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Canas rescues historic point for Kazakhstan's Astana

01 october 2015, 15:04
Photo courtesy of Turar Kazangapov©
Photo courtesy of Turar Kazangapov©

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, AFP reports.

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 Galatsaray left-back Lionel Carole could only help Canas' header on its way in as Astana earned their first ever point in Europe's premier club competition.

"It was an historic match for Kazakh football," said Astana coach Stanimir Stoilov.

"We were under serious pressure in the first half, but in the second we managed to show strong character. 

"In general I'm pleased with the result but I believe that we deserved a win today as we missed plenty of chances in the second half," he added.

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.

Photo courtesy of Turar Kazangapov©

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.

Galatasaray's Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (L) fights for the ball with Astana's defender from Bosnia-Herzegovina Marin Anicic and Astana's Colombian midfielder Roger Henao Canas. ©AFP

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 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, enabledAstana to snatch a point as Canas followed up a punched clearance for an 89th-minute equaliser with Carole only able to help the ball on its way into the net.

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