Villarreal steal late win
By Richard Scott. Last Updated: 02/11/05 9:35pm
Villarreal handed Benfica their first ever UEFA Champions League defeat at home as they stole all three points thanks to an 82nd minute strike from Brazilian midfielder Marcos Senna.
The Yellow Submarines moved to the top of Group B with their first win after they had recorded draws in their opening three games.
Villarreal had the better of an open first half but could not find a breakthrough as play continued to break down in the final third.
The dangerous Jose Mari was nearly put in on goal as early as the second minute by his strike partner Diego Forlan, but Nelson read it well for Benfica and cleared the danger.
Jose Mari was again involved after four minutes when his superb right wing cross was again well defended by Nelson who was impressing at right full back.
Benfica's first shot on goal came in the 17th minute from a free kick after Giorgias Karagounis was brought down. Simao did well to get the ball over the wall but it was a comfortable save for Mariano Barbosa in the Villarreal goal.
Forlan had the first clear-cut chance after 22 minutes but the former Manchester United man showed a lack of composure as he lashed the ball wide from the edge of the box.
Villarreal continued to have the better of a first half that was increasingly being disrupted by niggly fouls. On 29 minutes Juan Riquelme had a fine strike from the edge of the box but it was hit straight at Rui Nereu, the 19-year-old making his first start in the Champions League.
The Portuguese side finished the half strongly and their best chance came when Barbosa came out of his area and instead of clearing into the stands hit the ball straight at Geovanni but he was unable to hit the target from a tight angle.
Benfica dominated the second half but could not find the breakthrough. The first chance of the second half came on 52 but Nuno Gomes, who had a poor evening in front of goal, inexplicably dummied the ball inside the area when the better option would have been to swing his left foot at the ball.
Villarreal always looked dangerous on the break though and Nereu had to show good anticipation to deny Luciano Figueroa, who had come on as a second half substitute for Forlan.
Nuno Gomes had the ball in the net on 59 minutes but the flag went up after the striker had nodded home at the far post.
Nuno Gomes then had another chance just moments later but he hit the ball straight at Barbosa after Simao had put him through with a superb slide rule pass.
The winner came against the run of play as Senna caught the Benfica midfield napping. He picked the ball up 40 yards out and as no one came to close him down he unleashed a drive from 35 yards that the keeper got a hand to and will probably feel he should have kept it out.
Benfica desperately searched for an equaliser in the final minutes but Villarreal held on for an absolutely crucial win.
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|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||5|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 2nd Nov - Group D
Benfica0 - 1Villarreal
Lille1 - 0Man Utd
Wed 2nd Nov - Group A
Club Brugge3 - 2Rapid Vienna
Juventus2 - 1Bay Munich
Wed 2nd Nov - Group C
W Bremen4 - 3Udinese
Barcelona5 - 0Panathinaikos
Wed 2nd Nov - Group B
Arsenal3 - 0Sp Prague
FC Thun2 - 4Ajax
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||4||4|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
|1||Paris St Germain||4||10|
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H