Besiktas JK 1-1 R. Standard de Liège Sambegou Bangoura's late goal earns R. Standard de Liège a point.
By Michael Harrold
Okan Buruk's first-half opener had looked enough to seal victory for Besiktas in a tight match at the Inönü stadium in Istanbul until Bangoura rose highest at the far post to head in with ten minutes to play.
Besiktas coach Vicente Del Bosque was without injured striker John Carew and he made two changes from the team defeated 2-1 by FC Steaua Bucuresti last week. Tümer Metin and Sergen Yalçin came in, while Juanfran dropped to the substitutes' bench. Standard picked up their first points last week thanks to Michel Garbini's dramatic added-time winner against Parma FC, and he started this time in place of Aleksandar Mutavdzic.
Victory away against Samsunspor on Sunday had confirmed Besiktas' return to form, and they started with confidence here without creating any clear openings early on. Tümer sent a low shot wide on 13 minutes, but Standard were growing in confidence and Sérgio Conceição's promptings down the right soon seized the initiative for the Belgian side.
On 19 minutes Conceição's fine pass made room for Ivica Dragutinovic, but he shot too close to Ramazan Kursunlu, who moments later had to dive to keep out Bangoura's drive. Standard were in the ascendancy and Garbini dragged a shot wide on 21 minutes, before Ramazan was again called into action to palm away Karel Geraerts' 25-metre drive.
A goal looked certain, but to the surprise of the home fans they were the ones celebrating on 30 minutes. Ali Günes cut in off the right and found Sergen whose deft touch put Okan Buruk through on goal and he rounded Vedran Runje before touching the ball into the empty net. Five minutes later Sergen repeated the feat with another exquisite touch to Ibrahim Akin, but with only Runje to beat, the 20-year-old rolled the ball tamely wide.
Standard too were making chances and seven minutes after the restart Bangoura was unfortunate to see his header fall just wide after beating Ramazan to Garbini's long ball on the edge of the area. But with Sergen and Okan running the midfield for the home side, Standard's attacks were fitful.
After Sérgio Conceição had curled a free-kick over the bar on 75 minutes, frustrations began to show. Oguchi Onyewu and Emre Asik clashed and both defenders were booked, but with temperatures rising Standard sparked back into life and drew level on 80 minutes. Eric Deflandre curled in a deep cross from the right and Bangoura climbed above Fatih Sonkaya to head in at the far post.
Athletic Club Bilbao defeated Steaua to throw the group wide open and both Besiktas and Standard will have to win in two weeks' time to guarantee progression to the last 32. Standard are at home to Athletic while Besiktas travel to Parma.