Benfica 4-1 PSV: Argentines lead O Glorioso to big first leg advantage

Eduardo Salvio scored a brilliant double as PSV went down 4-1 in Lisbon. Salvio’s goals came after Aimar’s opener, before Saviola restored Benfica’s 3-goal lead in stoppage time.
After losing their Primera Liga title to Porto at the weekend, Benfica started with all guns blazing. They had a sense of incentive about them that their Dutch opposition never seemed to have about them. In the 6th minute, they almost had their breakthrough. Former Barcelona and Real Madrid striker Javier Saviola received the ball via an Erik Pieters deflection, and after twisting and turning, got his shot in, only to see it strike the post. Minutes later, Saviola almost had his goal, this time via a gutsy chip from the left which drifted wide of the post.

Despite PSV seeming to not have a grip on the match, in the 20th minute, they almost took the lead. Hungarian winger Balazs Dzsudzsak whipped a dangerous cross in from the left, but Marcus Berg put his header wide when he should have done better. After a lively first 15 minutes, the match died off. Dzsudzsak put a couple more dangerous crosses in, Oscar Cardozo had an optimistic shot from distance at the over end, drifting wide.

Then on the half hour mark, Benfica turned it on again. Cardozo Blasted a shot from 30 yards which stung Andreas Isaksson’s hands, then Saviola volleyed a cross-shot which Nicolas Gaitan contrived to put wide when unmarked from five yards out with the goal at his mercy. Cardozo thought he’d put the home side into a well-earned lead, but he was rightly ruled out for offside after a Maxi Pereira long-throw that PSV failed to deal with.

It was the last in a first half of let offs for PSV. In the 37th minute, Benfica attacked down the left hand side. Coentrao fed Gaiton in the box and he whipped in a ball towards Cardozo that Marcelo failed to deal with and Pablo Aimar pounced, finishing emphatically through Isaksson’s legs.

The goal failed to wake PSV from their coma. Eduardo Salvio sent a shot over, the Benfica defence remained solid and their dominance of possession was rewarded when Salvio doubled their advantage of the stroke of half time. Coentrao did excellent work down the left before sending in a pass with Salvio finished superbly, back-heeling a shot between Isaksson and Pieters.

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PSV needed a response after the break, but none was forthcoming. Cardozo headed over; Saviola sent a shot high and wide when he should have done better, before Salvio doubled his tally for the night in the 52nd minute. The Argentine winger made Pieters and Marcelo look like amateurs, before finishing brilliantly right-footed.

After the third goal, the Portuguese side continued to dominate, but their end ball let them down at times. When Salvio burst towards the box once, but couldn’t pick a pass that would have given them a four goal lead. A corner was wasted particularly poorly, and around the hour mark, Salvio whipped in another ball, but Javier Saviola’s free header was blocked out for a corner. PSV continued trying to sting Benfica on the break, and they came close to a goal in the 65th minute. Marcus Berg connected with an Erik Pieters cross at the far post, forcing a good save from Roberto, but Jeremain Lens’ overhead kick failed to hit the target.

This failed to dampen Benfica’s attacking play. Cardozo forced a great save from Isaksson, who punched the ball away from the approaching Luisao from the resulting corner. Cardozo blasted a free kick across the face of goal, but no red shirt was able to turn it in.

In the last fifteen minutes, Benfica threw away some their good work. Marcus Berg failed to shoot when put clean through on goal. Then in the 80th minute, Lens put in an optimistic shot, badly parried by Roberto, and Zakaria Labyad buried the rebound with his first touch of the match. However, Javier Saviola restored Benfica’s 3 goal lead deep into stoppage time, finishing emphatically, left footed inside the area.

Benfica threatened to let their opponents back into this tie after conceding the away goal, throwing away the excellent display of attacking football they gave the fans today, but Saviola kept them on track for semi-final qualification. PSV would have fancied their chances at 3-1, but it seems a big ask for the Dutch side to win this tie, despite their away goal.

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