Zlatko Zahovic scored the only goal of the game as SL Benfica took an important step towards the fourth round of the UEFA Cup with a 1-0 third round first-leg victory at home against Rosenborg BK. But José Camacho’s side will feel disappointed not to be taking a greater advantage with them to Norway next week after dominating a one-sided match.
There were no surprises in the Benfica team with Tomislav Sokota and Luisão both injured and Fyssas Panagiotis cup-tied. Rosenborg, as expected, were without the injured Roar Strand.
Benfica started brightly, attacking down both flanks with Armando Petit providing the anchor in the centre of midfield. Rosenborg were content to sit back and soak up the Benfica pressure, but the home side almost found a way through as early as the fifth minute, Nuno Gomes forcing Johnsen into a diving save to his right with a powerful shot from outside the box. Johnsen saved sharply again eight minutes later, this time from Simão Sabrosa as Benfica continued to press.
Moreira to the rescue
Rosenborg were pegged back for long spells, leaving Azar Karadas up front as their main attacking outlet, supported from deep by Øyvind Storflor and Martin Brattbakk. But they were creating chances on the break and José Moreira was called on to save well on 29 minutes before turning away a shot from Brattbakk five minutes before the interval.
Benfica hit back with good interplay between Simão and Armando Sá on the left, but the latter shot weakly when through on goal and the chance was wasted. Opportunities fell to both sides early in the second half, with Simão shooting narrowly wide before Moreira came off his line to save well at the feet of Karadas on 47 minutes.
Nuno Gomes then contrived to miss from close range after a Petit corner had eluded the Rosenborg defence, but on 59 minutes the breakthrough finally came, Joao Pereira and Nuno Gomes combining to release Zahovic, whose powerful shot from outside the area flashed past Johnsen.
From then on only the goalkeeper stood between Benfica and a greater winning margin. On 61 minutes he brilliantly blocked Simão’s attempt with his feet and eight minutes after that Joao Pereira put Luis Miguel through, but Johnsen was again equal to the challenge to leave Rosenborg with a chance next week.