen and levelled with a drive which deflected in off CSKA defender Aleksei Berezutski.
The guests could even have gone ahead before the break when Rasmus Hansen was put through, but as the midfielder rushed past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev he could not keep the ball in play. CSKA were often dominant but did not create many chances until the second half, when Midtjylland committed numerous fouls in dangerous positions to the dismay of overworked goalkeeper Ola Tidman.
Punishment duly arrived as Gusev found Carvalho with a beautifully curled set-piece which the Brazilian headed in. The same combination came up trumps again four minutes later as Carvalho blasted the ball beyond Tidman to seal an assured victory for CSKA.