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Benfica seize control against Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur FC 1-3 SL Benfica
Defender Luisão scored twice after Rodrigo grabbed the first as the Portuguese side took control of the tie at White Hart Lane.

Benfica seize control against Tottenham
Benfica seize control against Tottenham ©UEFA.com

Last season's losing UEFA Europa League runners-up SL Benfica took a big step towards this year's quarter-finals with an impressive win at Tottenham Hotspur FC.

In a repeat of a famous 1962 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final between the pair, it was the winners from 52 years ago that took a first-half lead through Rodrigo and captain Luisão increased the margin in the second period. Christian Eriksen pulled a goal back for Tim Sherwood's team but Luisão set the seal on a polished Benfica away performance with his second.

After a cagey start completely in contrast with a pulsating atmosphere under the White Hart Lane lights, Benfica looked dangerous on the counterattack, and it was on one such break that the Portuguese league leaders took the lead just before the half-hour. Rúben Amorim carved open the home defence with a magnificent pass from halfway which Rodrigo sprinted on to, and the Spanish striker beat Hugo Lloris with a cool finish into the far corner.

Returning for the second period in fired-up mood, Spurs almost drew level within minutes. Eriksen's mazy dribble ended with him playing in Emmanuel Adebayor, but the forward dragged his shot wide. Soon after, Aaron Lennon cut in from the right, but hit his effort straight at goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

The visitors almost snatched a second when Amorim robbed Harry Kane and saw his powerful shot tipped over by Lloris, but it was only a temporary reprieve. Amorim's corner to the near post found Luisão, and the unchallenged defender flicked his header into the far corner of the net.

Tottenham refused to lie down and within five minutes had a lifeline. Eriksen's beautifully-flighted free-kick dipped over the Benfica wall and into the corner of Oblak's goal. With the atmosphere in the famous old ground swelling again, Jorge Jesus's team braced themselves for an onslaught.

Yet a set-piece again did the trick for Benfica in the closing minutes. Ezequiel Garay's header from substitute Nicolás Gaitán's free-kick drew a sharp save from Lloris, but Luisão mopped up the rebound emphatically to leave Spurs with an uphill task in Lisbon next week.