FC Sheriff 1-1 NK Dinamo Zagreb
The visitors raced out of the blocks but ended with ten men and an away draw ahead of next week's return in Croatia.
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FC Sheriff and NK Dinamo Zagreb are locked at 1-1 after the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie in Moldova.
Dinamo, so nearly the victims of a remarkable comeback by FC Koper in the previous round, were on the front foot early on in Tiraspol, Brazilian midfielder Sammir giving them a third-minute lead. That was as good as it got for Velimir Zajec's side, as Sheriff drew level through Aleksandr Erokhin ten minutes prior to half-time. The Croatian titleholders' downturn in fortune was complete with the 61st-minute dismissal of Tomislav Barbarić.
It started far more brightly for the visitors, Sammir racing past Vazha Tarkhnishvili before lobbing Sheriff goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov from an acute angle. The home team went close to levelling on the half-hour when José Nadson's header struck the bar, but had to wait only another five minutes to restore parity. Vladimir Branković's free-kick was not dealt with by the Dinamo defence and Erokhin pounced, leaving Tomislav Butina with no chance from close range.
Sheriff were stirred into life by that goal and received a further fillip 16 minutes into the second half when Barbarić was sent off. Dinamo were second best for the remainder of the match and were left grateful for the exploits of captain Butina, who denied Amath Diedhiou, Milos Adamovic and Vladimir Volkov to ensure honours ended even.