Thu, Feb 16, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Benfica sneak win past Borussia Dortmund


SL Benfica’s Luisao heads the ball in their UEFA Champions League last-16, first-leg match against Borussia Dortmund at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Friday.

Photo: EPA

SL Benfica on Tuesday pulled off a classic smash-and-grab job as they beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in their UEFA Champions League last-16, first-leg match.

Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou scored the only goal of the game, prodding home from close range at the second attempt just after halftime after Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki stopped his initial effort.

Benfica goalkeeper Ederson, who has relegated former Brazil first choice shot-stopper Julio Cesar to the bench this season, was the star of the show, making a slew of crucial saves.

However, Dortmund will have many regrets after a wasteful performance, in particular from striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had a torrid evening, missing three golden opportunities.

Dortmund had the first clear chance on 10 minutes, as French youngster Ousmane Dembele slipped Aubameyang in on goal, but the Gabon striker lifted his shot not only over Ederson, but also the bar.

Dortmund were well on top in the early stages, but poor control cost Raphael Guerreiro and Erik Durm when well-placed to shoot.

The visitors then fashioned a chance with Guerreiro picking out Dembele 10 yards from goal, but reported Manchester United target Victor Lindelof bravely threw himself in front of the shot to deflect the ball behind for a corner.

Dortmund should have gone in front on 38 minutes when Benfica centerback Ljubomir Fejsa dallied, allowing Guerreiro to cross from the byline.

However, with Ederson stranded, Aubameyang was centimeters away from converting the ball into an empty net from two yards out.

Ederson was a relieved man to see Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli wave away Dortmund protests after the goalkeeper clattered into Dembele on the edge of his box.

Having produced nothing in the first half, Benfica went in front three minutes into the second after Mitroglou was left unmarked two yards out to poke home Luisao’s header from a Pizzi corner.

Thereafter, the one-way traffic continued heading toward the home goal was relentless.

Ederson saved a point-blank effort from Dembele inside the six yard box before Aubameyang lifted a carbon copy of his first-half chance again just over the bar.

Ederson made smart stops to deny Marco Reus and then Lukasz Piszczek before Dortmund were given a lifeline when Fejsa handled a cross from Marc Bartra.

However, Aubameyang’s miserable night continued with a woeful penalty stroked nonchalantly down the middle that the static Ederson merely punched clear.

Aubameyang was put out of his misery a few minutes later as coach Thomas Turchel replaced him with Andre Schuerle just past the hour mark.

Dortmund continued to press, but Reus hooked a volley wide before Ederson showed lightening reactions to save one-handed from a Christian Pulisic volley that took a wicked deflection.

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