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Steaua concede late equaliser at Aktobe

FC Aktobe 2-2 FC Steaua Bucureşti
The Kazakh title holders twice came from behind to ensure this tie remains in the balance ahead of next week's return in Romania.

Claudiu Keșerü wheels away after opening the scoring for Steaua
Claudiu Keșerü wheels away after opening the scoring for Steaua ©Ilya Tarasenko

Robert Arzumanyan's late goal salvaged a draw for FC Aktobe against FC Steaua Bucureşti in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Arzumanyan's 88th-minute finish rescued a deserved draw for Aktobe in an opening instalment full of opportunities. Steaua broke the deadlock just before half-time through Claudiu Keșerü but Valeri Korobkin levelled for the hosts just before the hour. Steaua held firm against despite considerable pressure before Andrei Prepeliţă gave them a second away goal, only for Arzumanyan's late intervention to leave honours even.

The first half was largely dictated by Aktobe as Olexiy Antonov threatened twice in a particularly lively opening phase. However, Steaua grew into the game and opened the scoring when Keșerü capitalised on a misunderstanding between Aktobe keeper Andrei Sidelnikov and captain Andrei Sidelnikov a minute before the break.

The visitors started the second half strongest but this time it was Aktobe who scored against the run of play when Korobkin headed in Marcos Pizzelli's corner. Aktobe continued to attack but the Romanian champions once again snatched the lead, this time courtesy of Prepeliţă's long-range effort.

Igor Zenkovich squandered an opportunity to level proceedings on 83 minutes but with just two minutes of normal time remaining Arzumanyan made no mistake when he latched onto Anderson Mineiro's through ball. The return takes place in Bucharest on 6 August.