Ludogorets holds Liverpool to 2-2 draw
SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Ludogorets scored a late equalizer to hold Liverpool to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday that ended the home side’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Dani Abalo opened the scoring for Ludogorets in the third minute, pouncing on the rebound after Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet failed to control Marcelinho’s shot from the edge of the box.
Rickie Lambert capitalized on a defensive error five minutes later to equalize with a header past keeper Vladislav Stoyanov. Jordan Henderson collected a cross from Raheem Sterling and fired home to put Liverpool in front in the 37th.
Ludogorets defender Georgi Terziev nodded the 88th minute equalizer following a corner.
Despite only levelling the game late, the home side deserved the point after creating more chances than Liverpool and matching the number of shots on target.
Rickie Lambert said that the late equalizer had left Liverpool “devastated,” adding that the Reds’ performance is likely enough to silence the team’s critics.
“We showed wonderful resilience and scored two good goals tonight,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers said. “To go a goal behind so early on you really need a team that is together and I think the character of the team came out.
“We were disappointed with the goal at the end but that’s irrelevant.”
The home side cannot advance, but Liverpool can qualify from Group B by beating Basel in its final match.
“We need to win a game at the end against Basel and at the start we would have looked at that game as the one to see us through and it should be a great night at Anfield,” said Rogers.