Besiktas hit back from three behind to hold Benfica


Football Soccer - Besiktas vs Benfica - UEFA Champions League group stage - Group B - Vodafone Arena, Istanbul, Turkey - 23/11/2016. Benfica players celebrate a goal. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Besiktas hit back from three goals behind at halftime, scoring twice in the last 10 minutes, to force a 3-3 draw with Benfica in an enthralling Champions League game on Wednesday.

The Portuguese champions raced to a 3-0 lead in 31 minutes, helped by a sublime effort from Nelson Semedo and a bizarre goal by Ljubomir Fejsa who scored after the ball hit the woodwork three times.

Cenk Tosun pulled Besikas back into the game with a scissors kick, Ricardo Quaresma converted a penalty seven minutes from time and Vincent Aboubakar, like Quaresma a former player for Benfica's arch-rivals Porto, equalised in the 89th minute.

The draw left Benfica with eight points from five games in Group B and Besiktas on seven alongside Napoli who were at home to Dynamo Kiev later on Wednesday.

Benfica, who had needed a win to qualify with a game to spare, were left kicking themselves again, having conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to the same opponents earlier in the group.

Eliseu had already hit the post for Benfica and Aboubaker seen a goal chalked off for offside for Besiktas when the visitors went ahead.

Eduardo Salvio slipped the ball to Goncalo Guedes and the 19-year-old held off a defender, rounded Fabricio and slipped the ball into the net from a tight angle.

Semedo doubled the lead with a spectacular effort in the 25th minute, collecting the ball, turning and sending a curling left-foot shot past Fabricio from the edge the area.

That was followed by a bizarre third when Kostas Mitroglou headed against the crossbar, then headed the rebound against the bar before Salvio sent a third attempt against the post and Fejsa finally turned the ball in.

Despite the mauling, the Besiktas players went to the centre circle at halftime to applaud their fans whose faith was repaid in a dramatic second half.

Unbeaten at home since February, a Besiktas comeback was in the air from the moment that Tosun met Andreas Beck's cross with a perfectly-executed scissors kick in the 58th minute.

The Turkish champions pulled another back when Nilsson Lindelof handled and Portugal forward Quaresma sent his penalty into the far corner.

Ederson made a superb save to deny Aboubakar but was powerless in the next attack when the ball again found the Cameroon forward who scored from close range.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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