Gladbach rue penalty miss
The heroics of AEL Limassol goalkeeper Matias Degra, and Oscar Wendt's missed penalty, denied Borussia Monchengladbach victory.
Last Updated: 20/09/12 8:26pm
The heroics of AEL Limassol goalkeeper Matias Degra, and Oscar Wendt's missed penalty, denied Borussia Monchengladbach victory on their Europa League debut tonight.
The Cypriot champions enjoyed limited chances of their own in a largely cagey encounter and had their Argentinian stopper to thank for keeping them afloat as he consistently batted away the Foals' attacking raids.
But there was so very nearly heartbreak deep into stoppage time as Paulo Sergio handballed in the box, only for Wendt to smash his spot-kick against the crossbar.
Alexander Ring and Mike Hanke both went close for the Germans within five minutes, the latter giving Degra food for thought as he rattled a post.
But Limassol responded well as Rui Miguel carved out a couple of chances before the break, first forcing Marc ter Stegen into a desperate parry before scooping a long-range shot over the bar.
With half-time rapidly approaching, Tolga Cigerci saw his fiercely-struck free-kick tipped around a post by Degra as the Cypriot champions held their nerve.
Lacerda Edmar tried his luck from distance as Limassol sought to start the second half brightly, but Ter Stegen guessed right again to repel the dangerous drive.
The Foals' confidence began to grow and Favre's men might have taken the lead in the 60th minute.
Patrick Herrmann picked out Granit Xhaka on the penalty spot but the teenage midfielder could only flick his header against Degra's glove.
Wendt took the resulting corner, only for Ring to slam the ball well wide of the target.
Hanke repeated Ring's trick after Limassol's Marios Nicolaou had skewed a speculative shot high and wide at the other end.
Substitute Luciano Bebe spurned a gilt-edged chance to put the hosts ahead against the run of play as he blasted over the bar in the 77th minute, with Tony Jantschke returning the favour at the other end after good work from Cigerci.
But Gladbach kept on coming right up to the final whistle, substitute Igor De Camargo last to be denied by a final desperate stop from Degra.
The storm seemingly weathered, and with a valuable point in the bag, the home fans' hearts were in their mouths as Sergio conceded a last-gasp penalty, only for Wendt to earn himself an awkward flight back to Westphalia by rattling the bar.