Substitute Marko Pantelić equalised 16 minutes from time to earn Hertha BSC Berlin a hard-earned point against SL Benfica in UEFA Cup Group B.
The Portuguese visitors went ahead after 51 minutes through Angel Di María, slightly against the run of play. But Pantelić, previously dropped for disciplinary reasons, made amends with his deflected strike.
Benfica coach Quique Sánchez Flores was missing playmaker Pablo Aimar while Hassan Yedba was injured during the warm-up, but with Eusébio among the Olympiastadion crowd there was an incentive for the visitors to turn on the style. Within four minutes a Nuno Gomes shot hit Hertha defender Arne Friedrich and flew just wide with goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobný beaten. At the other end Andriy Voronin tried a long-distance shot and soon after the on-loan Liverpool FC player was thwarted when Luisão made a brave block just as the Ukrainian was about to strike.
Voronin was having a lively game and on the half-hour his cross was palmed away by Quim with Cicero Santos lurking. The Benfica goalkeeper did well before the break to save from point-blank range after Voronin had been played in by Cicero.
Hertha continued to probe in the second half but were caught on the break within six minutes of the restart as Nuno Gomes sent a precise through ball into the path of Di María, who streaked past Marc Stein and unleashed a shot beyond Drobný into the left corner. The goal stung Hertha into even greater efforts, however, and the pressure told eight minutes after Pantelić's introduction when his powerful strike from just inside the area deflected off the legs of Maxi Pereira on its way into the net. Voronin nearly won the game three minutes later but hit the side-netting from close range.
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