MOSCOW, Sept 27 (Reuters) - A second-half strike by Nani allowed Sporting Lisbon to snatch a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow in their Champions League match on Wednesday.
Nani equalised for the Portuguese side against the run of
play just before the hour, slotting the ball into an empty net
after dribbling past Spartak keeper Wojciech Kowalewski.
Denis Boyarintsev had fired the home side ahead after four
minutes with a curving shot into the top corner that gave
Sporting goalkeeper Ricardo no chance.
The Russians dominated the Group B encounter at Moscow's
Luzhniki Olympic Stadium, the first Champions League match
played on an artificial pitch, for much of the game.
Boyarintsev could have doubled the lead late in the first
half with another powerful right-footed drive after a great
cross-field pass from Vladimir Bystrov, but this time Ricardo
was equal to the task.
The Portuguese international made another great save early
in the second half, palming a Roman Pavlyuchenko shot from 10
metres after the Spartak striker was set up by Bystrov.
Sporting, missing three key midfielders including captain
Custodio through injury, rarely threatened Spartak in the first
half, although the visitors tried their luck on counter-attacks
after the break.
Spartak pushed forward late in the game but, as in the first
half, missed a string of chances.
The draw extended Spartak's winless run in the Champions
League to a record 19 matches but at least it snapped their
eight-game losing streak in Europe's premier club competition.
It was also Sporting's first point against Spartak after
losing both of their Champions League matches to the Moscow club
during the 2000-01 season.
Inter Milan were hosting Bayern Munich in the other Group B
match later on Wednesday.