Aziz Behich could be set to come up against some of European’s finest as his İstanbul Başakşehir side advanced to the UEFA Europa League knockout round in dramatic fashion.
A last-minute winner from French striker Enzo Crivelli earned the Turkish outfit a 2-1 win on the road against Borussia Mönchengladbach and they topped Group F ahead of the German side and Italian team AS Roma.
İstanbul were staring down the barrel when they trailed at Borussia-Park to Marcus Thuram’s 33rd-minute strike, while Roma led Austrian club Wolfsberger AC at the Stadio Olimpico.
That outcome would have left 38-cap Caltex Socceroo Behich and his teammates in third place in the group and sent them packing from the competition.
But Shon Weismman scored an equaliser for Wolfsberger to make it 2-2 in the Italian capital, and İstanbul launched a comeback when Turkey international İrfan Kahveci levelled the scores.
Still sitting in third place entering stoppage time in Mönchengladbach, Crivelli pounced to make it 2-1 and send İstanbul surging past AS Roma to the top of the group, while Borussia exit the competition.
As group winners, İstanbul will avoid the likes of Tom Rogic’s Celtic, Sevilla, Arsenal, Manchester United, Ajax and Inter Milan, but could meet Bayern Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Wolverhampton Wanderers or Rangers in the Round of 32.
Over in England’s Championship, Jackson Irvine helped Hull City salvage a share of the points deep into stoppage time against Charlton Athletic early on Saturday morning (AEDT).
The Tigers fell behind on two occasions at the Valley but came back twice to draw 2-2 against the London club.
A 96th-minute equaliser from Keane Lewis-Potter eventually squared the game up after Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr had put the hosts 2-1 ahead on 50 minutes.
Darren Pratley had opened the scoring for the Addicks before Jarrod Bowen cancelled out the lead moments after half-time.
The late strike for head coach Grant McCann’s side sees them climb to 13th in the Championship ladder.