GHENT, Belgium (AP) AA Ghent came back from behind with a goal from Danijel Milicevic and survived being down to nine men in the closing stages to earn a 1-1 draw with Olympique Lyon on its Champions League debut Wednesday.
After midfielder Brecht Dejaegere was sent off for a high tackle in the 41st minute, the Belgian champion still got the equalizer in the 68th minute. Thomas Foket was then sent off for a foul in the area three minutes from time, but goalkeeper Matz Sels saved the penalty from Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette.
Lyon looked set for an easy victory in Group H when Christophe Jallet dipped in at the near post to head home a corner from veteran Mathieu Valbuena in the 58th minute when it was already a man up.
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”It was so tough after the red card but we managed it,” Ghent forward Laurent Depoitre said. ”It was great to get a point. It feels like a victory considering.”
FC Zenit beat Valencia 3-2 in the other Group H game.
In an open first half, Ghent had much the better of play, with Depoitre hitting the bar and seeing one goal disallowed for a marginal offside. It seemed the turning point came close to half time with the sending off of Dejaegere, yet the 20,000 fans at the Ghelamco Arena kept pushing their men forward and they continued to create chances.
After winning its first league title last year, Ghent has been struggling this year with only two victories in seven games, and it lags in seventh place in the standings.
Lyon is in sixth place after five games and was looking for a strong start in the Champions League to put its domestic frustration behind it.