Brazilian Fernandinho's second-half equaliser earned Shakhtar Donetsk a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final in Ukraine's capital on Thursday.
Dynamo controlled much of the game at their tree-lined Valeri Lobanovskiy stadium and led after 22 minutes when Shakhtar defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy diverted an Olexandr Aliyev free kick into his own net.
Aliyev's fiercely struck cross into the danger area was helped on by Dynamo striker Ismael Bangoura and struck Chygrynskiy close to the goal, leaving keeper Andriy Pyatov helpless.
Dynamo's Carlos Correa grazed the upright with a deflected shot from distance just before halftime as the hosts pressed for a second goal.
Shakhtar, who trail their Ukraine rivals by 12 points in their domestic championship, showed little attacking ambition until the second half when they introduced striker Olexandr Gladkiy, who scored twice in the 3-2 Champions League win at the Nou Camp over Barcelona in December.
But it was their Brazilian contingent who conjured the equaliser on 68 minutes. Jadson played substitute Willian into the penalty area and his low cross to the near post was guided home by Fernandinho for a valuable away goal.
"We were not confident in the first half because the players were thinking about the result. Both teams know each other so well so it was not possible to surpise our rivals, just as they could not surprise us," said Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu.
"This was a difficult game but the next one will be even harder," he said.
Dynamo pressed forward again after Shakhtar's equaliser and striker Artem Milevskiy sent a diving header wide while Aliyev was denied a winning goal by a fine save from Pyatov 12 minutes from time.
"It was a quite nervous match and our players didn't cope with the pressure. We had enough opportunity to double our score, but in the end, it was Shakhtar in control and they took the only chance they had," said Dynamo coach Yuri Semin.
Shakhtar's Olexandr Kucher will miss the second leg next week through suspension after being booked midway through the second half.