Captain Luisão led from the front with a goal as SL Benfica enjoyed a comfortable win against RSC Anderlecht in UEFA Champions League Group C.
Filip Djuričić's early opener sent Benfica on their way and Luisão's fine finish on the half-hour left Anderlecht with a mountain to climb. Despite a marked second-half improvement the Belgian champions were unable to find a way back.
With the final being played at their Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica home next May, the hosts had every incentive to perform and things began perfectly for coach Jorge Jesus. Djuričić, signed from sc Heerenveen this summer, was one of two players brought into the starting lineup and the Serbian international midfielder made an instant impact, tapping in in the fourth minute after Anderlecht goalkeeper Silvio Proto had spilled Enzo Pérez's shot. Benfica had found plenty of space to pop the ball around, Pérez exchanging passes with the lively Óscar Cardozo before firing at goal.
Aleksandar Mitrović's double against KV Mechelen on Saturday encouraged Anderlecht coach John Van den Brom to hand the 19-year-old forward his debut in the UEFA Champions League proper. The Serbian international was largely starved off service, although he did manage a looping header in the 18th minute that was comfortably dealt with by Artur. Cardozo, bidding for his first goal of the season for last season's UEFA Europa League finalists, delighted the home fans with his determined play, firing in a powerful shot from range midway through the opening period.
Benfica were content to allow the visitors the majority of possession and, having soaked up the pressure, doubled their lead on the half-hour thanks to captain Luisão's accomplished finish. Anderlecht failed to clear a Pérez corner and right-back André Almeida headed it back into the danger zone, Luisão controlling with his chest and slamming the ball beyond Proto.
The home team switched to a conventional 4-4-2 for the second half with Ghanaian winger Frank Acheampong shaking up a hitherto tranquil Benfica back line with his speed. Matías Suárez had a rasping shot beaten away by Artur as Anderlecht threatened and the game opened up. Artur saved well from a late Suárez header and the same player was then crowded out as he tried to dribble through, Benfica duly recording their first clean sheet of the season.
Jesus' side will travel to Paris Saint-Germain FC on matchday two level on points with the French champions, while Anderlecht welcome Olympiacos FC to Belgium in their next fixture.