Cleiton Xavier's last-gasp penalty will give FC Metalist Kharkiv renewed hope of clinching a semi-final spot after they had looked set to leave Lisbon trailing Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-0 at the halfway stage of their tie.
Unbeaten in their last ten European home games, Sporting initially struggled to cope with their lively visitors, but they had more than gained a foothold by the time Marat Izmailov stabbed in shortly after the restart. Emiliano Insúa then gave them breathing space, yet competition top scorers Metalist hit back in added time via their captain after goalkeeper Rui Patrício had brought down substitute Marko Dević in the area.
True to coach Myron Markevich's pre-match promise, the Ukrainian side made a vigorous start, pressing their opponents high up the pitch and looking to release the sprightly Jonathan Cristaldo. Boasting eight South Americans in their lineup, their passing was relentlessly clean and crisp, though they struggled to generate much end product.
Sporting relied on their more bustling qualities and Daniel Carriço forced the first save of the game when he tested Oleksandr Goryainov from distance. The same player then swept a bouncing ball beyond the far post, after former Sporting colleague Marco Torsiglieri had picked up a yellow card that rules him out of next week's decider – a fate later suffered by Torsiglieri's fellow centre-back Papa Gueye and Carriço himself.
The chance of the half went the home side's way as their confidence increased, Goryainov's misjudged punch from a Matías Fernández free-kick directing the ball to Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The Dutch forward was unable to control his shot, but Izmailov proved infinitely more clinical six minutes after the restart, sliding in Diego Capel's cross following a one-two with Insúa.
Patrício showed strong hands to deny Cristaldo as Metalist sought a response, yet it was the Lions who registered next, Insúa smashing the ball low to Goryainov's left from Stijn Schaars' short free-kick. Patrício then protected his team's gains by palming away a Taison attempt and foiling Dević at point-blank range. He was also quick off his line to thwart José Ernesto Sosa – but Metalist would not be denied a potentially vital away goal.
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