Two goals from Seydou Doumbia helped CSKA Moscow salvage a 2-2 draw with Lille in their Group B opener in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Senegal striker Moussa Sow scored with a backheel flick in the 45th minute before midfielder Benoit Pedretti doubled the lead in the 57th.
Lille dominated possession with its passing game but Doumbia took advantage of the hosts’ defensive frailties to pull one back for CSKA in the 72nd and make for a nervy finish.
The Ivory Coast forward then beat goalkeeper Mickael Landreau to equalize in the 90th.
”It’s infuriating because we were leading 2-0,” Pedretti said. ”In the end, it’s not a great result.”
Sow did not get off to a good start as he wasted two clear-cut chances early in the match.
Marko Basa knocked the ball down for Sow in the 19th, but the Senegal striker had his back to the goal and could only flick over the bar from five yards. Sow then collected the ball over the top from Pedretti the following minute to be clean through on goal, but dragged his shot wide.
CSKA struggled to thwart Lille’s passing game, but the hosts lacked the finishing touch.
Franck Beria charged down the left flank in the 22nd but CSKA goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov stopped the Lille fullback’s angled shot.
Florent Balmont then broke forward from midfield on a counterattack in the 33rd only to shoot straight at Gabulov.
Gabulov kept frustrating Lille by denying Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard and Pedretti in the 44th.
It took a set piece for Lille to open the scoring on the stroke of halftime. Pedretti redirected a corner toward Sow, who hit the post. But David Rozehnal pounced on the rebound to cut the ball back for Sow, whose backheel flick beat Gabulov.
CSKA nearly equalized in the 54th when Brazilian forward Vagner Love fed Zoran Tosic on a counterattack, but the Serbian midfielder’s curling shot crashed against the post.
Lille reacted in the 57th. Ludovic Obraniak released Balmont down the right flank and the Lille midfielder pulled the ball back for Pedretti who fired into the top corner from the edge of the box for a 2-0 lead.
A lapse of concentration nearly cost Lille a goal in the 58th. Vagner Love played Doumbia in but the Ivory Coast forward missed the target from 14 yards.
Lille pushed to add a third goal. The CSKA defense poorly cleared a free kick from Hazard in the 65th and Basa pounced on the loose ball only to have his close-range effort cleared off the goal line.
Doumbia cut Lille’s lead in the 72nd by dribbling past Rozehnal to slip the ball past Landreau, and CSKA then took advantage of the French team’s increasing passivity to level in the closing minutes. Doumbia played a one-two with midfielder Alan Dzagoev to penetrate inside the area and shoot high past Landreau for the equalizer.
”It’s a big frustration,” Pedretti said. ”In the future, we must play 90 minutes and not just 70. It’s a lesson we have to learn – always press high up the pitch and always play forward.”
”We tried at times to hold on to the ball, but we were no longer playing forward. We were keeping the ball at the back. Even when we had the ball 60 meters from our goal, we played it back to our goalkeeper. In the end, we made small mistakes that cost us goals.”
Trabzonspor stunned Inter Milan 1-0 in Group B’s other game.
Lille next visits Trabzonspor on Sept. 27 while CSKA hosts Inter Milan.