Moscow, Aug 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Three goals in 10 minutes saw Spartak Moscow beat Fenerbahce 2-1 at home in a first-leg Champions league playoff match, with striker Emmanuel Emenike on target against his former club.
Emenike, who joined Spartak last year after just two months at Fenerbahce, scored on 59 minutes Tuesday, hammering the ball into the net after pouncing on a low left-wing cross from Dmitry Kombarov.
Fenerbahce levelled the score and grabbed an important away goal six minutes later as ex-Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt struck from a narrow angle into the empty net after Moussa Sow set him up with a cushioned header in the penalty area.
Spartak restored their lead within four minutes as Kombarov lashed the ball into the net off a corner from ex-Celtic midfielder Aiden McGeady.
We controlled the game the whole 90 minutes, although we allowed our opponents to convert one of the two dangerous chances they managed to create, Spartak coach Unai Emery said.
Of course, it is painful that we lost, but the second game is in seven days, so we have to show the result at home, supported by our fans, Fenerbahce midfielder Milos Krasic said.
Spartak started the first half brightly, keeping Fenerbahce's occasional attacking thrusts under control, but missed several good chances.
Former Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov could have headed in an opener three minutes after kickoff, but the ball whizzed past the post.
Fenerbahce goalkeeper Mert Gunok saved his team from a bouncing header by Brazilian striker Ari that threatened to loop in under the crossbar as Gunok hurried back to tip it over.
A minute later Ari, attempted another header but this time it was blocked.
On 24 minutes Bilyaletdinov tried to volley the ball into the net from the cross by midfielder Evgeni Makeev, but his powerful kick went wide.
Sow missed Fenerbahce's only clear-cut chance on the first half on 35 minutes as he sent the ball far above the bar from inside the penalty area.
Early in the second half, Fenerbahce the chance to open the scoring, but Spartak goalkeeper Andriy Dikan saved Brazilian midfielder Cristian's header.
Spartak could have extended their lead at 82 minutes, but McGeady scooped the ball over the bar from four yards after connecting with a pass from striker Artem Dzyuba.
Spartak fans celebrated the start of the second half with flares, which led to smoke floating around the stadium for much of the half. Use of pyrotechnics regularly attracts UEFA sanctions in European competition.
The second leg will take place August 29 in Istanbul.
Fenerbahce returned to European competition this year after being banned from last year's Champions League amid a match-fixing scandal related to Turkish Super Lig games.
Spartak are bidding to end Russian teams' poor record in the Champions League playoffs and become the first Russian team to reach the group stage that way.