SPORTS

Asteras and Xanthi fail to make home advantage count

Asteras Tripolis and Xanthi could not translate their home advantage into victories on Thursday in the first-leg games of their Europa League ties for the third qualifying round, as Asteras drew 1-1 with Rapid Vienna and Xanthi lost 2-1 to Standard Liege.

Giorgos Zisopoulos opened the score for Asteras after 27 minutes, but a controversial penalty decision allowed Rapid to equalize through Terrence Boyd five minutes later.

In the second half Asteras captain Fernando Usero created one chance after another, but it was not meant to be for the Peloponnesian side on the night.

Xanthi, conqueror of Linfield in the previous round of the competition, fell behind to Standard via Bia Mujangi’s goal on the 18th minute, but managed to go level through Serge Aristide Die’s spectacular free-kick in the 36th.

Xanthi keeper Dimitris Kyriakidis denied Bia a second goal on the night by saving his penalty shot in the 53rd minute.

However the second yellow card to Manolis Bertos reduced Xanthi to 10 men with 21 minutes to go, and Standard capitalized on its numerical advantage to score in the 74th minute courtesy of Laurent Ciman and win 2-1.

The return legs of the ties will take place on August 8.