Spartak held by Maribor to 1-1 draw in Champions League

November 21, 2017

Spartak's Dimitry Kombarov, left, is airborne with Maribor's Gregor Bajde during the Champions League Group E soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Maribor in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

MOSCOW (AP) — Spartak Moscow was held by Maribor to a 1-1 draw, missing a chance to put pressure on Liverpool and Sevilla in Champions League Group E on Tuesday.

The Russian champion kept Maribor under heavy pressure, but couldn’t find a goal until the 82nd minute when Ze Luis scored from close range.

Maribor hit back in stoppage time when substitute Jasmin Mesanovic prodded the ball into an unguarded net off a cross from Marcos Tavares as Spartak’s defense seemed stuck to the spot.

The result kept Spartak third, behind first-place Liverpool and second-place Sevilla, who drew 3-3 in Tuesday’s other Group E game.

Spartak will need to beat Liverpool away on Dec. 6 to qualify, while fourth-place Maribor is eliminated.

Spartak has shown flashes of brilliance during its first Champions League campaign in five years — notably demolishing Sevilla 5-1 in Moscow — but looks set for the Europa League after giving up late equalizers in both of its games against Slovenian outsider Maribor.

Spartak had plenty of missed chances, with Ze Luis, Fernando, and Luiz Adriano all going close.

Maribor could have taken the lead early in the second half when Marko Suler hit the post on a rare attack for the Slovenian side.

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