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Last-gasp Genk denies Stuttgart win

VfB Stuttgart 1-1 KRC Genk
Glynor Plet struck a 91st-minute equaliser to deny Bruno Labbadia's side their first win of 2013 and earn a narrow advantage in this last-32 tie.

Christian Gentner (No20) celebrates his goal for Stuttgart
Christian Gentner (No20) celebrates his goal for Stuttgart ©Getty Images

Glynor Plet struck a 91st-minute equaliser as visitors KRC Genk fought back to deny VfB Stuttgart a welcome win.

Bruno Labbadia's side have endured a torrid start to 2013, losing four out of four in the Bundesliga, but Christian Gentner's predatory 42nd-minute strike took them to the verge of victory. Substitute Plet had other ideas, though, nodding in when Arthur Boka could only miscue Steven Joseph-Monrose's cross into the air to leave this UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie all square.

In truth that goal had not looked like coming as Stuttgart battened down the hatches in the second period. How different from the first half, when the hosts attacked with purpose and could have forged ahead on 15 minutes when Kalidou Koulibaly's slip allowed Vedad Ibišević in, but with only László Köteles to beat his drive was too close to the goalkeeper.

Sven Ulreich was also kept warm at the other end as the mercury dipped below zero, beating away Elyaniv Barda's shot with the expectant Jelle Vossen lurking on the rebound. Yet it was Genk's Köteles who was the busier, doing well to keep out Martin Harnik's snap-shot but then being fortunate when his poor punch was not punished. Just before half-time, another error brought no reprieve.

Gotoku Sakai drove a deflected ball into the box which the slightly unsighted keeper could not hold; he clawed the ball away from Ibišević but straight into the path of Gentner, who lifted it high into the net. It was Stuttgart's cue to ease off, drop their defensive line and focus on keeping Genk at bay – they so nearly did but Plet's late leveller means it is 1-1 going into next week's second leg in Belgium, when Stuttgart will be without the suspended Georg Niedermeier.