Soccer

Benfica stun Liverpool

2010-04-02 08:17
Oscar Cardozo (AFP)

Lisbon - Benfica put 10-man Liverpool on the spot on Thursday as the Portuguese side came from behind to win their Europa League quarter-final first-leg clash 2-1.

Liverpool had already suffered a blow beforehand when midfielder Alberto Aquilani was ruled out with an ankle injury.

But they put that behind them by taking an early lead at the Estadio da Luz as Daniel Agger neatly backheeled home the opener on just nine minutes.

But instead of building on that early momentum, the five-time European champions then found themselves down to 10 men after they had Ryan Babel sent off for pushing Luisao, who had angered the Dutch winger for a foul on Fernando Torres.

Babel pushed Luisao in the face and appeared to say something to referee Jonas Eriksson, who promptly flashed the red card.

Matters came to a brief halt when a firework, thrown from the stands, landed very close to the fourth official standing by Pepe Reina's goal and the referee brought the issue to the attention of the UEFA match delegate.

Talented Argentine Angel di Maria, linked with several top English clubs, then drove just over for Benfica as the hosts, despite missing the silky skills of Javier Saviola, began to warm to their task with the extra man.

Liverpool, however, could have made it two when Steven Gerrard fed Torres who netted but from an offside position.

Oscar Cardozo then headed straight at Reina before Di Maria crossed for Ramires, who headed high over the bar before Cardozo headed a fraction over in a purple patch for the hosts.

Cardozo's 59th-minute free-kick came back off Reina's right-hand post but Pablo Aimar then crumpled under Emiliano Insua's tackle and the referee pointed to the spot and Cardozo drove home.

Insua had already picked up a booking after a foul on Aimar which will rule him out of the second leg at Anfield next week.

Further frustration was to follow for Liverpool as more fireworks landed pitchside before Benfica were awarded a second penalty on 79 minutes.

Angel di Maria crossed from the left and the ball hit Jamie Carragher, playing his 621st match for the club, on the arm.

Once again, Eriksson pointed to the spot and Cardozo once again coolly slid the ball home.

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva said: "We are really disappointed. We started really well the game, scored an early goal. We created some chances even with 10 men."

He added: "Now we have to keep going and try to go through in Anfield. The away goal always is important, we knew that."

Torres and Gerrard ended their evening ahead of time, replaced by David Ngog and Yossi Benayoun just prior to another firework landing pitchside.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

ASEC beat Chiefs 'B' team

2014-04-20 18:12

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.