Steau Bucharest hit back for point against Villarreal

Steaua Bucharest fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against Villarreal and kick-start their Europa League Group L campaign.

The Spanish side came into Thursday's tie on the back of six matches without defeat in all competitions, having opened their European campaign with a 2-1 home win over Zurich.

Colombian forward Santos Borre fired the Yellow Submarine into an early lead after nine minutes.

However, Steaua, who lost away to Turkish side Osmanlispor two weeks ago, recovered to level in the 19th minute through Ghana midfielder Muniru Sulley following a mistake by Villarreal goalkeeper Andres Fernandez.

The tempo of the match then dropped, before both teams had chances to snatch all three points late on, but neither could conjure a winner.

Villarreal had beaten Osasuna on Sunday to follow their creditable 1-1 draw at Real Madrid and were off to a positive start in Romania.

Borre chased a through ball into the right side of the penalty area, holding off the challenge of Bucharest captain Alin Tosca before turning back inside to stab a low shot through the legs of Florin Nita at the near post.

Alexandre Pato came close to doubling the visitors' lead, but his 20-yard effort dropped wide before Steaua got themselves back on level terms in the 19th minute.

Fernando Boldrin played a short corner to William Amorim, who turned to chip a cross through the six-yard box.

As Fernandez dived at the near post, he was challenged by Bojan Golubovic and spilled the ball back out straight to Sulley for an easy close-range finish into an empty net.

Steaua started the second half strongly.

Amorim was unfortunate not to put them ahead as his fierce angled shot from the left-hand edge of the penalty area cannoned off the crossbar before Fernandez recovered to gather the follow-up from defender Gabriel Tamas.

Steaua claimed a penalty after 51 minutes when the ball was deflected behind off Mateo Musacchio, but Ukrainian referee Yevhen Aranovskiy awarded only a corner.

During the closing stages, either side could have won the match.

Villarreal substitutes Samu Castillejo and Cedric Bakambu both shot wide before in the final minute Steaua midfielder Wilfried Moke saw his goal-bound shot deflected through to the arms of the goalkeeper.