Besiktas boss Senol Gunes was left quietly satisfied by his side’s start to their Group B campaign as Anderson Talisca’s 93rd-minute free-kick secured a 1-1 draw at Benfica.
The Turkish visitors, who had lost each of their previous Champions League group-stage openers, had looked set to continue that miserable run after Franco Cervi fired the hosts into an early lead.
But Talisca, who, ironically, is on loan at Besiktas from Benfica, returned to haunt his parent club by rifling home from 25 yards deep into additional time.
And Gunes was quick to praise both his side in general and the goalscorer in particular.
“It’s crucial to start the campaign well for a team that has been absent from the UEFA Champions League for a long time,” he said.
“We played against a young team that reached the quarter-finals last season.
“We tried to use the wings and press in the centre, but conceding the goal made our job harder.
“There were many positive aspects of our game tonight.
“We salvaged a point with a nice goal, but we could have taken all three points.
“Therefore it’s not something to celebrate wildly about.
“We got the goal that we deserved in the last minute and Talisca is a very talented player.
“There was not enough time tonight for him to showcase all his skills and abilities within our team.”
Benfica’s goalscorer Cervi, meanwhile, remains adamant that his side remain on course for the knockout stages despite the late setback.
“We were so close to victory, but now there’s nothing we can do,” he said.
“We played well, but going forward we have to correct the mistakes we made tonight.
“I don’t think this draw can damage our objective, because there are still five games to play.”
Next on the European agenda for Benfica is a potentially tricky trip to Napoli, while Besiktas will host Dynamo Kiev.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!