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Zürich's Alphonse frustrates Beşiktaş

FC Zürich 1-1 Beşiktaş JK Alexandre Alphonse scored seven minutes into added time to deny Beşiktaş an away-leg victory in Switzerland.

Action from the first leg in Zurich
Action from the first leg in Zurich ©Getty Images

FC Zürich needed a goal seven minutes into added time from Alexandre Alphonse to avoid a home defeat by Beşiktaş JK in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Basel connection
The Turkish visitors had enjoyed a dream start at the Hardturm Stadium, Steve Von Bergen failing to clear his lines and Matías Delgado taking advantage having been teed up by Bobo. As a former FC Basel 1893 player, the goal would have been all the sweeter for the Argentinian. It took Zürich time to recover from such an early, hefty blow, although a dangerous long-range shot from Almen Abdi on 20 minutes lifted the Swiss challengers.

Pinned back
Alphonse then had a great chance to level for Zürich, but composure deserted the 25-year-old Frenchman with just visiting goalkeeper Hakan Arikan to beat. The start of the second half signalled no respite for Beşiktaş, who were pinned back for the remainder of the contest – save for a couple of forays forward which ended with Delgado and Serdar Özkan failing to find the target.

For Zürich, Abdi threatened with a 77th-minute free-kick and soon after should have done better with another opportunity. With a loss drawing ever closer, and 97 minutes on the clock, coach Bernard Challandes urged his team forward for one final push which resulted in Alphonse tucking in a rebound from close range after Alain Rochat's shot had been spilled. More drama is surely in store at the Inönü Stadium, where this tie will be played to a finish in two weeks' time.