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Cacau keeps Stuttgart rolling

Published: Thursday 4 November 2004, 21.31CET
VfB Stuttgart 3-0 SL Benfica Cacau sparks a second group stage victory for Matthias Sammer's side.
Published: Thursday 4 November 2004, 21.31CET

Cacau keeps Stuttgart rolling

VfB Stuttgart 3-0 SL Benfica Cacau sparks a second group stage victory for Matthias Sammer's side.

VfB Stuttgart seized control of UEFA Cup Group G with an emphatic victory against SL Benfica at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion.

Superb performance
Cacau struck first on 31 minutes before second-half goals from Silvio Meissner and Kevin Kuranyi made sure of the points as Matthias Sammer's side followed up their 5-1 defeat of KSK Beveren of Matchday 1 with another superb performance.

Petit out
Meissner and Horst Heldt returned for Stuttgart after missing Saturday's Bundesliga defeat by FC Schalke 04, while Martin Stranzl replaced Mathieu Delpierre, the only change from the side that beat Beveren. For Benfica, Paulo Almeida replaced Petit, injured in their opening 4-2 win against SC Heerenveen, Euripides Amoreirinha came in for Miguel and Zlatko Zahovic made way for Geovanni up front.

Even start
Clear chances were at a premium in a tight opening period, though Stuttgart were denied an early opportunity when Ricardo Rocha's late interception dispossessed Meissner after the Benfica defence had been caught flat. Benfica's best chance of the half fell to João Pereira. Nuno Gomes' defence-splitting pass sent Simão Sabrosa clear and he rounded Stuttgart goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand, before crossing for Pereira, who shot weakly at Hildebrand who had recovered well to save.

Cacau scores
Benfica paid for that miss when Cacau put the home side ahead. A half-cleared cross fell to the Brazilian on the edge of the area and he volleyed the ball low beyond José Moreira to add to the pair of goals he scored against Beveren two weeks ago.

All change
Benfica coach Giovanni Trapattoni, in charge of the 1,200th match of his career, instructed his side to change from light-blue shirts to orange at the interval. But the change in colour did not alter the pattern of the match, and the Portuguese side fell further behind eight minutes into the second period.

Meissner goal
The warning signs were there when an unmarked Meissner glanced a header into Moreira's arms, and the midfield player made no mistake with a similar chance seconds later, heading left-back Philipp Lahm's curling cross powerfully past Moreira to make the score 2-0.

Marauding Lahm
Benfica tried belatedly to assert themselves, but as they pushed forward Stuttgart began to pose problems on the break. Cacau came close after a cut back from the marauding Lahm, but his miskicked effort went wide.

Kuranyi strikes
But another goal was not long in coming, Kuranyi pouncing on a rebound to head into an empty net on 72 minutes after Moreira had superbly saved another header from Soldo. Manuel Fernandes struck a post from distance for Benfica soon after, but Stuttgart too were making chances, Moreira saving after another run and shot from the impressive Lahm.

Stuttgart top
The result leaves Stuttgart top on six points from two matches and they will qualify with a third straight win on 25 November away to Heerenveen. Benfica fall to third on goal difference after NK Dinamo Zagreb, who they next play, thrashed Beveren 6-1 in the group's other match.

Last updated: 05/11/04 10.55CET