UEFA Champions League
Vodafone Arena, İstanbul, Turkey
82′ Quaresma (P)
Benfica will have to wait to progress into the Champions League’s Round of 16 after throwing away a 3-0 lead to draw with Besiktas 3-3 at the Vodafone Arena in İstanbul. A victory would have been enough to send the Águias through and it looked as though they were heading into the next round as Gonçalo Guedes, Nélson Semedo and Ljubomir Fejsa gave the Portuguese side a 3-0 half-time lead before Kostas Mitroglou spurned a great chance for the visitors when ahead, allowing Besiktas substitute Cenk Tosun to pull a goal back with an acrobatic volley. Ricardo Quaresma then reduced the deficit from the penalty-spot with just eight minutes to go after a daft Victor Lindelöf handball before Vincent Aboubakar completed the comeback with just two minutes of normal-time to go.
The visitors started well and came within inches of taking the lead when Guedes found the arriving Eliseu, who fired an effort that rattled the outside of the post from-range, beating Fabricio.
A minute later the Turkish side thought they had the lead when Oğuzhan Özyakup’s teasing ball through to Aboubakar, was parried by Ederson into the path of the former Porto striker, who slotted home but the flag went up for offside and the strike was chalked out.
Three minutes later the hosts went close when Quaresma met a cross-field pass with a header that looped onto the roof of the net.
Three minutes later the Águias went ahead. Eduardo Salvio played Guedes through on-goal, who did well to stay on his feet after a challenge by Marcelo, before rounding Fabricio and slotting home into the unguarded net.
In the 24th minute the visitors doubled the lead when Salvio found Semedo, who curled a rasping effort with his weaker left-foot in off the underside of the bar past a helpless Fabricio.
Semedo won the freekick that led to Benfica’s third six minutes later when Pizzi’s delivery was met by Mitroglou, who headed the ball against the bar with the rebound falling to the Greek international again, who again hit the underside of the bar before the ball fell to Salvio, who then headed against the post with Fejsa firing home the loose ball on the half-volley.
Six minutes later Besiktas had a good chance when a Quaresma corner fell to Aboubakar, who did well to get the ball out of his feet before firing an effort that Victor Lindelöf blocked.
Two minutes from the break the visitors went close to a fourth when an Eliseu cross was met by Salvio, who headed wide.
A minute into the restart the visitors went close to adding to their tally when Franco Cervi’s pull-back found Fejsa, who fired over the bar.
Two minutes later the Águias went close again when Salvio surged forward and cut-inside before firing an effort that Fabricio was forced to palm behind.
Four minutes later the visitors should have sealed the victory when Salvio played Mitroglou clean through on-goal, the striker had just Fabricio to beat but he fired his effort inches wide when he should have scored.
The miss gave the Turkish side a lifeline and the hosts capitalised when a dangerous delivery from Andreas Beck was volleyed home acrobatically by substitute Tosun.
On the hour-mark Benfica should have made it four when a teasing delivery across the face of goal from Eliseu fell to Guedes, but his touch was poor and the ball fell kindly to Fabricio, although the youngster should have taken the shot first-time.
Five minutes later the Turkish side had a good chance when a Quaresma corner caused havoc as the ball fell to Marcelo, whose deflected effort was palmed away by Ederson, who made an unbelievable save to deny Tosun on the rebound: tipping his effort onto the post although the flag was already up for offside.
The pressure was piling on the visitors and in the 81st minute, it showed when Lindelöf stupidly cleared away an Adriano cross with his arm and the referee pointed to the spot despite some hesitation. Quaresma stepped up to convert the penalty, firing the ball home off the post despite Ederson guessing right.
Six minutes later the hosts went close when a dangerous cross from Tosun was met by Aboubakar, who forced Ederson into a fine save from a header.
However moments later, the keeper was helpless as the hosts completed the comeback. Quaresma’s rabona cross wasn’t dealt with by the visitors, who allowed Aboubakar to sneak in and fire home the loose ball.
The result meant that Benfica temporarily moved to the top of Group B on eight points ahead of Napoli’s match against Dynamo Kyiv. Besiktas are temporarily second on seven points. Napoli can go top on ten points with a victory over the Ukrainian side, who are fouth.