A brace from Oscar Cardozo assured Benfica’s 2-0 win over visiting Spartak Moscow in a crucial Champions League group stage clash.
Both sides have red and while as their home colors, so Spartak had to wear an unusual black kit at the da Luz stadium in Lisbon.
The visitors defended with confidence in the first, but struggled with organizing any serious counterattacking play.
Spartak’s lone striker Ari ended in an offside position after almost every long ball by the midfielders.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov had a good chance to break the deadlock on the 11th minute, but failed to beat home keeper Artur from inside the box.
Benfica had plenty of the ball, but lacked accuracy, with efforts from Lima, Rodri and Eduardo Salvio being off the mark.
Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus introduced his main attacking force, Oscar Cardozo, into the game after the break, and it was the move that decided the game's outcome.
A close-range header from the tall striker gave Benfica the lead on the 55th minute. And on the 69th, Cardozo made it 2-0 with a great effort from the edge of the box.
But it wasn’t enough for the Paraguayan as he also earned a penalty for his team, with Spartak defender Nicolas Pareja getting a red card for the foul.
Cardozo executed the spot-kick himself, but Moscow keeper Artem Revrov redirected the ball into the crossbar.
Meanwhile, Celtic created the biggest upset of the whole group stage round, beating visiting Barcelona.
The Scots took the 2-0 lead after strikes from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt, with a stoppage time goal from Lionel Messi coming too late for the Catalan giants, 2-1.
Despite the loss, Barcelona remain on top of the standings in Group G, with 9 points after four games.
Celtic have 8 points, with Benfica four points behind, while Spartak slip to fourth place, at 3 points.
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