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APOEL comeback halts ten-man HJK

HJK Helsinki 2-2 APOEL FC
Two behind at half-time, the Cypriot champions scored twice in four minutes to wipe out a Demba Savage double and hold ten-man HJK.

Tomás De Vincenti was on the scoresheet for APOEL
Tomás De Vincenti was on the scoresheet for APOEL ©Getty Images

APOEL FC came from two goals down to hold ten-man HJK Helsinki in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.

Macoumba Kandji's dismissal after half-time proved fatal to a HJK side that had been in a commanding position. Tomás De Vincenti and Cillian Sheridan each scored for APOEL in a frantic period midway through the second half, erasing the deficit created by Demba Savage's first-half double.

Savage shone during an impressive first period for the Finnish champions, racing clear to break the deadlock after 11 minutes and converting a penalty on the cusp of the interval to stun APOEL.

Kandji's second yellow card shortly after the restart undermined the hosts' good work, and APOEL ruthlessly wiped out the advantage with two goals in four minutes. De Vincenti halved the deficit with a header before crossing for Sheridan to do likewise.

APOEL welcome HJK to the GSP Stadium in Nicosia for the decider next Wednesday.

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