Astana salvaged a share of the spoils with a last-gasp deflected Roger Canas goal that secured a 2-2 Champions League draw with Galatasaray.
Canas’ late intervention – albeit with the help of Lionel Carole on the line – capped a frantic final 15 minutes at the Astana Arena that saw the Kazakhstani champions twice come from behind.
A stunning strike from European debutant Bilal Kisa lit up a industrious first half in Kazakhstan, the midfielder’s 35-yard effort moving in the air on its way past Nenad Eric.
Astana raised the tempo after the break and it had the desired effect as a Hakan Balta own goal brought them level after Baurzhan Dzholchiyev and Foxi Kethevoama had both gone close.
The drama was far from over, though, as Galatasaray pushed for a winner and thought they had it when an Eric error turned a Sinan Gumus cross into his own net with four minutes to play.
Still the tie was not over and Astana grabbed a deserved late point as Canas’ header from the edge of the area ensured both sides got off the mark in Group C.
Astana made a positive start but were grateful to goalkeeper Eric as he denied Wesley Sneijder in the fifth minute.
The Netherlands international was wasteful with another effort two minutes later and Astana nearly made him pay as Georgi Zhukov latched on to a poor headed clearance from Balta, but Fernando Muslera was equal to his low effort.
It was Kisa who broke the deadlock with a sensational finish from distance after 31 minutes. As Astana defenders backed away, the 32-year-old unleashed a vicious long-range strike that swerved and dipped on its way past Eric.
Having survived an early scare after the restart, Astana began to pose a real threat going forward but Dzholchiyev and Kethevoama both fired wide from superb left-wing deliveries.
With 12 minutes to go the hosts finally found a way through as Junior Kabananga chased down Semih Kaya inside the Galatasaray penalty area and, having robbed the defender, his low cross evaded Muslera’s dive and struck Balta on its way into the net.
Galatasaray immediately looked to restore their advantage and after Eric had saved from Jason Denayer the goalkeeper inexplicably turned into his own net as he tried to claim Gumus’ cross, the goalkeeper trying in vain to keep the ball out.
The three points were far from secure, though, as Astana pushed for another equaliser, and it came in the final minute of normal time.
A poor punch from Muslera was pounced upon by Canas, whose first-time header looked set for the goal, with Carole’s touch helping the ball on its way.
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