Besiktas come from 3-down to hold Benfica in Champions League

Napoli and Benfica top Group B with eight points each, one ahead of third-placed Besiktas. Napoli drew 0-0 with already eliminated Dynamo Kiev

By: AP | Istanbul | Published:November 24, 2016 10:32 am
Champions League, UEFA Champions League, besiktas, benfica, besiktas benfica score, besiktas vs benfica, football scores, football news, sports news Vincent Aboubakar scored the equaliser for Besiktas in the 89th minute. (Source: Reuters)

Another late goal for Besiktas, another heartbreaking draw for Benfica. Vincent Aboubakar scored an 89th-minute equalizer as Besiktas rallied from an early three-goal deficit to draw with Benfica 3-3 on Wednesday and remain with chances of advancing to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Aboubakar scored from close range after a remarkable crossed-foot cross by veteran winger Ricardo Quaresma.

Napoli and Benfica top Group B with eight points each, one ahead of third-placed Besiktas. Napoli drew 0-0 with already eliminated Dynamo Kiev in the group’s other match on Wednesday.

“I believed even at 3-3 that we could find the fourth goal,” Besiktas’ Cenk Tosun said. “Maybe if we had scored the third goal earlier that would have happened, but we are very happy that we remained in the competition.”

In the last group round, Benfica hosts Napoli and Besiktas plays at Dynamo Kiev.

Again, it was a disappointing finish for Benfica against the Turkish side, which scored deep in injury time to earn a 1-1 draw when they met in Lisbon in their group opener. That goal was by forward Talisca, who is owned by the Portuguese club and is on loan to Besiktas.

Benfica scored three goals in the first 31 minutes on Wednesday_ including one after three consecutive headers struck the woodwork _ but couldn’t hold on to the victory that would have propelled the club into the next round.

“The more oxygen you give to your opponents, the more they grow,” Benfica coach Rui Vitoria said. “The result leaves a bitter taste as we played beautifully for 60 minutes. Small details can make all the difference.”

Goncalo Guedes opened the scoring for the visitors after dribbling past the goalkeeper in the ninth minute, Nelson Semedo added to the lead with a stunning long-range shot in the 25th, and Ljubomir Fejsa scored after his teammates were denied by the woodwork three times on the same play.

Kostas Mitroglou first hit the crossbar with a firm header off a free kick cross, then again off his own rebound, and midfielder Eduardo Salvio struck the post with his attempt in front of the goal. The ball bounced back toward the center of the area and Fejsa, returning from a ligament injury, finally found the net with a low left-footed shot.

“We did everything we could to win,” Guedes said. “It is going to be a difficult match against Napoli, but we are counting on the fans to help us win.”

Besiktas got on the board with a remarkable side-volley by Tosun, and moved closer with a penalty kick converted by Quaresma in the 83rd after a hand-ball inside the area.

It nearly got the equalizer on an 88th-minute header by Aboubakar that prompted a spectacular save by Benfica goalkeeper Ederson, but the forward came through one minute later after the defense failed to clear Quaresma’s right-footed cross from the left-flank. The veteran sent the ball into the area by crossing his right foot behind the left.

The goal allowed Besiktas to keep alive a 15-game unbeaten streak at home.

Benfica made it the quarterfinals last season, when it was eliminated by Bayern Munich.