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Ventspils recover to draw

FK Ventspils 1-1 Wisla Plock Polish visitors are denied victory by Andrejs Butriks' equaliser.

Polish side Wisla Plock emerged from their trip to Latvia with a 1-1 draw against FK Ventspils in their UEFA Cup first round first-leg tie - having been denied victory by Andrejs Butriks' second-half equaliser.

Good chances
Ventspils began their fourth UEFA Cup campaign strongly. Vits Rimkus volleyed wide after just four minutes and not long afterwards shot close again from the edge of the box. At the other end, Branislav Jasurek was denied by home goalkeeper Denis Romanovs.

Visitors lead
Plock's counterattacks were proving a potent threat and although Sergei Zangareev's strong shot flew just over for Ventspils on 25 minutes, Plock took the lead three minutes before half-time when Dariusz Gesior's diving header beat Romanovs.

Ventspils move forward
A minute later it was nearly 2-0 as Grazvidas Mikulenas hit the post, but after half-time it was Ventspils who had the better of the play. Rimkus hit the bar 12 minutes into the second period, and with the home fans urging their side on, an equaliser came.

Butriks equalises
Substitute forward Andrejs Butriks scored it in the 61st minute, forcing in a shot from a tight angle. The final half-hour was a tight affair, and matters remained level for the return on 28 August in Poland.

'We can still qualify'
After the game, Ventspils coach Saulius Sirmelis said his side had recovered well after falling behind. "We could not play worse than we did towards the end of the first half," he said. "However, we still can qualify for the next round, nothing is lost".

'Nothing is decided'
Plock coach Miroslav Jablonsky said: "We managed to exploit Ventspils' collapse in the first half, but could not score more than one goal. Nothing is decided yet. They are a strong team who can play on the counterattack, and that is what I fear the most for the second leg."