22 March 2013 16:00
Portugal secured a dramatic 3-3 draw with Israel in Tel Aviv as the two teams remain level on points in Group F in World Cup qualifying.
Bruno Alves headed Paulo Bento’s side in front after two minutes, but the hosts continued to press and drew level through Tomer Hemed before Eden Ben Basat fired Israel in front.
The hosts doubled their advantage in the 70th minute when Rami Gershon headed past Rui Patricio.
Portugal pulled a goal back through Helder Postiga two minutes later before Fabio Coentrao’s last-gasp equaliser saw the teams share the spoils.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and went ahead in the second minute, Alves rising highest to meet Miguel Veloso’s corner and head past Dudu Aouate.
Coentrao then saw his low effort comfortably saved by the Israel number one as Portugal dominated proceedings early on.
Israel looked to force their way back into the encounter, but Ben Basat could only fire wide of Patricio’s near post after winning his side a free-kick having been played in by Bibras Natkho.
The hosts had been on the back foot for much of the encounter, but drew level midway through the first half courtesy of Hemed, who turned expertly and fired past Patricio to equalise.
Portugal continued to dominate and should have found themselves 2-1 up with 10 minutes of the first half remaining.
Postiga did well to hold off the challenge of Tal Ben Haim, but the striker could only find the outside of the post with the goal gaping.
The visitors were made to pay for Postiga’s miss as Israel took the initiative five minutes before half-time.
Ben Basat was played in exquisitely by Hemed before smashing his effort past Patricio and into the roof of the net.
Portugal began the second half the stronger, but it was Ben Basat who came closest after the restart as he fired wide from close range.
Postiga saw his effort blocked superbly by Eitan Tibi before Veloso fired inches over from the edge of the area as Portugal pressed for an equaliser.
Carlos Martins was introduced on the hour-mark and almost made an immediate impact, first firing over with a close-range volley before he forced Aouate into action, with the Israeli equal to his long-distance strike.
Eli Guttman’s side then doubled their advantage with 20 minutes remaining as Natkho’s corner found Gershon unmarked to head past Patricio.
Portugal dragged themselves back into the encounter when Postiga was on hand to tap in from Cristiano Ronaldo’s ball into the area.
Aouate did well to deny Postiga soon after before Coentrao netted a dramatic equaliser for Portugal.