Benfica battles back to draw 2-2 with Astana in Champions League

Astana (Kazakhstan), Nov 26 (IANS) Mexican striker Raul Jimenez scored twice as Benfica rallied from a two-goal deficit to secure a 2-2 draw with Astana in a Champions League clash.

The match between the top and bottom clubs in Group C on Wednesday offered plenty of entertainment and surprise in the first half, with the hosts scoring two goals in a span of 12 minutes after Benfica controlled play and threatened the opposing goal early on, reports Efe.

The Kazakh club used their favoured ploy to open the scoring at Astana Arena, allowing the other side to dominate possession and then seizing the opportunity on the counterattack.

Young Ghanaian striker Patrick Twumasi powered a header into the back of the net in the 19th minute.

The 1-0 deficit appeared to cause some doubt to creep in among the Benfica players, who seemed unsettled for a few minutes.

That uncertainty led to a second goal in the 31st minute, as a hesistant defence alloed a Foxi Kethevoama free-kick to creep inside the goal.

Benfica, however, got a goal late in the first half on a header by Jimenez off a perfectly executed cross from Brazilian forward Jonas.

Benfica began dominating the action after halftime and had chances.

The Portuguese club eventually got the better of their opponents, with Jimenez scoring from a close range to make it 2-2 in the 73rd minute.

Benfica then continued to attack the Astana goal, although it was unable to create any clear opportunity for the victory.

With the draw and hosts Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 victory on Wednesday over Galatasaray at Vicente Calderon Stadium, Benfica and the Atletico both secured a berth in the Champions League’s knockout stage.

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