In the 3rd preliminary round for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, Benfica faced a tough opponent with the Spartak Moscow of Samuel Gigot (ex-AA Gent and KV Kortrijk).
Benfica, with Jan Vertonghen between the lines, started the match strongly, but that did not produce many opportunities. Spartak put in a solid organization and gave little away before the break. A yellow card for Spartak, that’s all that referee Jovanovic had to note before half-time.
Afterwards, Benfica managed to find holes in the Russian defenses. Rafa Silva scored the opening goal after a cross from newcomer Joao Mario, moments later Brazilian substitute Gilberto doubled the score.
Benfica on roses after the first leg in Moscow. In the next round, Vertonghen and co will probably meet PSV Eindhoven, the Dutch already won 3-0 against the Danish FC Midtjylland in their first match yesterday.
Czech top club Slavia Prague, which reached the quarter-finals in the Europa League last season, started its Champions League adventure with a setback.
Nicolae Stanciu (ex-Anderlecht) and co had a hard time against Ferencvaros and lost through an own goal from Zima and a converted penalty from Kharatin: 2-0. So there is still a lot of work for Slavia in Prague. At Ferencvaros, the Belgian brothers Samy and Ryan Mmaee kicked off.
Dinamo Zagreb and Legia Warsaw kept the first leg in a 1-1 draw. Ernest Muci erased the opening goal of the Croatian Bruno Petkovic. With the removal of the away goals rule, Legia Warsaw no longer has an advantage.