Italian giants Juventus had to come from two goals behind to earn a draw against Swedish club Djurgarden in the first leg of the third round of qualifying for the European Champions League.
The two time European champions, missing the influential Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved, looked rusty from the kick-off as they struggled to cope with the attacking threat posed by Djurgarden.
With heavy rain making the surface slippery, it was the Swedish side who adapted quickest to the conditions as Fabio Capello’s struggled to get into the game.
Djurgarden went ahead courtesy of a penalty from Andreas Johansson on the stroke of half time and four minutes after the break,Tobias Hysen doubled the lead. Goals by David Trezeguet in the 50th and Emerson in the 59th spared Juve’s blushes but they face a tricky encounter in Sweden in a fortnight’s time, with a place in the group stages by no means a formality.
“We must absolutely win in Sweden, against a tough team,” said Juventus midfielder Emerson.
“Juventus will be in a better form by then, and this gives us some hope.”
Elsewhere, new Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez was happy with his side’s performance after they cruised to a 2-0 win over Austrian side Graz AK..
“We were strong on defence and sometimes on offence. It was very important for us to control the match from the beginning,” Benitez said afterwards.
Captain Steven Gerrard was the driving force behind LIverpool’s success, scoring goals in either half, to ensure a winning start for Benitez.
However, the performance was overshadowed Benitez’s decision to omit Michael Owen from his starting line-up, fuelling speculation that the Eng;and striker is set for a move to Real Madrid.
Benfica defeated Belgian side Anderlecht in Lisbon, with Slovenian striker Zlatko Zahovic scoring the only goal of the game on 12 minutes.
In the night’s other matches, Rangers went down 2-1 in Moscow to CSKA, while Trabzonspor marked their debut in the competition with a 2-1 win over Dynamo Kyiv. Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv, look on course to reach the group stage following their 2-1 victory over PAOK.