Eduardo Salvio and Óscar Cardozo produced splendid finishes to give SL Benfica a comfortable UEFA Europa League round of 32 win at VfB Stuttgart, with the prize a tie against Paris Saint-Germain FC.
A 2-1 first-leg win in Lisbon had tilted the tie in favour of Jorge Jesus's side, and they extended their aggregate lead with a first win on German soil in 19 games. A UEFA Europa League winner with Club Atlético de Madrid last season, Salvio provided the killer blow on 31 minutes, drilling a low shot past Marc Ziegler from distance, and Cardozo's free-kick underlined their advantage late on.
Taking their winning streak in all competitions to 16 games, Benfica roared out of the blocks with Ziegler tipping Nicolás Gaitan's audacious chip over within the first ten minutes. Stuttgart had chances but Ziegler was their hero, yet while he denied Fábio Coentrão with his legs, the 34-year-old had little chance when a corner was cleared into the path of Salvio; the on-loan Argentinian's skidding first-time effort was unstoppable.
Ziegler's bravery, however, was not in doubt. Playing in only his second game this season, he blocked Franco Jara's effort just after the break and was taken off after being injured while diving at the feet of Gaitan. His replacement, Sven Ulreich, showed why he has been Stuttgart's No1 this season, producing a stunning save to tip a Cardozo shot over the bar.
Benfica keeper Roberto demonstrated similarly sharp instincts to push a Shinji Okazaki effort over, but within minutes the tie was done and dusted, Cardozo's free-kick crashing into the net off Ulreich's left-hand post. The 22-year-old custodian spared the Bundesliga strugglers further indignity, palming away a Carlos Martins shot late on, though Stuttgart had Zdravko Kuzmanović sent off in the dying seconds.
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