Champions League

Basel draws Steaua with late equalizer

Champions League: FC Basel v Steaua Bucuresti
Champions League: FC Basel v Steaua Bucuresti
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BASEL, Switzerland (AP)

A stoppage-time equalizer by substitute Giovanni Sio earned Basel a barely deserved 1-1 draw with Steaua Bucharest in Group E of the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Cote d'Ivoire forward stretched to meet Valentin Stocker's cross with a guided right-foot volley in the first of three added minutes.

A goal by Steaua forward Federico Piovaccari in the 17th minute seemed set to condemn Basel to a second straight 1-0 home defeat, after the Swiss champion's stunning opening victory at Chelsea in September.

Chelsea has won three consecutive games since then and now leads the group by three points after beating Schalke 3-0 on Wednesday.

Basel, which hosts Chelsea next, has five points and trails one behind Schalke. Steaua, the 1986 European champion, is bottom with two points.

Sio's strike was a measure of revenge two weeks after Basel dominated in Bucharest but was denied by Steaua's late leveler to draw 1-1.

After letting victory slip away then, Basel needed to win Wednesday to put pressure on Schalke in an expected contest for second behind Chelsea.

Basel's best first-half effort arrived in the 11th minute, when Argentine midfielder Matias Delgado curled a free kick from 20 meters (yards) just wide of the goal.

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Steaua's goal soon after owed much to poor judgment from Basel central defenders Fabian Schaer and Ivan Ivanov, who looked for an offside flag as Lukasz Szukala's long ball floated over their heads.

Piovaccari was left unmarked to run clear on goal and calmly waited until goalkeeper Yann Sommer committed to dive before shooting high into the net.

Basel was almost level within a minute, but midfielder Fabian Frei hooked a right-footed shot over the crossbar from just inside the penalty area.

Only Sommer's saves in the 43rd on Iasmin Latovlevici's header and a follow-up shot by Florin Gardos, kept Basel out of deeper trouble.

Ivanov almost atoned for his earlier error when he flashed a 62nd-minute header across the Steaua goal from a corner earned when Fabian Frei's powerful shot was blocked.

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