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Benfica grateful for Garay winner

Published: Tuesday 20 November 2012, 22.50CET
SL Benfica 2-1 Celtic FC
Ezequiel Garay's 71st-minute volley kept the home side in Group G contention after Giorgos Samaras had cancelled out Ola John's early opener.
by Andy Brassell
from Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica

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Match statistics

BenficaCeltic

Goals scored2
 
1
on target18
 
5
off target13
 
3
Corners10
 
3
Offsides0
1
Fouls committed9
 
16
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0
Possession (%)60
 
40

Standings

Last updated: 19/06/2013 21:17 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Tuesday 20 November 2012, 22.50CET

Benfica grateful for Garay winner

SL Benfica 2-1 Celtic FC
Ezequiel Garay's 71st-minute volley kept the home side in Group G contention after Giorgos Samaras had cancelled out Ola John's early opener.

SL Benfica kept alive their hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout stage after edging out Celtic FC on a night of intense rain and noise in Lisbon.

The Scottish champions looked set for a long night when Ola John gave the hosts an early lead, but Giorgos Samaras headed them level before half-time. A draw would have been enough for Celtic to reach the last 16 as Group G runners-up but they were under pressure from the outset in the second half and cracked with 19 minutes remaining, Ezequiel Garay volleying a sumptuous clincher. Benfica must now equal Celtic's matchday six result to hold onto second place; the Portuguese side visit section winners FC Barcelona while Celtic welcome FC Spartak Moskva.

Benfica showed their intent from the start, Óscar Cardozo hammering a long-range shot narrowly over Fraser Forster's crossbar. The ball barely left Celtic's half in the opening exchanges, and Jorge Jesus's team quickly made their domination count. In the seventh minute Eduardo Salvio got behind the left side of the Celtic defence and, though Scott Brown beat Cardozo to the cross, John drove in the loose ball.

Reinforced in midfield by the return from suspension of Nemanja Matić, Benfica kept a strong grip on proceedings as the game became cagey, with defenders wary of slips on an increasingly wet surface. Their patience was nearly rewarded when Lima slipped strike partner Cardozo through, yet he shot wide of Forster's near post.

So Celtic's equaliser shortly afterwards came out of the blue, Charlie Mulgrew's invitingly deep corner leaving Samaras with a simple header. Neil Lennon's men grew in confidence as the sizeable traveling contingent exulted, but almost fell behind again when Salvio first lashed over and then created an opening for John that Forster blocked with his feet.

As the second half got under way, the visitors dropped deep to protect what they had. It looked like a moment of individual quality might be needed to break Celtic down, and Lima almost delivered when he cut in from the left and fired past Forster, only for Adam Matthews to clear off the line. 

Celtic were hanging on though when Benfica finally got through, it was with only ten men with Salvio off the pitch receiving attention. Matić's cross was nodded down by Luisão for his centre-back partner Garay to beat Forster with a thunderous volley. Salvio then curled an effort against the bar as Benfica pushed for a third, but Group G has a thrilling climax set up nevertheless.

Last updated: 27/11/12 10.31CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000347/match=2009565/postmatch/report/index.html#benfica+grateful+garay

Lineups

benfica

Benfica

celtic

Celtic

1
ArturArtur (GK)
1
ForsterFraser Forster (GK)
4
LuisãoLuisão (C)
2
MatthewsAdam Matthews
7
Óscar CardozoÓscar Cardozo
4
AmbroseEfe Ambrose
11
LimaLima
Substitution75
6
WilsonKelvin Wilson
15
JohnOla John
Goal7
8
BrownScott Brown (C)
Substitution64
18
SalvioEduardo Salvio
Substitution90+2
9
SamarasGiorgios Samaras
Goal32
Yellow Card38
21
MatićNemanja Matić
Substitution78
16
LedleyJoe Ledley
Yellow Card48
Substitution80
24
GarayEzequiel Garay
Goal71
21
MulgrewCharlie Mulgrew
Substitution46
25
MelgarejoLorenzo Melgarejo
Yellow Card77
23
LustigMikael Lustig
34
André AlmeidaAndré Almeida
Yellow Card90+1
67
WanyamaVictor Wanyama
Yellow Card85
35
PérezEnzo Pérez
88
HooperGary Hooper

Substitutes

13
Paulo LopesPaulo Lopes (GK)
24
ZałuskaŁukasz Załuska (GK)
8
Bruno CésarBruno César
7
MikuMiku
9
NolitoNolito
11
NouiouiLassad Nouioui
14
Maxi PereiraMaxi Pereira
Substitution78
15
CommonsKris Commons
Substitution64
19
RodrigoRodrigo
20
McCourtPaddy McCourt
20
GaitánNicolás Gaitán
Substitution75
32
WattTony Watt
Substitution80
33
JardelJardel
Substitution90+2
33
KayalBeram Kayal
Substitution46

Coach

Jorge Jesus (POR) Neil Lennon (NIR)

Referee

Viktor Kassai (HUN)

Assistant referees

György Ring (HUN), Robert Kispal (HUN)

Fourth official

Gabor Erös (HUN)

Additional assistant referees

Tamás Bognar (HUN), Mihaly Fabian (HUN)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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