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Partizan leave it late

Published: Friday 4 October 2002, 0.05CET
FK Partizan 3-3 Sporting Clube de Portugal (Agg: 6-4) Partizan score twice late on to secure victory behind closed doors.
Published: Friday 4 October 2002, 0.05CET

Partizan leave it late

FK Partizan 3-3 Sporting Clube de Portugal (Agg: 6-4) Partizan score twice late on to secure victory behind closed doors.

FK Partizan scored twice in the dying minutes of injury time to secure a dramatic 3-3 draw at home against Sporting Clube de Portugal and a 6-4 aggregate victory in their UEFA Cup second-round tie.

Partizan punishment
The Yugoslavian side, playing in front of closed doors due to crowd trouble at their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first-leg match against FC Bayern München, spent much of the match on the back foot before their late flurry.

Sporting in control
Indeed, Sporting, trailing 3-1 from the first leg in Lisbon, were the better side for much of the match with Quaresma, Toñito, Beto and Christiano Ronaldo all in impressive form. Toñito opened the scoring after 18 minutes, when he trapped Rui Bento's centre on his chest, advanced and beat goalkeeper Radiša Ilic from close range.

Lead doubled
Sporting's dominance continued after the restart, with Vitali Kutuzov doubling their advantage and levelling the aggregate score with a rasping drive that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Cakar makes mark
Partizan needed inspiration and coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic attempted to provide it by introducing the not fully fit veteran Damir Cakar on the hour mark. The gamble paid off as he had an immediate settling effect on the Yugoslavian side. And he turned provider as Partizan made it 2-1 after 78 minutes, when his excellent cross found the unmarked Andrija Delibasic, who headed in with ease.

Sporting back in charge
But Sporting hit back again eight minutes from the end of regulation time to send the game into extra time. Toñito was the catalyst with a brilliant run down the right, and his cross was finished off by Pablo Contreras. Sporting continued to dominate in the first period of extra-time but were unable to add to their tally.

Partizan late show
Partizan reasserted themselves in the final 15 minutes, and 18-year old Dejan Zivkovic put them ahead on aggregate after 110 minutes when he scored from Cakar's corner. That broke Sporting's resistance and Cakar sealed the 6-4 aggregate success by applying the finish touch to a counterattack in the dying seconds.

Honest Tumbakovic
Partizan coach Tumbakovic was candid in his post-match reaction. He said: "I hope everyone understands how bad Partizan played tonight. It was only all right in the final 15 minutes and luck was with us. There are two reasons for such a performance. Firstly, I had seven key players injured and secondly, the fantastic Sporting team who totally outplayed us."

Last updated: 04/10/02 11.18CET