Hibernian 3-2 Asteras Tripolis: Hosts come from 2-0 down to win
Hibernian produced a sensational fightback to take a narrow lead into the second leg of their Europa League tie with Asteras Tripolis.
The hosts - ponderous and slack - trailed 2-0 at the break to a Georgios Kyriakopoulous double.
But back roared Hibs, Efe Ambrose Boyle and David Gray levelling the match.
Asteras lost Triantafyllos Pasalidis to a late red card, and Florian Kamberi sparked wild celebrations in Leith with a stoppage-time winner.
The decisive meeting takes place in Athens next Thursday, with the winners facing Norway's Molde or Albanians Laci in the third round of qualifying. The Norwegians hold a 3-0 lead from the first leg.
- Aberdeen concede late to share spoils with Burnley
- Gerrard's Rangers take first-leg advantage in Croatia
Slick Asteras punish Hibs
The technically slick and savvy Greeks were impressive in the opening period, picking off pedestrian play by Hibs and exposing their brittle defence.
With 12 minutes gone, Michalis Manias played the ball through the legs of Efe Ambrose down the left flank and into the path of the speeding Kyriakopoulous. The winger strode clear of back-tracking Hibs defenders, and from an acute angle, beat Adam Bodgan at his near post.
Steven Whittaker and Kamberi spurned glorious chances to equalise, and Neil Lennon's men were soon made to pay for their wastefulness.
Kyriakopoulos was allowed to advance on the home backline, and from over 20 yards, unleashed a wicked, swerving drive that zipped past Bogdan.
Hibs looked feeble. There was little pace to their play and even less precision in their passing. At half-time, their European campaign already looked in grave jeopardy.
Bizarre goal sparks the recovery
If they had been wayward before the break, the hosts emerged for the second half imbued with all the aggression and pep missing from their first-half display.
Gray replaced the ineffectual Whittaker, with Vykintas Slivka shifting into a more natural central position. And in the 64th minute the home crowd at last had something to cheer.
Ambrose met a Stevie Mallan corner, the ball struck the crossbar, bounced back off the Nigerian defender and bobbled into the net.
That bizarre goal swung the momentum Hibs' way. Slivka sent a free header fizzing high and wide from deep inside the box. Martin Boyle menaced down the left. McGinn and Mallan began seizing control of the midfield battleground.
It was Gray, etched in Hibs history for his Scottish Cup-winning goal two years ago, who further endeared himself to the Leith faithful. The club captain controlled Lewis Stevenson's cross from the left, set himself, and hammered his shot back across goal and in.
Easter Road erupted. The players - and the fans - sensed an improbable victory could yet be theirs.
Pasalidis was shown a second yellow for a cynical foul on Slivka. And Kamberi, in the third minute of stoppage time, flicked Boyle's saved shot into the empty Asteras net, completing a remarkable comeback.
They lost two away goals, but this night of enthralling drama in Leith ended with a precious lead for Hibs to take to Athens.
- 3WhittakerSubstituted forGrayat 45'minutes
- 4HanlonSubstituted forPorteousat 90+4'minutes
- 10BoyleBooked at 66mins
- 7McGinnBooked at 57mins
- 16StevensonBooked at 57mins
- 24McGregorBooked at 74mins
- 4PasalidisBooked at 84mins
- 14BellocqSubstituted forRolleat 55'minutes
- 8Munafo Horta
- 19TsilianidisSubstituted forChristopoulosat 86'minutes
- 23KaltsasSubstituted forMartínezat 77'minutes
- Andreas Ekberg