Benfica 2 : 0 Trabzonspor – Eagles cruise to victory in their UEFA Champions League qualifier

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Benfica 2 : 0 Trabzonspor – Eagles cruise to victory in their UEFA Champions League qualifier

Portuguese giants Benfica brushed pass Turkish league runners-up, Trabzonspor, at the Estadio da Luz to claim a 2-0 victory in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League 3rd round qualifier.

The Reds were favourites for the favourites before the match and eventually cruised to victory courtesy of second-half goals from Nicolás Gaitán and Nolito.

Argentina International, Gaitan, was the main attacking threat during the match for Benfica and he nearly got off to flying start in the 12th minute after he drew a fingertip save from the  goalkeeper with his hopeful drive.

The hosts were looking to draw first blood and had a penalty claim by Oscar Cardozo turned down. A yellow card for Giray Kaçar and a wasted free-kick piled the pressure on the visitors but Benfica still didn’t have anything to show for their efforts uptil
the 24th minute.

With the Lisbon side going on an all-out attack, they were left short of defensive cover and Trabzonspor nearly capitalized but their goal was correctly ruled out for offside.

The disallowed goal seemed to spur the Turkish side on and they consistently threatened Artur’s goal, but the Brazilian denied the opposition from taking the lead by punching the ball clear after an excellent interception by new signing Emerson.

However the action faded near the end of the half with Cardozo’s poorly taken free kick and the bookings of Didier Zokora and Ruben Amorim being the only highlights.

After the interval, Benfica started the half as they had begun the first with Gaitan embarking on a solo run that was comfortably dealt by the Black sea storm.

Trabzonspor were unlucky once again and had to come cope with the heartache of having their goal ruled-out for the second time in the match on 52 minutes.

Manager Jorge Jesus decided to add fresh legs to his side and sent Nolito and Maxi Pereira on for Enzo Perez and Ruben Amorim respectively. The two substitutions were sandwiched between a great chance for Pablo Aimar, who unusually blasted the ball wide
of target after being set-up by the lively Gaitan.

The tactic paid dividends immediately and started a run of play that first saw Javier Saviola hit a shot against the post, followed by the first goal of the match.

Nolito scored the opener after a great pass by Aimar and finally broke the deadlock in the otherwise uninspiring encounter.

Benfica looked to get their second of the night and had valid appeal for penalty turned down, after a certain handball was overlooked by the officials. The ensuing melee saw Gaitán getting booked for his legitimate protests.

The attacking midfielder had seen yellow but it did not deter his attitude, as he pressed and pressed for another goal. His side nearly took the lead when goal-scorer Nolito fed a clean through ball to Cardozo but despite being one on one the Paraguayan
saw his shot being saved by the goalkeeper, Onur Kıvrak.

Gaitan finally added a goal to his name after he hit a curling effort that nestled in the top corner during stoppage time.

The final act saw Artur savour a clean sheet after he pulled a smart save following a slip from Emerson.

Benfica will now look to wrap up the tie, when they travel to the Hüseyin Avni Aker stadium on the 3rd of August for the 2nd leg of the qualifiers.





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