Brazil World Cup defender LUISAO (4) of Benfica Lisbon attempts to tackle newly-capped Israel international midfielder ERAN ZAHAVI (16) of FC Hapoel Tel Aviv at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in the capital city of Portugal. (Reuters photo)
UEFA Champions League
2 – Benfica Lisbon (POR) ———— Luisao 21′, Cardozo 68′
0 – FC Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR)
BENFICA LISBON made a triumphant return to the UEFA Champions League with a hard-fought 2-0 victory at home over a pesky FC HAPOEL TEL AVIV in the first round of Group B play.
Benfica did create a steady stream of chances throughout the match but found Nigeria World Cup goalkeeper VINCENT ENYEAMA to be in fine form for FC Hapoel Tel Aviv, who had opportunities of their own on the counter.
However, Spanish goalkeeper ROBERTO JIMENEZ GAGO, the 8.5 million Euro summer acquisition from Atletico Madrid, had a solid game, himself, between the sticks for Benfica.
In the 21st minute, Brazil World Cup defender and Benfica club captain LUISAO beat Enyeama in spectacular fashion with a scorching right-footed volley following a cross from Portugal international midfielder CARLOS MARTINS.
Paraguay World Cup striker OSCAR CARDOZO provided the insurance Benfica needed in the 68th minute by converting the rebound after Enyeama (eight saves) had thwarted Uruguay World Cup winger MAXI PEREIRA, who had come on as a second half substitute.
Hapoel Tel Aviv’s new arrival from FC Beitar Jerusalem and second half substitute, Nigerian-born Israel international striker TOTO TAMUZ, was unlucky to hit the woodwork in the closing stages.
BENFICA LISBON : Roberto ; Coentrao, Luiz, Luisao, Amorim ; Gaitan (Pereira 57′), Javi Garcia, Aimar (Airton 71′), Martins ; Cardozo, Saviola (Peixoto 87′)
FC HAPOEL TEL AVIV : Enyeama ; Ben Dayan, da Silva, Fransman (Badeer 74′), Bondarv ; Rocchi (Shivhon 61′), Zahavi, Yadin, Vermouth ; Sahar (Tamuz 58′), Shechter
Nigeria World Cup goalkeeper VINCENT ENYEAMA takes the high ball for FC Hapoel Tel Aviv ahead of a pair of Benfica players, Brazil World Cup defender LUISAO (left) and Spanish midfielder JAVI GARCIA, at the new Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) in Lisbon. (Reuters photo)