Home » Champ League, Latest » CL Match Report: Benfica 2 Zenit St Petersburg 0; 4-3 on agg

Goals by Uruguay’s Maxi Pereira and Portugal’s Nélson Oliveira sent the two-times European champions Benfica into the Champions League quarter-finals with a convincing 2-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg.

Benfica overturned a 3-2 deficit from the first leg in Russia to progress 4-3 on aggregate after dominating possession and restricting Zenit to sporadic counterattacks. Benfica kept pouring forward and the tactic paid off when the energetic Pereira scored from close range in first-half stoppage-time after a neat backheel from the Belgium international Axel Witsel.

The substitute Oliveira, who made his Portugal debut against Poland last week, grabbed the second goal just before the final whistle. Benfica reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2006, when they knocked out Liverpool in the round of 16 before losing to Barcelona.

Benfica dominated the first half and got their reward when Witsel’s first shot was parried but he kept his cool to lay the rebound off for Pereira to slot in. Witsel, the man of the match, moved further forward due to the absence of the first-choice playmaker Pablo Aimar and he rose to the challenge, not only winning many balls in the midfield but also acting as the prime creator for Benfica’s attacks.

Zenit employed a more physical approach and seemed happy to concede most of the possession, opting instead for hitting Benfica on the counterattack. Benfica finished off the visitors in second-half stoppage-time when the promising Oliveira scored with a clinical strike.

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