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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Titov Returns to Spartak After Ban

Spartak Moscow hosted Latvian champion Skonto Riga on Saturday to mark the return of captain Yegor Titov after his one-year ban for doping.

Titov was suspended by UEFA last January after testing positive for the banned stimulant bromantan following Russia's Euro 2004 playoff first leg against Wales in Moscow in November 2003 when he was an unused substitute.

He played in the second leg in Cardiff four days later when Russia won 1-0 to secure a place in last year's finals in Portugal. Wales' protest to kick Russia out of the tournament was rejected by UEFA.

"I'm a free man now," Titov, one of Russia's best recognized and most influential players, told reporters after Saturday's match, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

The 28-year-old playmaker was impressive in his first competitive game in over a year, setting up Spartak's first goal by Argentine forward Fernando Cavenaghi.

Without Titov in the lineup, Spartak, which has won nine Russian league titles since 1992, had struggled for much of last season, finishing in eighth spot and missing out on a place in Europe.

Spartak general director Yury Pervak said Saturday that his team was hoping to enter the Intertoto Cup this year.