The referee blows the full-time whistle as Benfica beat Spartak Moscow 2-0.
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The referee blows the full-time whistle as Benfica beat Spartak Moscow 2-0.
Bruno Cesar takes the free kick and whips it around the wall into the side netting. So close.
Perez is hauled down on the edge of the box. Will Cardozo fancy this?
We'll have four minutes of added time.
Bruno Cesar thinks he's scored. John slides a little six-yard pass into his feet which allows him to spin and fire a bullet of a shot on goal. It moves in the air and whistles inches past the left post. Rebrov was absolutely nowhere near it.
Ari does superbly well in the middle of the pitch to wriggle past two challenges and play in Ananidze down the left. The substitute travels 20 yards and pulls the ball back into the path of Ari who overruns the ball out for a goal kick.
Benfica have started to sit back over these last few minutes as they look to see out the match. They're sitting with two banks of four and asking the visitors to break them down.
Ananidze goes close. The youngster cuts in from the left, shimmies past Almeida and tries to find the far corner. Artur is fully stretched but the ball curls wide of the post.
Benfica have had 21 attempts on target so far compared to Spartak’s six. It has been a very accomplished performance by the hosts.
Cardozo has only been on the pitch half an hour and probably should have four, if not five, goals to his name. It's been some performance.
Cardozo should score, again!! He's sent through by John and only has the keeper to beat. He prods it wide of the left hand post with his right boot. Had that been on his left, I think he'd have scored.
Maxi Pereira is given a standing ovation as he makes way. Andre Gomes is the man to come on.
Jurado is booked. He should have gone into the book moments before for a late challenge on Pereira but goes into the book for a push on Perez.
As it stands, Benfica will leapfrog tonight’s opponents. The Portuguese side will have four points and Spartak will be bottom of the table on three.
Marek Suchy is Spartak's third and final substitute of the evening. He replaces Bilyaletdinov.
Replays show that Rebrov got the slightest touch on the ball and pushed it into the bar. Fantastic save.
MISSED PENALTY! Cardozo blasts the ball straight into the crossbar and will have to wait for his hat-trick!!
Cardozo was hauled down in the box by Pareja who was shwon a straight red having already seen a yellow. Cardozo will take the penalty.
BENFICA ARE AWARDED A PENALTY! PAREJA IS SENT OFF!
The score really could be so very different had the Spartak players taken their chances. Bilyaletdinov, D.Kombarov and Dzyuba should have all scored.
Lima's number goes up as Bruno Cesar comes on. The striker has been very busy tonight and rightfully receives a loud applause from the crowd.
Ari finds Makeev with a slick through ball. The right-back pulls it back into the path of Dzyuba who drills it straight into the feet of Artur from eight yards. Should score.
Artem Dzyuba is brought on as Källström makes way.
Kallstrom gets a rare run at the Benfica defence but Garay jockeys him all the way and is able to make a challenge, winning the ball.
What an inspired substitution by Jorge Jesus. The Paraguayan has made the difference so far. He'll be hungry for that hat-trick.
He's got his second. Surely that will be enough for the hosts! Cardozo pulls away from Insaurralde in the box and meets John's cross. The striker is able to wrap his left foot around the ball and finds the corner of the net, leaving Rebrov no chance at all.
Rafael controls well on the edge of his own area and takes the ball out of defence confidently. The ball is played out wide to Makeev, whose control lets him down and the visitors lose possession.
Jurado outpaces Jardel down the left and crosses from the byline. Nobody is in support and the danger is cleared.
Cardozo hits the bar!! Benfica's corner is flicked on at the front post by Garay. The substitute times his run well at the far post to meet the ball. Cardozo nods his shot back across goal but can only find the top of the bar.
It’s now Lima’s turn to shoot from distance. The striker takes the ball on the left and cuts inside past two challenges. With not much else on, the No. 11 drills his shot at goal. There’s plenty behind it but the ball flies over.
Cardozo wants his second of the evening after collecting the ball 35 yards from goal. He has options either side but opts to shoot and drags it way wide.
Ari is caught offside yet again. This is becoming ridiculous now. The Benfica back-four aren't exactly exhibiting the best offside trap in the world, it's just a bit lazy from the striker.
Despite being 1-0 up and this being enough, the Portuguese side are still pushing up. Unai Emery makes his first change of the night. K. Kombarov is replaced by Jano Ananidze.
John and Cardozo link now as the hosts attack down the left. Makeev commits another foul and that may well be his last chance.
Spartak attack straight away looking for the equaliser. Jurado has the ball at his feet and shrugs off one challenge before trying to find D. Kombarov put the pass is cut out on the edge of the penalty area.
GOAL!! This time it counts! Cardozo gets his eighth goal in 10 appearances this season. Melgarejo is slipped in by John and lofts the ball to the back post towards the big striker. Cardozo nods down into the ground and past Rebrov.
D. Kombarov fires at goal from close range after being found on the right-hand side of the penalty area. The winger is under pressure from Maxi Pereira and can only fire straight at the body of Artur.
Cardozo goes down under the challenge from Makeev, who is already on a yellow card. The referee acknowledges that there is no contact and weaves play on.
The game is really stretched. Cardozo is again in the thick of the action and is released down the left. Lima is struggling in support as the big striker crosses. Rebrov is off his line and claims the ball.
Cardozo has the ball in the back of the net. But the flag is up. The decision is tight as the striker is played in by Lima. I don't think he's offside but the goal is chalked off.
Bilyaletdinov capitalises on a poor clearance from Jardel. The striker gets free in the box and fires a shot straight at Artur. Should have done better.
Ari is caught offside again. The guy has bags of pace so really shouldn’t be in an offside position so often. Frustrating, really. K.Kombarov comes across and brings down salvio.
Cardozo links up well with Lima. The big Paraguayan chests well and feeds his partner who drags his shot well wide. He’s claiming a deflection but a goal kick is awareded.
Rafael is sent down the left and flicks the ball inside to Bilyaletdinov. The Russian chests it towards Ari who is making an incisive run but the pass isn’t quite good enough.
Rodrigo was replaced at half time as Oscar Cardozo is introduced. The hosts now have two out-and-out strikers on the field. Bold move.
The second half is under way. Benfica kick off as the home crowd greet it with a huge roar.
John plays Rodrigo in down the left and it looks promising for the hosts with Lima free in the box. The linesman's flag is raised and that's the chance gone. The whistle is blown by Florian Meyer. Half time.
The fourth official holds up the board and signals two minutes of added time. Salvio shoots from distance after beating a number of men in the middle of the pitch. The skill to skip past the challenges but the shot is lacking.
Spartak do counter attack very well and looked dangerous when going forward then. Benfica have had the majority of possession but will be wary of the threat the Russian side pose.
D. Kombarov bursts down the left and sends in a devilish ball. Ari looks like getting on the end of it but the ball is cleared by Garay. Corner.
It looks like the sides will go into the break all square unless something is to happen in these next few minutes. The hosts have been the much better footballing side and have worked their midfield excellently. They’ll be disappointed not to be leading.
Makeev’s misplaces header gives the hosts a corner. It’s whipped onto the penalty spot but only cleared as far as John on the edge of the penalty area. The striker looks to take on his man but Rebrov is out to claim the ball.
Replays show that Rebrov would have had that covered, should it have been on target. Ari is caught offside as he looks to latch onto a clever ball from Jurado.
Rodrigo is the man to take the free kick. It’s an excellent strike and has Rebrov at full stretch but the ball flies narrowly wide of the post.
Rebrov has a green laser pen shining on his face as the hosts look to take this free kick. Not ideal.
It’s very end-to-end stuff at the moment. Both sides are running back and forth as they search for the opener. Nicolas Pareja is booked for an untidy challenge on the edge of the box.
Perez gets away from his man down the left hand side and finds Salvio on his own at the far post. It looks like it could be a Marco van Basten moment, but the Benfica man mishits the shot wide.
Although the hosts have seen most of the ball and have had the majority of opportunities so far, they really haven’t tested Rebrov in the Spartak goal.
John sees his name in lights as he attempts a wild swinging volley from the edge of the area. Not great technique, especially from a Dutchman, as he spoons it wide. Almost out for a throw-in.
Salvio collects the ball with his back to goal and is clattered into by Makeev. The defender completely takes his legs away from him and he'll be walking a tightrope for the rest of this match - especially with Salvio running at him.
Rebrov now goes into the book for time wasting. Does he not realise that there is another 60 minutes to go?!
Pereira’s inswinging set-piece is met by the head of Jardel but the contact isn’t great and it flies wide of Rebrov’s goal.
Rafael makes another clumsy challenge. Somehow he stays out of the referees book but really should be awarded a yellow.
Andre Almeida goes into the book for holding on to Ari as the striker looked to get away. The Benfica man is caught with a stray arm and will play the rest of the game with a nice black eye.
In contrast, the Benfica midfield has rotated well and have subsequently always found space in the middle of the park.
Kallstrom and Carioca have not seen a great deal of the ball so far. They’ve done more defensive work in this opening half an hour and will ideally like to get their team going forward.
Garay and Jardel get caught up at the back which almost allows from Ari to capitalise. Garay recovers well, controls and takes the ball out of defence with an accomplished dribble.
Salvio is found in the box by Pereira. The front man controls well and attempts to wriggle away from a number of challenges to shoot on goal. He’s tackled by the last man and the ball rolls out for a goal kick.
Lima gets away down the right and squares for John at the far post. It's cleared to Perez on the edge of the area, but the midfielder volleys wide.
Salvio really should have scored there!! All he had to do was show a little composure and side foot it past the onrushing Rebrov but he put his foot through it and caught it all wrong.
Salvio somehow fires wide. Lima initially capitalises on a defensive error to fire on goal from 15 yards. Rebrov saves well but palms it straight into the path of Salvio, who attempts to smash it into the back of the net and skews it wide.
The home fans are really making themselves heard. They’re trying to urge their side ahead in this vital clash. Remember; they could be eliminated tonight.
Melgarejo is sent down the left wing. The left-back cuts inside and tries to find Lime but it is cut out superbly by Makeev.
The game has opened up now, with the visitors getting more of a foothold in this tie. The hosts still look more likely to score, though.
Kallstrom, who has just become a centurion in terms of caps for his native Sweden, attempts the ridiculous with a first-time volley from forty yards. It flies high and wide.
Pereira ventures down the right and looks to find Lima with a lobbed ball. It’s a hopeful attempt more than anything and is headed clear.
There have been a large number of needless free kicks given away by both sides so far. John has Makeev boxed in near his own goal. The defender looks in trouble but for some reason the Benfica man commits the foul. Daft.
D. Kombarov looks to get something going for his side again as he breaks into the Benfica half. Maxi is across and muscles his opponent off the ball. The whistle is blown and that is a foul.
Bilyaletdinov should score!! The former Everton man is found by D. Kombarov and goes through on goal. Artur is off his line in a flash and makes himself big to save at the feet of the striker.
The ball is finally pumped up the pitch by Pareja as he runs out of options on the edge of his penalty area.
The visiting side are looking to retain the ball. It’s being played around their back line as Benfica players press deep.
Pereira and John attack down the right flank. They exchange a number of short, sharp passes as they advance near the Spartak goal. Kallstrom covers well to clear the danger.
This has been a really bright opening ten minutes for the Portuguese side. They’ve seen a lot of the ball and look the most likely team to score at the moment.
Salvio’s deep corner is pulled back across the face of the goal by Lima. Nobody gambles as Insaurralde clears from his six-yard line.
Salvio bursts down the left as K. Kombarov is caught too high up the field. The winger crosses for Lima but the ball is too far behind the striker. Decent chance.
Pareja spots the run of Ari and looks to find him with a long ball. It’s cut out by Jardel who reads the play and smashes the ball up field.
Jardel trades a one-two with Andre Almeido as the latter finds some space down the right. Makeev is across quickly to force the Benfica man into running the ball out for a goal kick.
Insaurralde needlessly fouls Lima 30 yards from his own goal. It’s a silly challenge and the hosts have another free kick.
It’s been a lively start so far. Both teams really need a win so this could be a very entertaining game. Ari is adjudged offside as he looks to penetrate the hosts’ defence.
Ola John’s free kick is whipped in with menace. Garay hits the deck and claims a penalty under the challenge of Kallstrom. Nothing given.
Benfica strip the visitors of the ball straight away. Perez surges forward and is shoved to the floor by Rafael Carioca. Free kick in a nice position.
German referee Florian Meyer blows his whistle to get the game under way. Spartak kick off.
It's a rather wet and miserable night here in the 'Stadium of Light'. So much so that both goalkeepers were out a good ten minutes before any other player just to get used to the conditions.
With Barcelona expected to overcome Celtic tonight, there is a real opportunity for one of these sides to stake a real claim for that second spot in the group behind the Spanish side. However, if Benfica were to lose here and Celtic were to avoid defeat then the Portuguese outfit would be eliminated.
And before their two previous home defeats in the Champions League, the Portuguese side had gone ten European home games unbeaten which was capped off with an outstanding victory over Zenit St Petersburg as they overturned a 3-2 first-leg deficit.
Another statistic that Spartak will have in the back of their minds ahead of the clash tonight is knowing that Benfica have won three and lost none of their five home games in Europe against Russian opponents - conceding just one goal in total.
Juan Insaurralde and Artem Dzyuba are both back in the side after serving a suspension and recovering from illness respectively. Former Celtic man Aiden McGeady is out with a foot injury but former Everton forward Diniyar Bilyaletdinov starts for the visitors.
Carlos Martins misses out tonight after he sustained a thigh problem against Vitoria at the weekend, while Nemanja Matic is suspended. The hosts line up in a very attacking 4-3-3 formation with Ola John and Eduardo Salvio supporting Lima from the wings.
The teams are in - Benfica: Artur, Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Almeida, Peréz, Lima, John, Salvio, Rodrigo, Melgarejo SUBS: Lopes, Vítor, César, Nolito, Gaitán, Gomes, Cardozo. /// Spartak: Rebrov, Insaurralde, Pareja, Kombarov, Makeev, Carioca, Jurado, Källström, Kombarov, Bilyaletdinov, Ari SUBS: Dykan, Bryzgalov, Suchý, Makhmudov, De Zeeuw, Ananidze, Dzyuba.
“We know all about the power of Benfica and what to expect. We have to focus on them as a team. We have to be aware of the attacking threat of their full-backs, Melgarejo and Maxi Pereira, the role of Enzo Peréz, the goalscoring ability of the attackers and the creative danger of [Eduardo] Salvio and [Nicolás] Gaitán on the wings.”
Spartak Moscow romped to victory as they dismantled PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara 5-0 away from home and will therefore be feeling very confident of getting a result here tonight. However, coach Unai Emery is more than aware that his side will face a real battle if they are to take home all three points:
Both sides go into the tie off the back of very impressive league victories over the weekend. The Portuguese side overcame Vitoria SC in what was a very comfortable 3-0 victory, with Lima scoring his first goal at home all season.
Fourth-placed Benfica will look to get their first victory of this campaign at home this evening. They slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Spartak Moscow last time out and now lie two points adrift of tonight’s third-placed opponents.
Good evening and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Champions League Group G match between Benfica and Spartak Moscow at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.