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Freiburg denied again at home by Estoril

SC Freiburg 1-1 Estoril Praia
For the second UEFA Europa League home match in a row, Freiburg could not hold onto a lead as the visitors picked up their first point in Group H.

Freiburg denied again at home by Estoril
Freiburg denied again at home by Estoril ©UEFA.com

SC Freiburg and Estoril Praia both face an uphill battle to qualify from UEFA Europa League Group H after sharing the spoils in south-west Germany.

Freiburg had let slip a two-goal lead on matchday one against FC Slovan Liberec and, once again, could not keep their noses in front after a strong first half. Vladimír Darida's 11th-minute goal was reward for a positive opening, but Sebá struck after the break to earn Estoril their first point in the section.

Christian Streich's hosts started with purpose and, through pacy forward Admir Mehmedi, had a danger man who immediately caught the attention. Twice in the first ten minutes he went close, forcing visiting goalkeeper Vagner into two diving saves, the second from a powerful header destined for the top corner.

Estoril's Rúben Fernandes placed a similar chance wide, but soon afterwards Freiburg were in front. Jonathan Schmid sprang the offside trap down the left, checked and teed up Darida to drive a shot across goal which sneaked inside the near post via the legs of defender Yohan Tavares.

While Freiburg were no doubt on top, they were not completely dominant, and Julian Schuster's shot straight at Vagner following a corner was the closest they went next before half-time. There was no marked change in flow after the break, but, almost out of nothing, Estoril drew level in the 53rd minute. Luís Leal's simple through ball released Sebá, and the Brazilian calmly poked the ball between the legs of Oliver Baumann.

It was a far more even contest now, and Estoril caused consternation in the home crowd with every forward thrust. Freiburg still carried a threat, though, and Francis Coquelin's 79th-minute shot was spectacularly saved by Vagner. Nevertheless, neither side could force a winner, making the return fixture in two weeks' time a crunch occasion following Sevilla FC's late draw at Slovan.

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