Full-time - 93'
0 - 0
UEFA Champions League
18:45 +00:00, March 28, 2006
Estadio da Luz
A fine nil nil draw, but Barcelona will be kicking themselves. The Catalans had by far the best chances but Benfica too will be disappointed to not have socred. In truth though Barcleona should have put this tie out of their reach. That they have not makes the return leg all the more interesting and ensures Benfica will travel to the Nou Camp with more than a little hope.
Some wonderful play from Simao on the right flank to totally bamboozle Barca but the cross from the right goes out of play.
Karagounis is brought down by Gabri on the edge of the Barca area. Simao stands over the ball but his shot ends up harmlessly in Valdes' arms.
Beto hits a ball to Simao on the right flank but there is nobody there to meet his cross in to the area. Simao has played very well tonight.
Barca are awarded a contentious corner. The ball clearly struck Van Bommel and the decision brings a volley of missiles on to the pitch from the crowd. Thankfully for the referee the corner comes to nothing.
Karagounis hits a brilliant cross field ball to Simao who dinks a wonderful ball in to Petit's path. He goes down in the area but it was nevera penalty this time.
The free kick from Karagounis takes Valdes by surprise and goes through his defensive wall. It fails to hit the target and spins in to the crowd behind Valdes' goal.
Ronaldinho shows great resereves of strengths to dart away in the midfield but his pass does not reaceh Eto'o. AS Benfica break, Belletti hacks down Miccoli and is booked.
Iniesta is penalised in a position similar to that from which Benfica scored against Liverpool in the previous round. Petit floats it in but Benfica are penalised almost immediately for pushing in the area.
Ronaldinho teases a ball in to Benfica's area but Moretto claims it well.
Belletti feeds Eto'o at the other end but the ball gets caught under his feet and the chance fails to materialise as Benfica get back in numbers.
A free kick in a promising area is wasted by Petit and Barca clear.
The crowd are urging Benfica on. You feel they have to score here to give themselves a chance in the second leg.
The Catalans are knocking the ball about between defence and midfield, probing Benfica for any openkngs. They lose the ball and Miccoli breaks in to a dangerous area before Petit feeds Simao who nearly scores. Good save from Valdes.
Barca seem to have taken their foot off the pedal a little and the chances are not coming so thick and fast now. They will be rueing their earlier missed opportunities if they do not win this game.
Benfica try to breach Barca's defence but can't find a way through. Now the Catalans zip up the park but they too can't find a way though. Larsson is taken off and replaced by Ludovic Guily. Deco too leaves the pitch to be replaced by Gabri. Possibly a wise move in light of his booking.
Now Deco is booked for complaining too voiceferously.
Barcleona are fortunate not to concede a penalty. Motta clearly handles the ball and Miccoli is booked for protesting too much. What's the phrase? Seen them given.
Deco is fouled by Simao and calls for the yellow card to be shown, which it should have been.
Some good tracking back from Eto'o stops Simao on midfield.
Karagounis comes on for Benfica in place of Geovanni.
Petit and Beto show some good touches but Beto spoils the move with a poor pass which drifts out of play.
The Brazilian takes it and nearly floats the ball in to Moretto's right hand corner.
Ronaldinho and Deco stand over the ball in a dangerous area to take a free kick.
Larsson feeds Belletti on the right hand fland before an ostentatious piece of trickery from Ronaldinho which doens't quite come off.
The game is so open now and both teams are attacking with vigour, pace and skill.
Barcleona are pulled up for offside after a series of shots.
At the other end Van Bommel nearly scores for Barca as they couter attack and Moretto makes anotehr great save.
Larsson holds the ball up well to feed Ronaldinho but he misses the chance and Benfica tear up the park and should have scored. Miccoli brings a good save from Valdes but Benfica then scream for a handball from Van Bronckhurst. A penalty would have been harsh.
Simao seemed to be fouled by Motta as the striker beared down on goal but the referee waves play on.
Deco and Ronaldinho show marvellous vision to feed Larsson whose clever shot is well saved by Moretto before hitting the post. From the resulting corner Barca rattle Moretto's other post when Motta's towering header thunders off the woodwork.
A corner for Barcelona finds Oleguer and the centre half snatches at the chance when he had more time. A decent half chance.
A wasteful pass from Fernandes is badly fielded by Barca's defence and Fernandes gets another chance. ONce more he strikes the ball from long range and his shot goes straight to Valdes.
Beto is almost manmarking Deco this evening and is following him all over the park tonight.
Ronaldinho delivers a delightful backheel to feed Ven Bronkhurst who tears down the left wing. Benfica defend well to keep him out.
Benfica gentlemanly deliver the ball back to BArca after a drop ball. Jolly well played.
A fine corner is scraped away by Van Bronkhurst but Benfica come again and Petit just drags his shot wide. Benfica seem full of attacking intent at the start of this half.
Leo block's Eto'o's pass and Miccoli is fed once again down the left. Belletti concedes the corner.
Miccoli drifts inside Oleguer but is crowded out. the Italian substitute is making a favourable impressin already.
Miccoli is wrongly adjudged to be offside and Benfica are denied a genuine goalscoring opportunity. A bad decision from the referee.
Miccoli is on for Laurent Robert as the second half kicks off.
Barclona look more than capable of scoring in the second half and Benfica's best from of defence may be to attack and hope that Rocha can do a decent marking job on Ronaldinho.
Benfica are fortunate to be on level terms. Some terrible goalkeeping has put them in danger on several occasions, only for some bad finishing to let them off the hook. Moretto has made one world class save to deny Eto'o but the goalkeeper's erractic performance will be giving manager Ronald Koeman cause for concern at half time.
Yet again Moretto makes a terrible clearance and Van Bommel is presented with a great opportunity to square the ball to Larsson but makes the wrong decision and shoots tamely wide.
Robert wastes a good chance to set up Geovanni after some criminal dawdling in the Barca defence.
Ronaldinho hits a fantastic pass through to Eto'o and Anderson misses the ball completely. Eto'o should have scored but is denied by a incredible save from Moretto. Best chance of the match so far.
Benfica put together a nice move with Simao and Fernandes showing some excellent touches beofee Petit blasts another long range shot in Valdes' direction. It flies past his post.
Barca scream for a handball near the Benfica area but their protests are waved away.
Benfica need to start creating proper chances rather than shooting from long range. All the genuine goal scoring opportunities have been created by Barca.
Ronaldinho and Eto'o link well down the left but Eto'o loses out before attempting a dive which is frankly unneccessary.
Now Benfica have a free kick in a dangerous position. Petit shanks it high in to the crowd however.
Barcelona on the counter attack from their own half nearly score. Larsson feeds Van Bommel with a lovely pass and the Dutchman beats one defender before the goal opens up for him. His final shot is disappointing and straight at Moretto.
A lovely pass down the left from Ronaldinho feeds Van Bronckhurst who delivers a good ball in to the area which Moretto takes well.
Benfica will be cautiously pleased with how the game is progressing. So far they have managed to contain Barca's potent attacking threat reasonably well.
Belletti seems to block Simao with his body but Simao makes a meal of it and the referee waves play on.
A fine header from Leo stops Larsson receiving a fantastic cross field ball from Ronaldihno.
Moretto makes a terrible hash of a clearance after the ball bobbles and almost gifts a goal to Ronaldinho. The Brazilian just can't get to the ball in time to punish his mistake.
Van Bommel tries an ambitious shot from outside the area but it does not come off.
Corner to Barcelona which is cleared by Robert.
Geovanni tries another rasping effort from long range. It just skims the outisde of BArca's post. Benfica seem to be under instruction to shoot on sight tonight.
Van Bronckhurst fouls Robert and concedes the free kick. Benfica work it down the right but lose the ball and Barca come away with it through Belletti before the attack breaks down.
A scuffed clearance from Valdes gives Benfica a throw in deep in Barca's half. Beto tries a speculative long range effort which goes straight back in to Valdes' grateful clasp.
Deco misses a great chance. Ronaldihno links well with Eto'o. He pulls it back for the diminuitive Portuguese who missed the goal from seven yards. Should have scored.
Ronaldihno well challenged in midfield from Rocha and Benfica work the ball forward to Manuel Fernandes who powers a shot goalwards which is always rising just too far over.
Surging run from Iniesta and he weaves through three challenges from midfield before scuffing his shot past the post. Some fine skill from Iniesta but he should have been dealt with earlier.
Leo cuts out a Ronaldinho pass meant for Larsson and sheperds the ball back to Moretto.
Ronaldinho floats a ball over the top but Benfica, as they did in the games against Liverpool, show that they are very good in the air and clear with ease.
Barca come again down the left and Deco shows some lovely footwork in a tight position. Although they fail to fashion an opening Barca are showing what they can do.
Deco and Ronaldinho are probing down the left but are being closely shepherded when they do so.
Corner to Barca which Benfica clear well and now the Portuguese attack through Simao. He links very well with Geovanni and the Benfica skipper nearly gives them the lead. His shot is well struck but straight at Valdes.
Ronaldihno takes the free kick and tries to die foot it round the wall. Moretto saves first from the Brazililan and then from Motta's rasping drive.
Van Bommel feeds Eto'o but Anderson gets a foot to the ball and the referee blows up for a free kick for a back pass in a very dangerous position.
Barca are happy to knock the ball about, probing for weaknesses whilst ignoring the deafening boos coming frmo the crowd of 65,000 fans.
Motta is the surprise pick tonight at the back for Barcelona in a defensive line up that may just give Benfica casue for hope.
Barca put together a flowing move with Ronaldinho at the centre of things but Benfica manage to dispossess them.
Barca take the field in their luminous yellow away kit, Benfica in their traditonal home kit of red and white.. The pre-match entertainment begins with a giant eagle soaring down from the roof of this magnificent stadium to huge applause from the home crowd. Crystal Palace, take note.
Their young Argentinian genius Messi is still out through injury but a team which starts with Ronaldinho, Larsson and Eto'o up front is never going to be short of attacking options. Benfica's previous opponents Liverpool did not manage to find the net over two legs. It is not a scenario you envisage happening this time round.
Benfica manager, and former Barcelona defender, Ronald Koeman must start the game without the suspended Nuno Gomes, although Barcelona have selection concerns of their own especially in defence where Puyol is suspended and Rafael Marquez misses out through injury.
Benfica will be hoping to make their home advantage tell tonight before they make the trip to the Nou Camp to face a Barcelona team who are hot favorites to reach this year's Champions League final in Paris.