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Benfica edge past Galatasaray to climb to summit

Benfica 2-1 Galatasaray
Goals from Jonas and Luisão either side of Lukas Podolski's trademark strike for the visitors secured a win that took the home team top of Group C.

Highlights: Benfica 2-1 Galatasaray
  • Benfica go top of Group C after edging past Galatasaray in Lisbon
  • Jonas clinically fires home side in front (52)
  • Lukas Podolski's accurate drive quickly brings Galatasaray level (58)
  • Luisão restores Benfica's lead (67); Nicólas Gaitán sent off for hosts late on
  • Next games: Astana v Benfica, Atlético v Galatasaray (25 November)

Benfica climbed to the top of UEFA Champions League Group C thanks to a narrow win against Galatasaray at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

Needing to bounce back from their matchday three defeat in Turkey, Benfica began brightly and a lovely pirouette from Nicolás Gaitán created the first chance, but he could only slice wide. Two minutes later Gaitán's aim was equally wayward after Raúl Jiménez's shot had been pushed out by Fernando Muslera.

Galatasaray were not without a threat of their own, however, Lukas Podolski having an effort blocked by Luisão, with Wesley Sneijder and Burak Yılmaz also having attempts charged down. Clear openings had been hard to come by, yet everything changed seven minutes after half-time as Benfica broke the deadlock.

Jardel nodded a long free-kick across the face of goal and, though Luisão was unable to control the ball, his second touch set up Jonas and the Brazilian's finish was unerring. Home celebrations had barely died down before they had been pegged back; Sneijder's pass broke off Bilal Kisa and Podolski fired resoundingly past Júlio César.

Once more the response was swift, as Benfica reclaimed the advantage, again from a set piece. Gaitán's corner was cleared only to Raúl, whose chip found Luisão in space at the far post; showing admirable composure, the centre-back steadied himself before rifling high into the net.

Luisão (L) after making it 2-1
Luisão (L) after making it 2-1©AFP/Getty Images

Moments later Muslera's double save kept the visitors in the contest, stretching to push away Gaitán's low free-kick and repelling Raúl's rebound. The goalkeeper then denied Raúl again after Gaitán's clever back-heel, and seconds later the Benfica No10 brought down Emre Çolak and was dismissed.

Galatasaray had rarely threatened a second equaliser, although their captain Selçuk İnan sent a strike whistling wide as he attempted to orchestrate one final effort. The opportunity duly arrived in the last seconds after Umut Bulut had been foiled by César; with the goal gaping, Yasin Öztekin closed in on the rebound but the keeper, helped by two defenders, blocked to preserve the points.

©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images