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Benfica's Zenit late show wins quarter-final spot

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2016, 19.59CET
Zenit 1-2 Benfica (agg: 1-3)
The tie was heading for extra time when Nicolás Gaitán headed in a decisive equaliser, Talisca's 96th-minute winner adding insult to Zenit injury.
by Richard van Poortvliet
from Stadion Petrovskiy
Benfica's Zenit late show wins quarter-final spot
Benfica celebrate after sealing victory ©AFP/Getty Images

Match statistics

ZenitBenfica

Goals scored1
 
2
Possession (%)53
 
47
Total attempts15
 
13
on target4
 
9
off target5
 
2
blocked6
 
2
against woodwork0
 
0
Corners7
 
5
Offsides6
 
2
Yellow cards1
 
2
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed14
 
22
Fouls suffered19
 
14
Passes461
 
361
completed391
 
297

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 9 March 2016, 19.59CET

Benfica's Zenit late show wins quarter-final spot

Zenit 1-2 Benfica (agg: 1-3)
The tie was heading for extra time when Nicolás Gaitán headed in a decisive equaliser, Talisca's 96th-minute winner adding insult to Zenit injury.

  • Nicolás Gaitán strikes five minutes from time to decide the tie
  • Benfica through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012
  • The Portuguese side have won 16 of their last 17 games
  • Hulk's 69th-minute header briefly levels matters on aggregate
  • Quarter-final draw at 12.00CET on 18 March in Nyon

Nicolás Gaitán nodded in the rebound after a fantastic effort from Raúl Jiménez five minutes from time as Benfica booked a return to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of hosts Zenit.

The round of 16 tie was set for extra time after Hulk's header cancelled out the first-leg deficit, with Artem Dzyuba almost grabbing a second for André Villas-Boas's men following a mazy run, being denied by the excellent Ederson.

Instead Raúl turned his marker and unleashed a shot that Yuri Lodygin did well to tip onto the bar. Benfica captain Gaitán was on hand to turn the ball in and six minutes into added time Talisca rubbed salt into Zenit wounds.

Both back lines were ravaged by injury and suspension, with midfielder Andreas Samaris a shock starter at centre-back for the visitors. Yet defences held sway for the first hour. There was plenty of intent from Zenit, but it was measured nonetheless – trailing 1-0 from the game in Lisbon, they could not afford to concede an away goal.

First-leg highlights: Jonas winner

Dzyuba was the hosts' most potent threat, flashing an early effort wide. Gradually, though, Benfica's rearguard, featuring goalkeeper Ederson on his UEFA Champions League debut, found some cohesion and Samaris shone, a natural with seemingly his own gravitational pull for crosses.

Zenit responded by committing more men forward, and Ederson had to be alert to deny Dzyuba and substitute Igor Smolnikov. At the other end Jonas, on the counter, wasted the opportunity to earn some breathing space – a miss for which, 21 minutes from time, Hulk made them pay, ghosting in unmarked to head in Yuri Zhirkov's cutback.

It looked to be enough for extra time at least, until Raúl turned the match on its head.

©AFP/Getty Images

Samaris tracks Dzyuba

Key man: Andreas Samaris
With Benfica decimated, coach Rui Vitória deployed Greece midfielder Samaris as emergency centre-half. The 26-year-old came through the examination with flying colours, keeping the likes of Dzyuba at bay and marshalling an inexperienced back line – defensive partner Victor Lindelöf was making just his second UEFA Champions League outing.

Opportunity knocks for Ederson
Júlio César may struggle to get back into the Benfica side at this rate. The veteran has skipped the last two games with a thigh problem and Ederson has – quite literally – grabbed the chance with both hands. A clean sheet in Saturday's derby win at Sporting CP and now a memorable UEFA Champions League debut. The 22-year-old Brazilian may take some shifting.

How far can Benfica go?
Benfica came to the Stadion Petrovskiy vastly understrength and showed exceptional resilience to carve out a victory that takes them through to the quarter-finals. The likes of Samaris, Ederson and the equally exceptional Renato Sanches produced when their team needed it most and showed that Benfica can dig deep in times of adversity.

©AFP/Getty Images

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Last updated: 04/04/16 11.51CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2016/matches/round=2000635/match=2015769/postmatch/report/index.html#benfica+late+show+stuns+zenit

Lineups

zenit

Zenit

benfica

Benfica

1
LodyginYuri Lodygin (GK)
1
EdersonEderson (GK)
2
AnyukovAleksandr Anyukov
Substitution58
5
FejsaLjubomir Fejsa
6
LombaertsNicolas Lombaerts
7
SamarisAndreas Samaris
7
HulkHulk
Goal69
Yellow Card90+5
10
GaitánNicolás Gaitán (C)
Goal85
8
MaurícioMaurício
Substitution82
11
MitroglouKostas Mitroglou
Yellow Card36
Substitution67
9
KokorinAleksandr Kokorin
Substitution58
14
LindelöfVictor Lindelöf
10
DannyDanny (C)
17
JonasJonas
Substitution90+2
13
Luís NetoLuís Neto
19
EliseuEliseu
22
DzyubaArtem Dzyuba
21
PizziPizzi
Yellow Card49
Substitution73
28
WitselAxel Witsel
50
SemedoNélson Semedo
81
ZhirkovYuri Zhirkov
85
Renato SanchesRenato Sanches

Substitutes

41
M. KerzhakovMikhail Kerzhakov (GK)
13
Paulo LopesPaulo Lopes (GK)
14
YusupovArtur Yusupov
Substitution82
9
JiménezRaúl Jiménez
Substitution67
17
ShatovOleg Shatov
Substitution58
18
SalvioEduardo Salvio
Substitution73
19
SmolnikovIgor Smolnikov
Substitution58
20
Gonçalo GuedesGonçalo Guedes
24
GarayEzequiel Garay
28
SílvioSílvio
52
IvanovAndrei Ivanov
30
TaliscaTalisca
Substitution90+2
Goal90+6
92
DolgovPavel Dolgov
66
Rúben DiasRúben Dias

Coach

André Villas-Boas (POR) Rui Vitória (POR)

Referee

Viktor Kassai (HUN)

Assistant referees

György Ring (HUN), Vencel Tóth (HUN)

Fourth official

Istvan Albert (HUN)

Additional assistant referees

Tamás Bognar (HUN), Ádám Farkas (HUN)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution