Portugal ekes out 3-3 draw with Israel
RAMAT GAN, Israel (AP) -Fabio Coentrao scored with only seconds left Friday to give Portugal a 3-3 draw with Israel and preserve the team's chances of qualifying for next year's World Cup.
Coentrao capitalized on a defensive error by Israel goalkeeper Dudu Aouate and knocked the ball into the net with about 30 seconds to go in the third minute of injury time.
Israel stayed in second place in Group F with eight points, ahead of Portugal on goal difference. Russia, which will play Northern Ireland in Belfast on Saturday, leads the group with 12 points.
The top team in each of the nine European groups qualifies for the tournament in Brazil, with the eight best second-place teams reaching the playoffs.
"We could say this was a point won, but if we look at the quality of the match we might say as well these were two points lost,'' Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. "Now it is even more complicated but the playoff place is still on us. We need to raise the spirit of the players. We will try and correct the mistakes and win the next match.''
Bruno Alves gave Portugal the lead in the second minute, heading in a corner from Miguel Veloso. Tomer Hemed equalized in the 24th and then set up Eden Ben Basat for another in the 40th.
"We started very well but with the game at 1-0 we couldn't manage that advantage,'' Bento said. "We lost the rhythm of the match and conceded two goals quite surprisingly.''
In the 70th minute, Rami Gershon headed in a third for Israel. But Helder Postiga pulled one back for the visitors in the 72nd.
"I am very, very disappointed,'' Israel coach Eli Gutman said. "I think our team played a team game, aggressive, modern game.''
Portugal's next game is away to Azerbaijan on Tuesday, while Israel is away to Northern Ireland.
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