By Sulayman Bah
Savage scored twice to put his Finnish Premier League champions HJK on course to a first-leg win over Greece Super League heavyweights APOEL but a dramatic last-gasp fight back saw Vincenti and Sheridans two goals thwart HJK’s hope for a famous victory.
It took just eleven minutes for Savage to break the visitors’defense with countryman Macoumba Kanji turning provider for the opening goal.
The hosts bowed under pressure from APOEL who enjoyed 58 percent of the possession and it was goal machine Demba who rose to the occasion again to spare his side of their blushes converting from the spot-kick to make it 2-0 at break.
The score inevitably raised fans enthusiasm coupled with strong belief that they will finally get an appearance into the Uefa Champions League after years of attempt without success in the qualifiers.
They merely needed to win to go past the third round qualifiers with the play-offs their sole hurdle to beat in a bid to qualify into the Champions League group stage.
But the resumption of the second half had Vincenti and Sheridan each netting to settle for a 2-2 draw in the 71 and 74th minutes.
Demba’s uncapped Gambian team-mate Kandji haven’t the best of outings in the show picking up two yellow cards and will be a major miss when the club return visit for the second-leg of the 3rd round qualifiers in Greece on 6th August.