Matador Puchov holds Barcelona 1-1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Milan Jambor's injury time strike earned Matador Puchov of Slovakia a 1-1 draw at home to Barcelona in the first leg of their first round UEFA Cup tie.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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The Slovakian also-rans of Matador Puchov against the might of Barcelona - it should have been no contest at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium on Wednesday. And so it would appear, looking at clear goal-scoring opportunities in the first leg of the first round UEFA Cup tie. Frank Rijkaard's men should have been ahead at the interval - referee Kuddusi Muftuoglo showing a lack of appreciation of the rulebook and wiping out Patrick Kluivert's effort. Presumably, it was for offside – though, that would have been negated by a Puchovplayer in the wall making contact with the ball. 'Barca' did take the lead within four minutes of the restart - this time, Kluivert's effort did count. Only an excellent save from Tomas Bernady denied Ronaldinho doubling the visitor's advantage. And the merest of touches from substitute Saviola would have made it 2-0. But that wasn't the whole story – by far. Puchov didn't have the undoubted class of their much-vaunted visitors. Thanks partly to a passionate crowd, they did play with great heart, and never stopped battling, never gave up – and in the third minute of injury time, earned full reward for their heroism when Milan Jambor equalised. It finished 1-1 - and that most likely, will mean the end of Puchov's UEFA Cup adventure. But for one night at least, the players of Puchov could hold their heads high.

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