Marek Hamsik rescued a point for Napoli to ensure they stayed top of Champions League Group B after a dramatic 1-1 draw against Besiktas in Istanbul on Tuesday.
A late Vincent Aboubakar goal had given the Turkish side a 3-2 win at the Stadio San Paolo in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.
Neither side could find the same goalscoring touch this time around and the game looked to be heading for a dour stalemate until a contentious decision saw Besiktas awarded a penalty in the 77th minute.
Nikola Maksimovic was ruled to have handled in the area by referee Mark Clattenburg and Ricardo Quaresma duly converted the resulting spot-kick.
However, Besiktas’ lead lasted just four minutes as Hamsik levelled matters in stunning fashion with a sublime long-range curling effort.
The result means Napoli stay a point clear of Besiktas at the summit, though Benfica could move level on points with the Serie A side with victory over Dynamo Kiev.
Napoli could have broken the deadlock inside the first minute had Manolo Gabbiadini not shot straight at Fabri after meeting Faouzi Ghoulam’s dangerous left-wing cross.
The visitors had the better of the early stages and Gabbiadini again forced Fabri into action as he chested down a clever ball from Allan and fired towards goal, only to be denied by a fine save with his legs from the Besiktas goalkeeper.
Besiktas suffered a blow midway through the first half when Dusko Tosic, operating as a makeshift left-back, was withdrawn through injury and replaced by Cenk Tosun.
But they should have taken the lead just before the half-hour mark as Atiba Hutchinson rattled the outside of the left-hand post with a volley following Kalidou Koulibaly’s dreadful attempt at a headed clearance.
As in the first half, Napoli began the second 45 minutes brightly, with Jose Callejon spurning a huge opportunity when he sent a lofted finish wide after being played in by Lorenzo Insigne.
Insigne then side-footed over at the end of a well-worked move from Maurizio Sarri’s side in what served as a rare moment of quality in the second half.
Napoli were made to pay for their profligacy when Clattenburg decided to point to the spot after Aboubakar’s cross stuck Maksimovic on the elbow, with Quaresma dispatching his 78th-minute spot-kick into the bottom-left corner.
Yet Besiktas’ joy was short-lived as Hamsik spectacularly sealed a share of the spoils, earning what could be a crucial point with his superb strike from distance.
It could have been even better for Napoli, but Insigne’s curling injury-time effort flew narrowly wide.
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