A goal deep into added time from substitute Mushaga Bakenga secured three points for group stage newcomers Esbjerg fB and inflicted a first defeat of the season on R. Standard de Liège at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.
Without a win in their last four domestic outings, it was no surprise to see the visitors struggle early on, but after a rocky first half-hour they showed their potential and went ahead courtesy of Mick van Buren. Mujangi Bia levelled three minutes after entering from the bench, but Bakenga had the final say to seal the win.
Holding a perfect league record after seven games, as well as wining all six in qualifying, the hosts duly imposed themselves from the off. Julien De Sart rattled a shot at goal which visiting captain Hans Henrik Andreasen did outstandingly well to block, before Paul-José Mpoku tested goalkeeper Frederik Rønnow with a curling free-kick.
Early substitute Michy Batshuayi whistled two efforts a fraction wide, but, as the half wore on, Niels Frederiksen's side showed that it was no fluke they disposed of AS Saint-Étienne in the play-offs as Jakob Ankersen drove over before a goal-line clearance from Jelle Van Damme denied Emil Lyng.
Belief continued to grow in the Esbjerg ranks and the visitors were rewarded on 63 minutes when Lyng was slipped in down the left and his powerful cross was met by the head of Van Buren. Bia was thrown on by Guy Luzon in response, and with his first real contribution he stroked in from the edge of the area after Paul-José Mpoku had laid the ball off.
There was more to come, however, as in the 95th minute Esbjerg broke at pace and Ankersen was released on the right, pulling back to the waiting Bakenga, who made no mistake.
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