Benfica down Basel
Bruno Cesar and Oscar Cardozo goals saw 10-man Benfica beat Basel to move clear at the top of Group C.
Last Updated: 18/10/11 10:42pm
Bruno Cesar and Oscar Cardozo goals in either half saw Benfica beat Basel 2-0 to move two points clear at the top of UEFA Champions League Group C.
The rivals went into the clash joint top of the group after claiming four points from their opening two games.
But it was Benfica who asserted their authority in Switzerland, with Cesar scoring the opener on 20 minutes after a fine dummy from Rodrigo in the box.
Cardozo then climbed off the bench and made the points safe on 75 minutes with a low free-kick, although the visitors finished with 10 men after Emerson was sent off for a second bookable offence late on.
In the process, Benfica denied Heiko Vogel a win in his first Champions League game in charge of Basel after a confident display at St Jakob-Park.
Manchester United beat Otelul Galati 2-0 in the other Group C game on Tuesday to move second behind the Portuguese.
Benfica showed their intent early on when they surged forward only for Rodrigo to be flagged offside when he collected Pablo Aimar's pass.
But it was Basel who had the first shot on goal when Alexander Frei pounced onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, but the striker lost his balance and Benfica goalkeeper Artur calmly gathered the shot.
Rodrigo tested Yann Sommer again in the 13th minute with a solid left-footed effort, but it was Cesar who opened the scoring for Benfica seven minutes later to record his second Champions League goal in as many games for the Portuguese side.
Nicolas Gaitan created space with a surging run and found Aimar, who freed Cesar and he tucked the ball into net from 10 yards.
Cesar almost doubled the visitors' lead in the 26th minute, as Benfica looked to have their tails up in search of their second, however, Aleksandar Dragovic got in the way and the chance went begging.
Basel ended the first half strongly, but they lacked the clinical edge shown by Benfica.
Gaitan missed a good chance to give the visitors a two-goal cushion as they headed towards the break.
Rodrigo raced forward from midfield and found Cesar, who picked out the unmarked Gaitan only for the midfielder to blast his shot over from 20 metres.
Basel had a chance to equalise in first-half injury-time when Marco Streller chested down a high ball, but he failed to control it well enough and his shot flew over the bar.
The home side showed their intent after the break, with Streller looking to push forward, but being caught by the offside trap.
This opened them up at the back and Emerson exposed Basle's defence when he broke from left-back and forced Sommer to make an impressive reflex save.
However, Streller continued to press, forcing a series of saves from Artur, but the striker could not find a breakthrough.Instead it fell to Benfica substitute Cardozo to score the only other goal of the game, when he fired in from a 30-yard free-kick to give the Portuguese side an unassailable lead.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||2|