Fenerbahçe SK needed a late goal from Bekir İrtegün to salvage a 1-1 draw against SC Vaslui in their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round opener in Istanbul.
As expected, Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman included marquee summer signings Dirk Kuyt and Egemen Korkmaz in his starting lineup. The hosts, though, struggled to make the most of home advantage and were left vulnerable to Vaslui's counterattacking style. Nicolae Stanciu had a chance to put the visitors in front inside 15 minutes but his shot was too tame to beat Volkan Demirel.
The Turkish outfit slowly started to find their feet and had a chance of their own when Kuyt dribbled into the penalty area, only for his shot to be deflected off target. It was a merely brief halt to Vaslui's momentum, however, with Demirel required on the half-hour to keep out Marius Niculae's low shot. The home keeper was again called upon before the break in order to rebuff Lucian Sânmărtean's free-kick.
Vaslui may not have been as fluid in the second half, but they nevertheless broke the deadlock with 15 minutes remaining thanks to Liviu Antal's precise shot into the bottom corner. Fenerbahçe looked in grave danger of heading to Romania next week facing a real uphill struggle, but Alex's right-wing cross was met decisively by Bekir's head in the final minute of normal time to ensure honours ended even.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.