United denied by Dinamo
Dundee United were twice pegged back by Dinamo Moscow as they played out an exciting 2-2 draw in their Europa League third qualifying round tie.
Last Updated: 02/08/12 10:23pm
Dundee United were twice pegged back by Dinamo Moscow as they played out an exciting 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.
Willo Flood broke the deadlock for United in the 37th minute and Keith Watson restored their lead after Igor Semshov had headed the Russians level.
But a deflected injury-time strike from Alexander Kokorin silenced the home crowd at Tannadice and ensured there was nothing between the sides going into the second leg.
The visitors created a number of chances but they looked vulnerable at set-pieces and struggled to contain Gary Mackay-Steven.
United's performance was all the more impressive considering manager Peter Houston lost first-team regulars Dusan Pernis, Scott Robertson, Paul Dixon and Garry Kenneth in the summer - with goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak the only debutant after several players shook off injury concerns.
The Russians started brightly and were looking bigger, stronger and slicker on the ball and United survived several scares involving striker Kevin Kuranyi.
The Germany international and Zvjezdan Misimovic got in each other's way after a cross caught out the home defence and the forward then miskicked and fell over after being played through.
Kuranyi produced a better effort from Marko Lomic's cross but headed just wide.
United had not threatened Anton Shunin before the goalkeeper was picking the ball out of his net.
John Rankin's shot deflected off a defender's heel and fell perfectly for the unmarked Flood, who drove the ball in off the far post.
The atmosphere and the home team were immediately transformed by the Irishman's goal as Moscow survived some real pressure.
Jon Daly's 20-yard shot was deflected wide for a corner and the striker was inches away from meeting Barry Douglas' delivery.
A low cross from Douglas then fell for Johnny Russell but his powerful shot flashed just wide after coming off a charging defender.
Flood's cross then allowed Daly a free header at the back post but the striker could not meet it head on and his effort flashed well wide.
Dinamo almost pulled a goal back from the resulting goal-kick after Kuranyi's header found Kokorin but he lobbed over.
United had the first chance of the second half after a corner when Sean Dillon blazed over when a ball across the face of goal might have set up a team-mate.
But the visitors levelled after left-back Lomic made an untracked overlap. The defender's cross cleared the goalmouth but the ball was chipped back in by Kokorin and Semshov stooped to head home from six yards after getting in front of Gavin Gunning's attempted clearance.
Cierzniak then kept United in it with a series of excellent saves. The Pole blocked Kuranyi's effort before a brilliant one-handed diving stop from the German's header.
Moments later he dived to his other side to push Misimovic's curling effort away from the top corner.
United responded with Mackay-Steven causing problems down the left but again Cierzniak rescued them as he blocked Kokorin's effort.
Both sides continued to attack. Rankin twice threatened from long range and Mackay-Steven's cross was almost palmed in by Shunin after the winger raced past former Middlesbrough full-back Luke Wilkshire.
Tannadice erupted when some persistence paid off following Mackay-Steven's corner.
Shunin saved Gunning's header and Watson converted from close range after Daly's effort was blocked.
United kept the pressure on before dropping back and looked to have survived after Kokorin's shot hit the outside of the post from a tight angle.
But the striker was celebrating two minutes into injury-time after a long ball fell for him 25 yards out. The front player's left-foot strike hit a United defender and looped over Cierzniak and into the top corner.