A late Rui Costa goal ensured SL Benfica took the advantage from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against FC København.
Benfica had won their last home match in this competition 3-1 against the Danish champions in the 2006/07 group stage, and looked on course for another comfortable victory when Rui Costa gave them a 25th-minute lead. But Atiba Hutchinson equalised before the break and København looked destined to take a draw back to Denmark in a fortnight's time until Rui Costa struck again with a typically thunderous shot four minutes from the end.
Despite missing influential midfielder Manuel Fernandes, Benfica took control from the start but were kept at bay initially by the visiting defence. Petit's effort went wide in the sixth minute, but Benfica had to wait another 14 minutes before their next chance when Rui Costa's perfect cross was headed just past the post by summer signing Óscar Cardozo. København seemed happy to just sit back but were made to pay when Jesper Christiansen was unable to stop Rui Costa's long-range shot.
Hutchinson hits back
It took just nine minutes for the visitors, who shocked AFC Ajax at this stage last year, to hit back. Marcus Allbäck's cross from the left was only half-cleared by Luisão, and Hutchinson pounced to beat Quim with a precise, low shot. The Brazilian centre-back's night went from bad to worse two minutes later as he was forced off injured, meaning a European debut for American starlet Freddy Adu.
Sting in tail
Despite that reshuffle, Benfica began the second half in fluent style and Cardozo was just denied by Christiansen. The goalkeeper was even more impressive on the hour when he brilliantly tipped away Cardozo's strong left-footed shot. As time ticked away Benfica were becoming increasingly frustrated and København almost took advantage in the 71st minute when Jesper Grønkjær's left-footed strike flew close to the post. There was a sting in the tail though from probably Benfica's best player on the night as Rui Costa unleashed another impressive right-footed shot beyond Christiansen's grasp.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.