R. Standard de Liège are closing in on the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after recovering from an early setback to record a 3-1 Group B win at FC Vorskla Poltava.
Oleksiy Kurilov put the home side in front inside five minutes, but Mykola Pavlov's men had the wind knocked out of their sails when Luis Manuel Seijas equalised. Heads fell further as Kanu put Standard in front just before the break and Mohamed Tchite then made it 3-1 in the second half to seal a result that, combined with Hannover 96's 2-1 win at FC København, means Vorskla have no chance of reaching the knockout stage.
Standard were the only team in the group stage to go into matchday four without having conceded, but there was little evidence of defensive rigour when Kurilov was allowed to amble in unchallenged and head Ivan Kryvosheyenko's inswinging free-kick past Sinan Bolat. Vorskla were soon sent back to square one, however, when Seijas was invited to advance on goal and send a superb long-range shot past Serhiy Dolganskiy from 25 metres.
Missing their suspended danger man Roman Bezus, Vorskla did what they could to restore their advantage, and Standard had a stroke of luck when defender Laurent Ciman deflected a Jovan Markoski cross just wide of his own goal. Not long after, Ahmed Januzi found the side netting following a quick move from the left, but the Belgian side took the lead four minutes into first-half added time as Kanu finished from close range, Oleg Krasnopyorov having glanced Bia Mujangi's free-kick into his path.
It was a lead José Riga's charges never looked like relinquishing. Vorskla's forays forward rarely penetrated a diligent Standard midfield, and the hosts' situation became even more desperate on 74 minutes when Tchite chased Jelle Van Damme's flighted ball into the box and nodded it into the net despite pressure from Dolganskiy.
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