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UEFA Europa League

Balotelli Rescues Liverpool

UEFA Europa League - Last 32 

Result: Liverpool 1-0 Besiktas

Date: 19 February 2015

Venue: Anfield

A late penalty from Mario Balotelli handed Liverpool a 1-0 win over Besiktas in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie at Anfield.

Brendan Rogders decided to rest Steven Gerrard, while Raheem Sterling settled for a spot on the bench, as Daniel Sturridge made his first European start for the Reds.

Sturridge had the opportunity to give Liverpool lead in the third minute but he could only fire his close range effort straight at Cenk Gonen.

After a quiet spell in the game, Besiktas nearly opened the scoring in the 31st minute, as Veli Kavlak steered his header just wide of the upright.

The visitors should have been ahead minutes later but Demba Ba's low effort forced Simon Mignolet into a fine save.

Jordan Henderson came close to breaking the deadlock just before the halftime break, as his curling free-kick sailed inches wide of the post.

Adam Lallana should have given Liverpool the lead three minutes after the halftime break but the midfielder somehow placed his effort over the bar from point-blank range.

Brendan Rodgers brought on Mario Balotelli and Raheem Sterling in the second half in the hope of claiming a first leg victory.

And it was Balotelli who made the impact, as he scored from the penalty spot in the 85th minute, after Jordon Ibe had been brought down in the area.

 

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