Last-gasp Portugal grab draw
Coentrao equalises in last minute after Israel let 3-1 lead slip
Last Updated: 22/03/13 3:22pm
Fabio Coentrao: Scored last-minute equaliser for Portugal
Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao's last-minute goal earned Portugal a face-saving point in Tel Aviv as they played out a six-goal thriller with Israel.
Portugal are renowned for making hard work of supposed lesser teams in qualification and this Group F clash followed suit, with Paulo Bento's men recovering from a 3-1 deficit to stay on level terms with their hosts in the group.
Russia are the runaway leaders on 12 points - they play Northern Ireland on Saturday - with Israel then shading Portugal on goal difference only, with both sides having amassed eight points.
Israel should be clear, though, despite going behind to Bruno Alves' second-minute opener.
After that Tomer Hemed, Eden Ben Basat and Null Gershon spun things around, only for Helder Postiga and Coentrao to even things up.
Alves gave Portugal the upper hand, breaking through a static home defence to give his side a dream start, and Coentrao should have made it two a minute later but shot straight at Dudo Aouate.
Israel stepped up after that and Ben Basat fizzed a shot wide before the equaliser arrived in the 24th minute, Real Mallorca striker Hemed turning in the box and smashing in a 15-yard effort after a ball from Maor Melicsohn.
Portugal should have gone back in front soon after, but Postiga produced a horror miss, rounding Aouate after a Raul Meireles pass and only finding the side-netting.
Postiga was made to pay for his error as Israel took the lead before the break, Ben Basat's rocket from the edge of the box the end product of a strong run on to Eytan Tibi's pass.
Tal Ben Haim's tackle denied Postiga as the half-time whistle went, but Israel returned to the front foot in the second half, with Ben Basat going close.
Hemed went off just after the hour but Israel's firepower remained, and Celtic's Gershon headed their third in the 70th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo, unusually quiet, then set about getting Portugal back playing, and two minutes later he broke clear and squared for the waiting Postiga, who found his range.
It had looked as though Israel would hold out after that but, with seconds left, Hugo Almeida's header cracked the bar and Coentrao buried the rebound.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 22nd Mar - Group F
Israel3 - 3Portugal
Luxembourg0 - 0Azerbaijan
Fri 22nd Mar - Group B
Bulgaria6 - 0Malta
Czech Rep0 - 3Denmark
Fri 22nd Mar - Group A
Croatia2 - 0Serbia
Macedonia0 - 2Belgium
Scotland1 - 2Wales
Fri 22nd Mar - Group E
Slovenia1 - 2Iceland
Norway0 - 1Albania
Fri 22nd Mar - Group C
Kazakhstan0 - 3Germany
Austria6 - 0Faroe Islands
Sweden0 - 0Rep Ireland
Fri 22nd Mar - Group D
Andorra0 - 2Turkey
Hungary2 - 2Romania
Netherlands3 - 0Estonia
Fri 22nd Mar - Group G
Liechtenstein1 - 1Latvia
Slovakia1 - 1Lithuania
Bosnia3 - 1Greece
Fri 22nd Mar - Group H
Moldova0 - 1Montenegro
Poland1 - 3Ukraine
San Marino0 - 8England
Fri 22nd Mar - Group I
Spain1 - 1Finland
France3 - 1Georgia
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I