UEFA Cup holders PFC CSKA Moskva's title defence is in the balance after a narrow defeat at FC Dinamo Bucuresti left them on the brink of exiting the competition at the group stage.
Vlad Munteanu scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half, pouncing on the loose ball after Ianis Zicu had cannoned a shot back off the crossbar following a strong run down the right. It was just deserts for an impressive performance by the under-fire Romanian side, who needed to win to remain in contention in Group F and now go into their final fixture as masters of their own destiny.
CSKA have completed their own fixtures and will face a nervous Matchday 5 as they can only qualify if Olympique de Marseille, who have already qualified, beat Dinamo. They could be disappointed if Ioan Andone's side perform as they did tonight, with Dinamo having swept aside the Russian champions in some style in difficult conditions in Bucharest.
The home side made a bright start but were let down by some poor finishing as George Galamaz, Adrian Cristea and Ianis Zicu all spurned early opportunities. Instead it was Elvir Rahimić who forced the first save of the game at the other end, although Vladimir Gayev was hardly troubled and took an easy catch. He should have received a sterner test when Rahimić headed an excellent chance over, but Dinamo soon regained the initiative.
Munteanu, Florentin Petre and Zicu all blazed wide of the mark when well place before half-time. Claudiu Niculescu finally tested Igor Akinfeev after the restart, but his poorly directed header was easily dealt with. The CSKA goalkeeper was in action again shortly afterwards, smothering Munteanu's shot as the home team, who picked up one point from their opening two Group F fixtures, continued to press.
They looked like they might pay for their profligacy when Daniel Carvalho went through but the Brazilian shot wide and Munteanu soon handed Dinamo the lead, driving into the unguarded net from close range. Substitute Mariko Daouda almost doubled the advantage but it did not matter as the side held on, and now lie third.