CSKA Moscow showed real character in coming from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw away at French side Lille in their opening UEFA Champions League match.
CSKA lost their No. 1 keeper, Igor Akinfeev, for half a year with a knee injury just before the start of Europe’s top club competition.
His substitute, Vladimir Gabulov, who was loaned from Anzhi, had plenty of work to do in his debut for the Armymen.
CSKA were destroyed by city rivals Dynamo 4-0 over the weekend and the game in Lille showed that their form hasn’t much improved during the last couple of days.
The French champions were in full control and Moussa Sow capitalized on his third big chance of the night to give the hosts a well-deserved lead in the last minute of the opening half.
The striker first hit the post, but then back-heeled the ball into the net after it was returned to him by his Lille partner, 1-0.
CSKA managed to come up with their first reasonable counterattack only 10 minutes after the restart, and it was a dangerous one.
Vagner Love ran more than a half of the pitch to set up Zoran Tosic for a curved shot into keeper Mickael Landreau’s far post.
In the 57th minute, Lille doubled their advantage, with Benoit Pedretti blasting it in from the edge of the box.
But the Muscovites didn’t give up as Seydou Doumbia broke through the French defense in a solo effort, getting one goal back in the 72nd minute.
The hosts then pulled back, trying to maintain the winning score, while CSKA kept looking for chances.
And they found one in the last minute of regular time. Doumbia played a lovely one-two with Alan Dzagoev and discovered himself in front of Lille’s goal – a position from which the in-form striker rarely misses, 2-2.
The other Group B game had an even more sensational score, as group favorite Inter Milan was beaten by the visitors from Trabzonspor.
The Turkish side came up with the encounter’s only goal in the 76th minute. Ondrej Celustka was first on the rebound after his teammate Halil Altintop shook the Italian crossbar, 0-1.
UEFA Champions League’s Matchday 1 scores:
Man. City 1-1 Napoli
Villarreal 0-2 Bayern
Lille 2-2 CSKA Moscow
Inter 0-1 Trabzonspor
Basel 2-1 Otelul Galati
Benfica 1-1 Man. United
Dinamo Zagreb 0-1 Real Madrid
Ajax 0-0 Lyon