|Report: FC Zenit 3 - 2 SL Benfica - 15 February 2012|
|Champions League Last 16 1st Leg | Kick-off 17:00 GMT|
3 - 2
|27' Shirokov||20' Maxi Pereira|
|71' Semak||87' Cardozo|
Benfica equalised late on but a lapse in concentration handed Zenit a small advantage in the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League Last 16 in Saint Petersburg.
The Lisbon side travelled to Russia and were subject to harsh conditions in this encounter, even though concerning both teams, Benfica were definitely the least adapted.
Maxi Pereira gave Benfica the lead when he finished off Cardozo's free kick. Zhevnov parried the ball straight in front of him and the Uruguayan was quickest to it.
Zenit reacted and equalised through Shirokov with a volley which Artur could not reach.
The home side, buoyant with the goal, came strongest in the second-half and scored their second on the 71st minute.
The «encarnados» bounced back when Cardozo scored from close range 3 minutes from full-time, however, Jesus' side lost focus and were pinned back again when Shirokov grabbed his brace.
The return leg will be played on 6th March at the Estádio da Luz, where Benfica must win in order to qualify for the Champions League Quarter-Finals.
|Possession||Shots (on target)||Corners||Offsides||Fouls||Yellows (reds)|
|53% | 47%||10(5) | 12(8)||5 | 2||6 | 3||14 | 13||2(0) | 3(0)|
Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012, 17:00 GMT PT/UK (18:00 CET, 21:00 local)
Venue: Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Competition: Champions League Last 16 First Leg
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referees: Stefan Wittberg and Fredrik Nilsson (SWE)
Additional Referees: Markus Strömbergsson and Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Fourth Referee: Daniel Stålhammar (SWE)
Weather: Clear -10ºC
TV: RTP (Portugal), Sky Sports 2 (UK ), Fox Soccer (US)
FC ZENIT Zhevnov; Anyukov (c), Bruno Alves, Lombaerts and Hubocan; Denisov, Shirokov and Zyryanov (Semak 46'); Fayzulin (Rosina 89'), Kanunnikov (Bystrov 66') and Kerzhakov
Subs: Borodin, Lukovic, Cheminava, Huszti, Rosina, Semak and Bystrov
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
BENFICA Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisão (c), Garay and Emerson; Matic, Bruno César (Nolito 76'), Witsel and Gaitán (Miguel Vítor 90'); Rodrigo (Aimar 30') and Cardozo
Subs: Eduardo, Jardel, Miguel Vítor, Nolito, Aimar, Saviola and Nélson Oliveira
Coach: Jorge Jesus
Disciplinary action: Yellow card to Luisão (13'), Bruno Alves (17'), Bruno César (45'), Anyukov (63') and Aimar (75')
Highlights: Watch match highlights here
Photos: High quality images from the game here
|Moreira, the loyal goalkeeper|
In a country where a good, consistent, solid goalkeeper is hard to find since the days of legendary Vitor Baia, Jose Moreira was tipped by many to become the next Portuguese goalkeeping star. Click here to read the farewell article on Benfica's loyal goalkeeper.
|Nuno Gomes, farewell Legend|
Hard worker, team player, and humble. Those are the three words that describe Nuno Gomes, or what most fans called him, Nuno Golos. Click here to read the farewell article on Benfica's former captain.
|Benfica according to Domingo Soares|
Benfica Magazine 'Mistica' interviewed Benfica SAD Administrator Domingo Soares de Oliveira in their May 2009 issue. The important figure reveals accounts and strategies for the club's future and gives a personal insight on the world of Benfica. Click here to read the extracts of the exclusive interview.
Get bored no more at half-time. The beautiful Benfica cheerleaders were a hot transfer in 2007/08 season and were present at every home Liga Sagres game until 2008/09. Did the average attendance go up slightly? Click here to see the gallery and find out for yourself!
|Estádio da Luz construction|
Inaugurated in 2003, Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica was built mainly during 2002/03 to replace the famous Estádio da Luz for the 2004 European Championships. With the finals in mind, the 5-star rated venue was designed for the greatest games and events, continuing the tradition of the biggest stadium in Portugal. Click here to see images of how the Cathedral was built.
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