Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa made his second start of the season for Sivasspor as Cote dÍvoire's Max Gradel scored a first-half penalty to earn the Turkish side their first win of the season in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Nigeria's Musa makes second start for Sivasspor as African brother Gradel scores winner
The goal by Gradel meant that Demir Grup Sivasspor ended a 10-match winless run.
The goal by Gradel meant his side ended a 10-match winless run on a controversial night in Romania that saw the hosts denied appeals for a penalty.
It was Musa's second start of the season for Sivasspor and first in the Conference League, since leaving Karagumruk.
The first half
The home side started well, with Karlo Muhar firing wide from outside the box and Rangelo Janga failing to hit the target with a header.
They were then inches away from taking the lead on 25 minutes when Emmanuel Yeboah rattled the post with a thumping header from a corner, while the manager was left furious when Muhar’s rebound appeared to hit an arm as it was cleared off the line.
Their misery was compounded moments later as Sivasspor took the lead through a penalty from Gradel, who sent the goalkeeper the wrong way following a foul on Karol Angielski.
Cluj responded well to going behind and enjoyed plenty of possession, but their final ball was poor, with their only real chance falling to Andrei Burca, who had a shot comfortably saved.
The second half
The visitors should have doubled their lead after the break, but Angielski was unable to convert from close range, before Cluj were once again left furious at having another strong appeal turned down, despite Ugur Ciftci appearing to foul Yeboah.
Cristian Manea then had a shot awkwardly pushed away by goalkeeper Ali Sasal Vural, while Janga dragged another effort wide.
The Romanians were beginning to get desperate, evidenced by Muhar whacking wide from 30 yards. At the other end, Sivasspor were dangerous on the counter-attack, but Charilaos Charisis had a 20-yard drive comfortably saved before Angielski missed another glorious opening.
They were nearly made to pay in the dying minutes as Alexander Paun’s thunderbolt was well tipped over, eventually clinging on to end Cluj’s eight-game unbeaten run in the competition.
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