SL Benfica squeezed into the fourth round of the UEFA Cup despite losing 2-1 against Rosenborg BK in Trondheim and finishing the game with ten men after their goalscorer, Nuno Gomes, was sent off.
The Norwegian champions led Benfica in the third round second-leg tie with goals from Ørjan Berg and Azar Karadas inside the first 15 minutes. But Benfica, holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, came back into the game with Nuno Gomes's goal and held on under considerable pressure after his dismissal to keep alive their hopes of marking their centenary year in style.
The home side signalled their intention early on by sending a number of high balls into the Benfica penalty area, and they did not have to wait long before the tactic paid off. Benfica's defence failed to deal with a long throw-in and the ball fell to Berg, who drilled in from close range to bring the aggregate scores level in the seventh minute.
Rosenborg's big strikers combined eight minutes later to double the lead. Frode Johnsen crossed and Karadas climbed above Anderson Luis Da Silva to head powerfully into the top corner.
Benfica hardly looked able to get into the game, but suddenly scored a crucial away goal against the run of play on 19 minutes. Zlatko Zahovic took advantage of some slack Rosenborg defending to head the ball on to Portuguese striker Nuno Gomes who slotted under Espen Johnsen.
Nuno Gomes was booked eleven minutes later for unsporting conduct, a caution which would cost the striker dear. As Rosenborg continued to cause problems with high crosses, Frode Johnsen and Harald Brattbakk both had shots charged down by defenders.
Benfica were largely pegged back in their own half and suffered a blow just before half-time when Nuno Gomes was sent off for a second bookable offence. The striker fell in the Rosenborg area, and the referee ruled that the striker was simulating and showed a second yellow card.
Rosenborg put Moreira under huge pressure in the second half with a series of crosses. But the goalkeeper managed an amazing double save from Oyvind Storflor after Christer Basma had thumped a powerful header against the bar.
Miguel nearly sealed the match with a rising shot that Johnsen did well to tip over the bar. In the dying seconds, Vidar Riseth had a glorious opportunity to win the tie for Rosenborg, but directed his free header straight at Moreira.
"We had big problems in the second half because of Gomes's red card," said Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho. "At first I thought we had been awarded a penalty so I was very surprised that the referee awarded him the red card. At 2-0 down I was thinking that this would be difficult, so the goal by Gomes was very important."
Rosenborg coach Ola By Rise said: "
We gave everything. It’s a pity it was not good enough. I can understand the way Benfica played after their player was sent off, they wanted to let the game die."