FC Sheriff and FC Steaua Bucureşti traded late goals in a 1-1 draw that maintains the Moldovan champions' hopes of progressing from Group H while eliminating their Romanian visitors.
A tight game of few chances came alive in the last seven minutes as Amath Diedhiou's strike looked to have earned the hosts the points before Juan Toja's half-volley brought the visitors level moments later. With FC Twente losing at home to Fenerbahçe SK, Sheriff sit two points behind the second-placed Dutch side going into their final fixture in Istanbul.
Cagey first half
Although Sheriff and Steaua occupied the section's bottom two places at kick-off, there was a lack ambition among both sets of players in the first half. The home team's Constantin Arbănaş shot over in the 17th minute, but there was precious little further action until Sheriff's Vladimir Volkov overran the ball as he bore down on goal a minute before the break. The hosts' best chance was soon followed by the visitors', as Bănel Nicoliţă's cross was headed centimetres wide by Bogdan Stancu.
In need of nothing less than victory, Steaua had to open up. In the 55th minute Nicoliţă delivered another accurate centre which goalkeeper Stanislav Namaşco could only spill at the feet of substitute Pantelis Kapetanos. However, with his first touch after coming on, the replacement could only side-foot against the bar with the goalkeeper and defenders scrambling to cover.
With time ebbing away Diedhiou picked up a long clearance and stabbed a tame effort towards goal from 20 metres. It seemed a straightforward save for Robinson Zapata but, to his horror, it trickled under him. However, Mihai Stoichiţă's team responded three minutes from time, Toja rifling in to earn Steaua – who had Petre Marin sent off deep into added time – a point, if not enough save their UEFA Europa League ambitions.