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Benfica salvage hopes in Spain

Published: Friday 6 April 2007, 0.15CET
RCD Espanyol 3-2 SL Benfica Nuno Gomes and Simão restored Benfica's hopes after they fell 3-0 behind before the hour-mark in Barcelona.
by Alex O'Henley
from Estadio Olímpico de Montjuic

Match statistics

EspanyolBenfica

Goals scored3
 
2
Attempts on target8
 
6
Attempts off target1
 
5
Corners2
 
6
Offsides4
 
1
Fouls committed28
 
18
Yellow cards2
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Friday 6 April 2007, 0.15CET

Benfica salvage hopes in Spain

RCD Espanyol 3-2 SL Benfica Nuno Gomes and Simão restored Benfica's hopes after they fell 3-0 behind before the hour-mark in Barcelona.

SL Benfica came back from three goals down to maintain their hopes of reaching this season's UEFA Cup final as they lost 3-2 to RCD Espanyol in the first leg of their quarter-final. Raúl Tamudo, Albert Riera and Walter Pandiani looked to have given the Barcelona club an unassailable lead but two strikes in the space of three second-half minutes from Nuno Gomes and captain Simão gave the visitors two priceless away goals going into next week's return in Lisbon.

Bright start
The home side settled quickly on a pitch slickened by heavy daytime rain and within two minutes Iván de la Peña fired just wide after the Benfica defence had failed to clear Pablo Zabaleta's cross. De la Peña did his best to open up the Benfica rearguard with an array of deft incisions but when the breakthrough came on 15 minutes, it was another hero of the Espanyol faithful who inflicted the damage. The Lisbon outfit dithered in possession from their own throw-in, allowing Luis García to play in Tamudo and the striker sidestepped David Luiz before lifting his shot coolly over the advancing Quim.

Advantage doubled
The Portuguese team responded with a series of set-pieces but failed to make any genuine chances and were punished just after the half-hour when Espanyol doubled their advantage. Once again skipper Tamudo was involved, linking with García down the right before dinking a cross over to Riera. The midfielder's left-footed shot was probably going in anyway but Nélson removed any doubt by heading the ball into his own net. Benfica coach Fernando Santos reacted by introducing Rui Costa for João Coimbra and, three minutes from half-time, home keeper Gorka Iraizoz was called into action for the first time from a Nuno Gomes header and then a long-range attempt by Petit.

Pandiani adds third
Benfica came out looking for a goal yet the home side still seemed the more dangerous with Francisco Rufete and the outstanding Riera offering a constant outlet down the flanks. With a healthy cushion, Espanyol coach Ernesto Valverde felt confident enough to sacrifice Tamudo for the tournament's top scorer Pandiani on 53 minutes. It proved an inspired choice as within five minutes the Uruguayan had taken his UEFA Cup tally to ten, rising above the Benfica back line to head in another excellent Riera centre.

Complexion changes
The Primera División club appeared to be heading for Lisbon with a comfortable lead but the complexion of the tie changed completely shortly after the hour. Nuno Gomes reduced the deficit with a tap-in on 63 minutes after substitute Fabrizio Miccoli had beaten the offside trap and two minutes later Simão, cutting into the box from the left, struck Benfica's second with a shot that deflected off Daniel Jarque and into the net. Miccoli then missed a chance to seal the fightback when he blazed across the face of the goal while Quim ensured there would be no further scoring at the other end by thwarting Pandiani.

Last updated: 06/04/07 10.16CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2006/matches/round=2368/match=300122/postmatch/report/index.html#benfica+salvage+hopes+spain

Lineups

espanyol

Espanyol

benfica

Benfica

1
Gorka IraizozGorka Iraizoz (GK)
12
QuimQuim (GK)
8
ZabaletaPablo Zabaleta
Yellow Card26
Substitution69
3
AndersonAnderson
Yellow Card4
9
De la PeñaIván de la Peña
5
LéoLéo
10
Luis GarcíaLuis García
6
PetitPetit
11
RieraAlbert Riera
Goal33
Yellow Card64
20
SimãoSimão (C)
Yellow Card37
Goal65
18
RufeteFrancisco Rufete
Substitution80
21
Nuno GomesNuno Gomes
Goal63
19
TorrejónMarc Torrejón
22
NélsonNélson
21
JarqueDaniel Jarque
23
David LuizDavid Luiz
22
MoisésHurtado Moisés
26
KaragounisGiorgos Karagounis
23
TamudoRaúl Tamudo (C)
Goal15
Substitution53
27
DerleiDerlei
Substitution57
30
ChicaFrancisco Chica
28
João CoimbraJoão Coimbra
Substitution36

Substitutes

25
KameniCarlos Kameni (GK)
31
MorettoMoretto (GK)
4
LacruzJesús María Lacruz
Substitution69
9
MantorrasMantorras
7
PandianiWalter Pandiani
Substitution53
Goal58
10
Rui CostaRui Costa
Substitution36
12
VelascoJuan Velasco
11
MiguelitoMiguelito
14
ItoIto
Substitution80
16
BetoBeto
17
Mohamed El Yaagoubi Moha
18
ManúManú
20
CoroCoro
30
MiccoliFabrizio Miccoli
Substitution57

Coach

Ernesto Valverde (ESP) Fernando Santos (POR)

Referee

Eric Braamhaar (NED)

Assistant referees

Adrianus Inia (NED), Arend Brink (NED)

Fourth official

Kevin Blom (NED)

Legend:

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