After a back and forth tussle, Benfica ensured that their UEFA Champions League journey continued by edging past Fenerbahce. The Turkish side knew that they had to come straight at Benfica from the word go but they weren’t quite able to take the necessary chances early in the game to put the pressure on them. The visitors knew they only really needed to protect their lead, but in front of an intimidating crowd, that was always going to be difficult.
Thankfully their worries were eased less than half an hour into the game when Alper Potuk put them into the lead, giving them a 2-0 lead on aggregate with an away goal to go alongside it. Benfica then began to relax into the game and had a lot more freedom, but just as they began to let their guard down with half-time approaching, Carvalho Fernandes brought Fenerbahce right back into the equation by levelling up the scores on the night.
Despite Benfica having more chances many of them were wide of the mark, whereas Fenerbahce were periodically chasing a second goal – knowing that they would’ve required a third had they gotten to that point. The home side controlled the possession for most of the game but the half-time break wound up helping Benfica, as it killed a lot of the momentum that Fenerbahce had built up from the goal.
As the minutes ticked by it became more and more obvious that Benfica would be the side progressing, which led to the frustrations coming out on both sides of the ball in the form of yellow cards. It was always bound to happen with teams as feisty as these, especially given that you could make the argument they both deserve to play in the group stages of the competition this season.
Alas, as the final whistle blew it was clear to see that Benfica just about deserved their 2-1 aggregate victory, as they look ahead to what’s next. They’ll be facing Boavista in the league before taking on PAOK in the first-leg of their UCL play-off, with Fenerbahce gearing up to let their frustrations out on Yeni Malatyaspor.
Fenerbahce: Demirel (6), Isla (6.5), Neustadter (6), Skrtel (6.5), Kaldirim (6), Elmas (6), Topal (7), Ayew (6.5), Giuliano (6), Valbuena (6), Potuk (7)
Benfica: Vlachodimos (6), Almeida (6.5), Alves Dias (6), Jardel (6), Grimaldo (6.5), Fejsa (6), Salvio (7), Pizzi (6.5), Carvalho Fernandes (7.5), Cervi (6), Castillo (6)
Referee: Slavko Vincic
Goals: Potuk :: Fernandes
Yellow Cards: Elmas, Ozbayrakli, Vlachodimos, Alves Dias, Salvio, Pizzi
Red Cards: N/A
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