Kostas Mitroglou scored from Benfica's only shot on target as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a penalty saved amid a host of missed chances by dominant Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund were left to rue a host of missed opportunities – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty chief among them – as Kostas Mitroglou's predatory effort earned Benfica a narrow first-leg lead to take to Germany in three weeks.
Mitroglou pounced against the run of play from point-blank range three minutes into the second period. Luisão, on his 500th Benfica appearance, was the creator, heading Pizzi's corner towards the back post where the Greek striker stabbed in his 13th goal in as many outings.
Aubameyang has been in decent form too, but this was a night to forget. Having missed presentable chances at the start and end of the first half, he had the possibility of redemption before the hour but drove his penalty straight down the middle of the goal and Ederson repelled it.
Dortmund continued to press but time and again their finishing let them down so it is advantage Benfica in this UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
Key player: Ederson (Benfica)
History repeated itself for Ederson tonight: the Brazilian helped secure Benfica a vital home victory in the group stage against Dynamo Kyiv by saving a spot kick and his stop from Aubameyang helped the Eagles claim a 1-0 success that could prove even more important. Coupled with some outstanding saves before and after, the 23-year-old was the definition of a match winner in Lisbon.
Benfica's bench pressing
Trailing significantly in the possession stakes and riding their luck for large parts of the first half, Benfica improved after the restart thanks to the introduction of UEFA Champions League debutant Filipe Augusto. The 23-year-old midfielder – a winter signing from Rio Ave – helped bolster the Eagles' engine room in an adapted formation.
A second defeat in four days, but while Dortmund's performance in Darmstadt arguably justified the negative result, that wasn't the case here. The Black and Yellows produced several great opportunities, yet squandered them all. With Adrián Ramos leaving in January, the team might be lacking an out-and-out scorer when Aubameyang is having a bad day at the office. Time will tell.
Paul Bryan, Benfica (@UEFAcomPaulB)
Taking full advantage of their opponents' profligate finishing, Benfica will be thrilled with a 1-0 advantage to take to Germany on 8 March. Ederson was brilliant and it seemed written in the stars when Luisão – 36 on Monday and making his 500th appearance for the hosts – supplied the assist for Mitroglou's goal.
Steffen Potter, Dortmund (@UEFAcomSteffenP)
It wasn't a big surprise that BVB played a lot better than they had against Darmstadt, because they often show their A game several times in the UEFA Champions League against strong opposition. But what must really worry Thomas Tuchel and his side is the fact they have been beaten despite that. The result, if not so much the performance, is sure to increase the pressure on the team.