Sunday, March 26, 2017

Benfica 2 Galatasaray 1: Vitoria´s side move into pole position

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 3 Nov 2015

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Benfica moved into pole position in Champions League Group C with a 2-1 victory over Galatasaray at the Estadio da Luz, despite going down to 10 men late on.

Following a defeat by the same scoreline to Hamza Hamzaoglu’s men on matchday three, Rui Vitoria’s side were level with Atletico Madrid heading into Tuesday’s fixtures.

With the Spanish outfit drawing at Astana earlier in the day, the Portuguese side knew that a win would send them two points clear at the top.

After a frustrating first half, Benfica deservedly took the lead through Jonas in the 52nd minute, only to see Lukas Podolski level with a clinical finish six minutes later.

The hosts responded positively and regained their advantage through captain Luisao in the 67th minute and, despite a late red card for Nicolas Gaitan, they held on to edge closer to a place in the last 16.

Just as he did in the previous encounter in Istanbul, Gaitan started well, firing wide following a sublime solo run in the third minute before releasing Raul Jimenez, whose effort from an acute angle was kept out by Fernando Muslera.

Burak Yilmaz – already on a booking that will rule him out of Galatasaray’s next encounter with Atletico – could have been dismissed shortly before the interval following a handball, but Gaitan was instead shown the yellow card for his protests as tempers flared.

Benfica began the second half as they did the first and within seven minutes of the restart they were ahead.

Jardel headed Gaitan’s deep free-kick into the centre of the box and, after Luisao brought the ball down, Jonas fired into the back of the net, following up on his fine form in the Primeira Liga, which has yielded eight goals in eight games.

Benfica’s lead did not last long, though, as Podolski rifled a clinical strike across Julio Cesar and into the bottom corner.

Vitoria’s team immediately set about regaining their advantage, and – after Jimenez and Anderson Talisca fired wide – Luisao was afforded time in the box to control Gaitan’s pass and pick out the top corner.

There was almost a third five minutes later, but Muslera did well to keep Gaitan’s low free-kick out of the bottom corner before blocking Jimenez’s follow-up.

A fine save from Muslera thwarted Jimenez following a swift break led by Gaitan in the 84th minute, but moments later the Argentina international was dismissed for a second booking following his trip on Emre Colak.

Selcuk Inan fired a venomous strike wide in the closing stages and Umut Bulut was denied from inside the six-yard box in stoppage time, but Galatasaray were unable to find an equaliser against the 10 men, leaving them without a win in 10 away matches in the Champions League.

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