Dundee United’s Europa League hopes were dented in cruel fashion, with a stoppage time goal from Dinamo Moscow denying the Terrors a sensational win, meaning they head to Russia next week with the tie balanced at 2-2.
Peter Houston’s side had been on course to take a slender one goal lead into the second leg in Moscow, following goals from Willo Flood and Keith Watson, but a deflected Alexander Kokorin strike a minute from full-time denied United.
United appeared content early on with looking for front man, Jon Daly, working off his knock downs as they looked to build an attack. This meant Gary Mackay-Steven and Johnny Russell found it difficult to get into the opening exchanges as both sides felt their way gently into the tie.
The first real chance of the match fell to the Russians, with former Germany international striker, Kevin Kuranyi getting in the way of teammate, Zvjezdan Misimovic from Balazs Dzsudzsak’s deep cross to the back post. Misimovic looked to have the easy task of finishing into the gaping goal, but Kuranyi failed to recognize his teammate’s run behind him and headed tamely out for a goal kick.
And Kuranyi was to blame for Dinamo once again after Misimovic threaded an excellent ball in between the United defence for the striker. The German swung in preparation for a shot on goal, but failed to co-ordinate his feet with his brain and fell flat on his face, much to the Tannadice crowd’s delight.
But it was the Terrors who found the breakthrough nine minutes before half time, Flood calmly slotting home in off the post after John Rankin’s shot was deflected into his path 16 yards out.
The goal appeared to inspire the home side and could’ve doubled their lead shortly after through Russell, but he skewed his shot wide from just 8 yards wide under pressure from the scrambling Dinamo defence.
However, after the break Dinamo gathered themselves and restored parity through Igor Semshov, who headed in under little pressure from Kokorin’s cross.
Kuranyi, who had looked disinterested in the first half, began to get involved in his side’s attacking moves and drew an excellent save from United keeper, Radslaw Cierzniak from 10 yards.
Minutes later Cierzniak was called upon again, saving from Kuranyi again, this time a point blanc header, and stretching to tip over a curling Misimovic effort from outside the box.
Rankin saw a driving effort fizz just past the post before Mackay-Steven sensationally hit the post following a blunder from Dinamo keeper, Anton Shunin, who fumbled an easy catch from a floated cross on to his own woodwork.
But United did re-take the lead after 75 minutes when Keith Watson scrambled home from a matter of yards following a stramash inside the area. Mackay-Steven’s corner was headed at goal by Gunning only for Shunin to pull off an excellent save with his feet. Daly pounced on the rebound, with his effort cleared off the line, before Watson finally slammed home from close range.
Houston’s side went looking for a third in the minutes that followed, knowing that a 2-1 lead wouldn’t quite be enough to take to Moscow to ensure progression, although Cierzniak was forced to make another solid stop from Kokorin.
However, in stoppage time Dinamo grabbed an undeserved equalizer, as Kokorin saw his hopeful effort from outside the box take a deflection and find the top corner of the United goal.
It was a sickening way to concede and the goal has important ramifications for the Terrors as they head east for the second leg next week without a lead, when their performance in the home leg warranted one.
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Dillon, Douglas, Gunning, Flood, Russell, Rankin, Daly, Ryan, Mackay-Steven, Watson. Subs: Banks, McLean, Millar, Gardyne, Armstrong, Dow, Robertson.
Dinamo Moscow: Shunin, Wilkshire, Rykov, Schildenfeld, Lomic, Dzsudzsak, Yusupov (Sapeta), Semshov, Misimovic, Kokorin, Kuranyi. Subs: Frolov, Fernandez, Noboa, Bakkal, Niakhaichyk, Panyukov.
Referee: Ionut Marius Avram
Assistant Referees: Miklos Istvan Nagy, Valentin Gabriel Avram
Fourth Official: Dragos Istrate
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