Benfica gains slim edge against Borussia Dortmund

Benfica claimed a slim advantage against Borussia Dortmund after staving off the best attack in the Champions League for a narrow 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Round of 16 encounter.

The Portuguese club scored the only goal in the match through Greek international Kostas Mitroglou, who showed good control before flicking the ball into the Dortmund net to open the scoring in the 48th minute.

Benfica has now not conceded a goal at home for 383 minutes, while Dortmund could only manage a misfiring performance despite scoring a record 21 goals in the group stage.

However, while it was Benfica who got off to an explosive start Dortmund began to dominate possession and gradually wore their hosts down. Still, the visitors soon began to set the tone for the evening by missing a huge chance through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s leading scorer, who fired over the bar after an outstanding through-ball from Ousmane Dembele in the 10th minute.

Benfica captain, Luisao, making his 500th club appearance, was kept busy at the heart of the Benfica defence, with Dembele sneaking into the box and forcing a superb save from the goalkeeper Ederson in the 23rd minute.

Aubameyang then missed another good opportunity before the break, and a rested Benfica put out pressure again after the restart. They soon got a deserving goal, with Mitroglou doing well to control a Luisao header and beating the goalkeeper Roman Buerki with a quick flick.

Aubameyang almost drew Dortmund level in the 53rd minute and then had a penalty, awarded when the ball was handled by Ljubomir Fejsa on the hour, saved by Benfica’s Brazilian goalkeeper.

Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel soon put Aubameyang out of his misery by substituting him soon after. Following another sensational save from Ederson with six minutes left, the hosts held on to celebrate victory.

The two sides will meet again in Dortmund for the second leg on the 8th of March.

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