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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

European Cup Draw Leaves Spartak Needing a Miracle




Spartak Moscow's minimal chances for a second-round Champions League berth took a serious blow when it managed just a 1-1 draw with Dutch side Willem II Tilburg at Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday night.


Spartak's fate hinged on the outcome of the game and that of the Sparta Prague-Bordeaux matchup later Tuesday.


With Spartak's draw, Sparta needed only a draw against Bordeaux on Tuesday to advance to clinch a second-round berth and consign Spartak to a UEFA Cup berth.


Spartak was in desperate need of a win in order to set up a showdown for second place with Sparta Prague away next Wednesday, and its chances looked good when Artem Bezrodny scored in the 25th minute of the first half.


But Russian under-21 international Bezrodny wasted an excellent chance to make it 2-0 shortly after the interval before Ousmane Sanou equalized in the 69th minute.


The Willem II striker outran Spartak defender Yevgeny Bushmanov on a muddy pitch and he slid the ball past keeper Alexander Filimonov into the far corner of the net.


To add to Spartak's misery, Yury Kovtun was sent off for a professional foul in the 92nd minute - his second red card in his last three Champions League matches.


Spartak trailed Sparta Prague by four points in Group G going into the game against Willem II, which had yet to earn a point in the group. Bordeaux clinched a spot in the second round with its 2-1 win against Spartak in Moscow last Wednesday.


Head coach Oleg Romantsev was back on the sidelines after being hospitalized with heart trouble after that loss, but Spartak was still without Brazilian striker Luis Robson, who was sitting out the last of a three-game suspension.


Romantsev was released from the hospital Sunday.