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All square in Sofia

Thursday, 16 September 2004

By Stoyan Georgiev at Georgi Asparuhov stadium

[1] A battling performance from KSK Beveren saw the Belgian side earn a deserved draw at PFC Levski Sofia in this UEFA Cup first round first leg-tie.

Early blow

[2] Beveren, whose starting lineup was made up entirely of players from Ivory Coast, suffered an early blow, losing goalkeeper Boubacar Barry following a collision with Levski forward Georgi Chilikov. To make matters worse for the visitors, Levski then looked like taking all three points through Dimitar Telkiyski's second-half goal only for a brilliant equaliser from Moussa Sanogo.

Lively contest

[3] It was a lively contest with members of the UEFA Executive Committee, in the Bulgarian capital for their latest meeting, among the crowd at the Georgi Asparuhov stadium. Beveren started the brighter, creating good chances for Mohamed Diallo and Romaric N'Dri. Levski had their moments too but Stanimir Stoilov's team failed to penetrate Beveren's well-organised defence.

Volders save

[4] The home side's best chance of the opening 45 minutes arrived in the last moments of the half, defender Elin Topuzakov meeting Telkiyski's cross, but Beveren substitute goalkeeper Mark Volders blocked the shot brilliantly to take the Belgian club into the break on level terms.

Levski breakthrough

[5] After the interval, Levski continued to press but had to wait until the 62nd minute before they could take the lead, the lively Telkiyski somehow managing to put the ball in the back of the net after a goalmouth scramble. The home side's joy was brief. Two minutes later, Sanogo was given too much time and space and his powerful strike from 18 metres out bounced in off the bar, giving goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov no chance.

Ivankov saves Levski

[6] Beveren grew in confidence and Ivankov had to come to Levski's rescue, keeping out Diallo's diagonal shot. In a bid to reverse his side's fortunes, Stoilov threw on Todor Kolev and Liubomir Liubenov for the ineffective Sasa Simonovic and Chilikov, but the hosts still fell short of ideas for breaking down Beveren.

Kolev miss

[7] Then, 17 minutes from time, Levski created the best opportunity of the game, but Kolev failed to convert another Telkiyski cross when well placed to score. Two more chances fell the Bulgarian side's way, both to Liubenov, but his tame shots proved no problem for Volders and the visitors hung on for a share of the spoils, with the return leg to come on 30 September.

Levski's Daniel Borimirov is tackled by Emmanuel Eboué of Beveren