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Brave Asteras come up short against Beşiktaş

Asteras Tripolis FC 2-2 Beşiktaş JK
The home side came back from two goals down, but a draw ended their Group C hopes and took the Black Eagles through to the round of 32.

Asteras despair after Beşiktaş open the scoring in Greece
Asteras despair after Beşiktaş open the scoring in Greece ©AFP

Demba Ba's volley and Gökhan Töre's penalty put the Black Eagles 2-0 up
Substitute Jerónimo Barrales replies before Atiba Hutchinson is sent off
Lucky Facundo Parra strike gives Asteras hope of salvaging their campaign
Beşiktaş hold on to qualify; draw spells elimination for Asteras
Next games: Partizan v Asteras, Beşiktaş v Tottenham (11 December)

The UEFA Europa League trail went cold for Asteras Tripolis FC with Beşiktaş JK's 2-2 draw in soggy Greece securing one of the all-important top spots in Group C.

Needing a win to maintain any hope of making it to the round of 32, Asteras made a dynamic start and were unlucky not to take the lead after five minutes, Nicolás Fernández's deflected shot thumping into the crossbar. However, Beşiktaş took the wind out of their sails on 15 minutes, Demba Ba volleying the opener after Gökhan Töre lifted the ball into the box.

The experienced striker should have extended the advantage on 23 minutes, somehow managing to slice wide from five metres out after Olcay Şahan's ball left Asteras goalkeeper Tomás Kosický completely exposed.

Asteras's situation began to look desperate after Dorin Goian brought down Olcay in the area on the hour, Gökhan stepping up to send the resulting spot kick into the roof of Kosický's net. However, spirits were restored after Khalifa Sankaré flicked a free-kick on for substitute Jerónimo Barrales to make it 2-1 with a close-range header, and Atiba Hutchinson was promptly shown a second yellow card to reduce Beşiktaş to ten men.

With the rain hammering down, Asteras then struck lucky, Tasos Bakasetas's hopeful drive from distance diverted past Cenk Gönen after getting caught between Facundo Parra's feet. Asteras flooded forward in search of salvation, but a fairy-tale finish proved agonisingly beyond them.