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Legia weather storm to hold Molde

Molde FK 1-1 Legia Warszawa
Despite being forced onto the back foot for much of the contest, the Polish champions came away from Norway with a crucial away goal.

Vladimir Dvalishvili headed the equaliser for Legia
Vladimir Dvalishvili headed the equaliser for Legia ©Getty Images

Legia Warszawa have given themselves a slim advantage in the race to reach the UEFA Champions League play-offs after earning a 1-1 first-leg draw at Molde FK in the third qualifying round.

Georgian forward Vladimir Dvalishvili was the hero for Jan Urban's visitors, heading beyond home goalkeeper Orjan Haskjold in the second half to negate Daniel Chima's 29th-minute strike. Molde's Fredrik Gulbrandsen was dismissed on 74 minutes for his second bookable offence.

Legia's equaliser was against the run of play in a match that Norwegian champions Molde dominated from the outset. Indeed, the hosts could have been two goals to the good early on if Vegard Forren's bouncing volley had crept inside the post or Gulbrandsen's clip over the onrushing Dušan Kuciak had been a little more exacting.

Chima was clinical when it counted, though, producing a smart side-footed finish after having skilfully beaten his marker and driven to the left upright. Kuciak then beat away a Jo Inge Berget effort to leave Chima's strike as the difference at the break.

The pattern barely shifted after half-time, and Gulbrandsen was guilty of picking out the side netting after again skipping beyond the goalkeeper. On 68 minutes, however, Molde were finally punished for their profligacy, when Tomasz Brzyski's sumptuous curling cross was met emphatically at the back post by an unmarked Dvalishvili. 

If Legia's leveller winded the home team, Gulbrandsen's second yellow card was no less damaging to their prospects. A Kuciak double save then foiled Molde's late rally, and Ole Gunnar Solskjær's men will visit the Polish title holders next week in search of a goal.

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