Champions League

Canas rescues historic point for Astana

2015-09-30 20:44
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Astana - Roger Canas rescued a point for Astana in a 2-2 draw at home to Galatasaray as the Kazakh side became the first team from the Central Asian nation to stage a match in the Champions League group stage.

Bilal Kisa's stunning first-half strike in Kazakhstan put the Turkish champions in front but an own-goal from Hakan Balta restored parity at the Astana Arena.

A terrible mistake from Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric appeared to have handed all three points to the visitors but Colombian Canas headed home a late equaliser to cap a frenetic finale and earn Astana their first ever point in Europe's premier club competition.

The result left both sides with one point from two matches in Group C, behind both Atletico Madrid and Benfica, who face off in the Spanish capital later, on three points.

Having lost 2-0 at Benfica a fortnight ago, Astana were hoping to fare better on their home debut in the Champions League but Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder nearly crashed the party with just four minutes gone when his fierce left-footed shot forced an excellent save from Eric.

With Ghanaian striker Patrick Twumasi still serving a suspension, Georgi Zhukov's low strike that was easily gathered by Galatasaray 'keeper Fernando Muslera represented the lone effort of note for the home side before the visitors forged ahead on 30 minutes.

Sneijder rolled the ball into the path of Bilal, making his European debut following his close-season arrival from Akhisar Belediyespor, and he unleashed a swerving 35-yard strike that caught Eric cold in the home goal.

Lukas Podolski stung the palms of Eric just before the interval but Astana rallied in the second half with only a crucial touch from left-back Lionel Carole preventing Baurzhan Dzholchiyev from equalising.

Foxi Kethevoama should have levelled when he was picked out by Dmitri Shomko but the unmarked Astana captain volleyed wide from 10 yards out.

However, the hosts did draw level as Hakan Balta unwittingly bundled the ball into his own net on 77 minutes after Junior Kabananga's cross was tipped into the defender's path by Muslera.

A terrible mistake from Eric allowed Galatasaray to retake the lead four minutes from time, though, as the Serbian 'keeper diverted Sinan Gumus' cross over his own goal line.

But some more less than decisive goalkeeping, this time from Muslera, enabled Astana to snatch a point as Canas followed up a punched clearance to head in an 89th-minute equaliser and extend Galatasaray's winless run in Europe to 10 matches.

Read more on:    galatasaray  |  astana  |  soccer
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