Comeback victory flies Beşiktaş to next round

Comeback victory flies Beşiktaş to next round

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Comeback victory flies Beşiktaş to next round

Beşiktaş players celebrate a goal during their 3-1 win over Stoke City. Beşiktaş won a Europa League group for the first time in its history. AA photo

Beşiktaş progressed to the UEFA Europa League last 32 as the Group E winners following a comeback 3-1 win over Stoke City in Istanbul.

Beşiktaş finished with 12 points, while Stoke remained on 11. Dynamo Kyiv, who was held to a 3-3 draw against Maccabi Tel Aviv, finished fourth with seven points. Dynamo had two points.

Beşiktaş enters today’s UEFA Europa League round of 32 draw as a seeded team, giving the team an advantage in the competition, which was boosted by the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City.

Trabzonspor, which became the second Turkish team in the competition following a third-place finish in its Champions League group, will not be seeded in the draws.

On Dec. 14, Beşiktaş needed only a point to go through, but did more than that, and won the group following a victory.

However, things did not start as brightly for Beşiktaş, since Stoke City took the lead in 29th minute of the game, thanks to a Ricardo Fuller shot, which was deflected by defender Egemen Korkmaz.

The turning point came on 57 minutes when defender Matthew Upson was dismissed for bringing down Beşiktaş forward Hugo Almeida as he latched on to a through ball from Manuel Fernandes. Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begović was finally beaten as Portuguese Fernandes sent him the wrong way from the penalty spot and the goalscorer nearly completed the turnaround with an acrobatic volley, only for the Bosnian to win that duel.

Mustafa headed in a corner 16 minutes from time and fellow substitute Edu smashed in a late third as Stoke’s unbeaten record in the phase was comprehensively brought to an end.

Lazio, Salzburg, Steaua Bucharest and Wisla Krakow also recorded matchday six victories to earn a place in today’s draw.

Wisla did so in dramatic fashion, seemingly heading out despite a 2-1 win against Twente, already guaranteed to go through as Group K winners. Fulham was on the brink of qualifying at Wisla’s expense, but conceded an equalizer in the third minute of added time at home to Odense to miss out by a point.

Lazio had little trouble doing what was required of them, defeating Sporting – already assured of top spot in Group D – 2-0 in Rome to finish clear of Vaslui, who lost by the same scoreline at Zurich.

Salzburg’s path to second spot in their section was not quite as serene, the Austrian side coming from two goals down to win 3-2 against eliminated Slovan Bratislava. Paris Saint-Germain beat table-topping Athletic Club 4-2 but finished below Salzburg on head-to-head away goals.