UEFA Champions League

February 21, 2006

Full-time

Benfica

1 - 0

Liverpool

UEFA Champions League

19:45 +00:00, February 21, 2006

Estadio da Luz

  • 93'

    FULL-TIME: A bad night for Liverpool; Benfica were poor all evening, but snatched a late goal that will mean a very interesting second leg in Anfield.

  • 92'

    A loose pass from Nelson hands Liverpool a throw, but it is deep in their own half; they look unlikely to get back in to this match now.

  • 91'

    Liverpool win a late corner, but Garcia and Gerrard conspire to mess it up as they try to take it short.

  • 90'

    Gerrard is desperately trying to find an equaliser, but Benfica have got everyone back as they try to cling on to an unlikely lead.

  • 89'

    Karagounis really gave the home side a lift when he came on; he has put himself about and driven Benfica forward.

  • 88'

    Benitez looks furious on the touchline; he has seen his side dominate the possession, and then go behind to a sucker goal. Not a good night for Liverpool.

  • 87'

    Liverpool are pushing men forward to try and find this equaliser, but Benfica have defended well all evening.

  • 87'

    Benfica are playing with much more confidence now; Simao attempts to loft a chip over Reina from the edge of the box, but the goalkeeper is positioned well to save.

  • 85'

    That is a goal Benfica don't deserve. Luisao out-muscled Hyypia as they challenged for the ball, and it was a good finish, giving Reina no chance at all.

  • 84'

    GOAL! Petit shapes to shoot, but instead lofts a great cross in to the area. Luisao loses his marker and plants a header inside the far post from eight yards out.

  • 83'

    Hamann brings down Karagounis, 30 yards out. Alonso is fortunate not to be booked for blasting the ball at the Greek as he lay on the ground.

  • 82'

    Garcia intercepts a pass in midfield and attempts a lofted ball over the top for Cisse to run on to, but Luisao spots the danger and heads clear. Good defending from the big Brazilian.

  • 81'

    Gerrard sprints on to Cisse's flick down the left flank, but has the ball taken from him in a strong challenge from Nelson.

  • 80'

    SHOT! Karagounis runs at the Liverpool defence and fires a shot goalwards; Carragher just manages to get a boot to the ball and deflects it for a corner.

  • 79'

    The Liverpool skipper seems to have been asked to play just off Cisse in a position many believe is his best. Can he influence the result here?

  • 78'

    LIVERPOOL SUB: Morientes is replaced by Gerrard; the Spaniard has worked hard but had little service. Gerrard should give his team-mates a bit of a lift for the final ten minutes or so.

  • 77'

    Garcia does well to beat his man on the right of the midfield, but his attempted through-ball to Cisse is dreadful. Garcia has been woeful this evening; nothing he has tried has come off.

  • 76'

    BENFICA SUB: Nelson replaces Robert. The on-loan Portsmouth winger is replaced by a more defensive player in Nelson. Strange change from Koeman, considering they are at home and need a goal.

  • 75'

    It looks like Gerrard is being readied on the touchline; Liverpool really didn't want to use him, but they look desperate for an away goal to take back to Anfield.

  • 74'

    Alonso does well to win a loose ball in midfield before firing a good pass out to the right for Cisse to chase.

  • 73'

    Garcia sends over a long cross from the right, looking for Kewell at the back post, but the Austrian referee rules that Kewell pushed his marker as they jumped. Free-kick.

  • 72'

    It's difficult to work out who would be happier with a 0-0 draw, should the scoreline stay this way; Liverpool would have wanted an away goal, but they should be confident of beating Benfica at Anfield.

  • 71'

    Cisse does well down the right-hand side, but his cross to the near post is easily claimed by Moretto. Liverpool had only Morientes in the box.

  • 70'

    So, just twenty minutes left for one of these teams to break the deadlock; if I'm being honest, neither side deserve a goal - they have both been below average this evening.

  • 69'

    Riise again hurls a long, flat throw in to the penalty area, but Anderson flicks clear with his head; he has defended very well this evening.

  • 68'

    Leo fails to cut out Kewell's pass out to Cisse, but Liverpool can't capitalise.

  • 67'

    Cisse's arrival gives Liverpool something they haven't had all match - out-and-out pace; the midfield will be looking to open up the Benfica defence with passes over the top for the young striker to chase down.

  • 66'

    OVER! Riise sends a long throw in to the middle of the Benfica penalty area; Morientes meets it with a firm header, but can only place his effort over the crossbar.

  • 65'

    LIVERPOOL SUB: Cisse replaces Fowler; it's been a tough night for the Liverpool legend, who is replaced by the pacy French striker.

  • 64'

    Simao is unlucky to get flagged off-side as he tries to get on the end of Karagounis' pass, though Reina dealt well with the threat anyway.

  • 63'

    Petit sends the ball in to the middle, but Carragher meets the corner at the near post and sends a thumping header clear.

  • 62'

    Benfica win a corner when a long ball towards Gomes is flicked out of play off the head of Carragher.

  • 61'

    AUDACIOUS EFFORT! Petit strikes a shot from just inside the Liverpool half, and Reina is forced to paw the ball away from the top corner. Great effort from the Portuguese midfielder.

  • 61'

    A free-kick from the Liverpool right is swung in to the penalty area by Finnan, but Anderson meets the ball strongly and heads well clear.

  • 60'

    Liverpool are still having much more of the ball than the home side, but to their credit, Benfica have defended very well; they look very solid at the back.

  • 59'

    Liverpool are preparing a change of their own; Cisse is stripping off on the touchline.

  • 58'

    BENFICA SUB: Beto is replaced by Karagounis; Beto has had a poor game and is hauled off by Koeman. Karagounis is a strong runner and a dangerous player; Liverpool will have to watch out for his late runs.

  • 57'

    WIDE! Petit finally steps up to take the shot, but he curls a right-foot effort well wide of Reina's post.

  • 57'

    Robert lines up the shot, though Simao is also hovering with intent...

  • 57'

    Nuno Gomes earns a free-kick after a driving run at the heart of the defence draws a foul from Carragher. Good shooting opportunity for the home side...

  • 56'

    The home fans are still trying to drive their side on, but if anyone is likely to break this deadlock, it would seem to be Liverpool; they look marginally more threatening.

  • 55'

    Luis Garcia is found on the left-edge of the area; he cuts inside Alcida, but is tackled by Anderson as he attempted to get his shot away.

  • 54'

    Hamann is booked for a challenge on Gomes on the half-way line.

  • 53'

    Fernandes has the chance to put Alcides in to a good position down the right, but his pass is too strong and forces the full-back wide.

  • 52'

    Fowler has his first shot of the evening, a left-foot shot from 25 yards that was blocked on the edge of the 18-yard box.

  • 51'

    The news from the Liverpool camp is that Sissoko has gone off to a local hospital for a check-up on his head injury.

  • 50'

    Benfica were poor in the first half, and they haven't really started much better in the second; their passing has been dreadful all evening.

  • 49'

    Morientes finds some space down the left; he sends a low cross over, looking for Fowler, but Moretto collects easily.

  • 48'

    Benfica win successive corners on their right-hand side; Robert curls them in left-footed, but Liverpool's defending is solid enough.

  • 48'

    Benfica have a couple of substitutes warming up on the touchline; they might be readying themselves for an early change to spice up their attack.

  • 47'

    SHOT! Kewell's cross is half-cleared to Garcia, but his shot from inside the area is sliced a few yards wide. Decent start from the visitors.

  • 46'

    New from the other English side in Champions League action tonight; Thierry Henry has given Arsenal the lead against Real Madrid...

  • 45'

    Benfica kick off the second half. No changes at the break.

  • 47'

    HALF-TIME: Neither side have been able to carve out a chance worth the name. Benfica look there for the taking, but Liverpool need to step up in the second half if they are to take a lead back to Anfield.

  • 47'

    DISAPPOINTING! Simao takes the shot, but curls it high and wide. Poor effort from the Benfica skipper.

  • 46'

    Benfica win a late free-kick, just on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area after Finnan brought down Simao. This is dangerous for Liverpool, with Robert lining up a shot...

  • 44'

    WOEFUL! Hamann lays the ball in to the path of Riise, but his shot flies well over the crossbar. Poor effort from the Norwegian, who has had quite a good half, in general.

  • 44'

    Liverpool win a free-kick, 40 yards out. Riise stands over the ball, and seems to be lining up a shot...

  • 43'

    Liverpool have had the lion's share of the possession, but they haven't been able to create a single shooting chance, from what I can remember.

  • 42'

    The half is rather limping to an end; it has been a poor 45 minutes from both sides, really.

  • 41'

    Benfica have an all-Brazilian back-four, but Liverpool haven't really been able to test them all that much in the first-half - and when they have, they have proved themselves fairly robust.

  • 40'

    Fowler's prodded ball over the top for Morientes is a little too strong and Moretto is able to collect on the edge of his penalty area.

  • 39'

    Robert bursts past Alonso down the right but is then brought down by Riise, just inside the Liverpool half; the Benfica crowd demand a free-kick, but the referee disagrees.

  • 38'

    Nuno Gomes has been completely isolated up front for Benfica; Carragher and Hyypia have contained him easily.

  • 37'

    Carragher is forced to head behind another for another corner to the home side; the last few minutes have been a marked improvement for Benfica.

  • 36'

    Robert fires the corner in to the middle, but Reina collects on the edge of his six-yard box.

  • 35'

    Benfica win a corner as Kewell is forced to head behind a free-kick, whipped in to the far post.

  • 35'

    LIVERPOOL SUB: Hamann replaces Sissoko. An enforced early change, but the German brings a lot of experience to the Liverpool midfield.

  • 34'

    The home crowd are quite vocal, but their encouragement is doing little to spur on a lacklustre Benfica side.

  • 33'

    Hamann is stripping off on the Liverpool bench; it looks as though Sissoko won't be returning. He looked quite shook up after receiving that kick in the head.

  • 32'

    Benfica look to be very short on confidence; considering they are at home, they have not really offered much going forward.

  • 31'

    Riise fires a free-kick in to the middle; there is a mis-kick from Luisao, but Garcia's shot is blocked on the edge of the area.

  • 29'

    Sissoko is taken from the field on a stretcher; he looks to be in some pain.

  • 28'

    Beto is booked for a high foot on Sissoko; the Liverpool midfielder stays down to receive some treatment to a head wound.

  • 27'

    Fowler finds the ball at his feet on the edge of the area, but Luisao stays tight to the striker and doesn't let him turn. Good defending.

  • 26'

    That was the first real moment of danger for either side, and Reina did really well to speed out of his goal and collect as Simao was about to clip the ball over him.

  • 25'

    GOOD GOALKEEPING! Robert slides a good ball through for Simao to run on to, but Reina comes out and whips the ball off the feet of the Portuguese skipper.

  • 24'

    Alonso curls the set-piece in to the middle, but Nuno Gomes clears on the edge of his six-yard box; good delivery, but Liverpool couldn't capitalise.

  • 23'

    Riise gets the chance to hurl a long throw in to the penalty area; Fowler causes a moment of panic as the keeper drops the ball, and Liverpool win a corner.

  • 22'

    Carragher and Finnan stay cool as they defend the threat from Robert down the left.

  • 21'

    Fowler is being forced to chase a lot of hopeful balls forward at the moment; he has a lot of qualities, but great pace isn't really one of them.

  • 20'

    Liverpool enjoy a decent spell of possession, but they can't break the Benfica defence down; the home side are getting plenty of players back, and Liverpool seem a bit narrow going forward at the moment.

  • 19'

    Sissoko is lucky to escape a booking after a late, rash challenge on Petit inside the centre-circle.

  • 18'

    Still no real shots on goal from both sides; it has been a cagey opening; no-one has been able to assert themselves on the match.

  • 17'

    Hyypia finds Kewell with a great ball over the top, but the linesman rules that the Australian winger is off-side; replays show that the official got it wrong.

  • 16'

    Petit curls the ball in to the crowded penalty area, but his delivery is poor and the ball drifts harmlessly out of play.

  • 16'

    The home side win a free-kick, out on the left, after the referee spots a handball from Sissoko.

  • 15'

    ...Alonso curls the ball in to the near post, Fowler flicks on, but Luisao manages to clear inside his own six-yard box.

  • 14'

    Kewell does well to beat Alcides on the right, but he is brought down just as he is about to swing over a cross; free-kick to Liverpool, in a very dangerous position...

  • 13'

    It has been a nice Spring day in Lisbon today, but the temperature has dropped considerably since sun-down; it is quite chilly out there on the pitch at the moment.

  • 12'

    Liverpool are playing a lot of high balls forward to their forwards, but the Benfica centre-backs are coping very easily; the Reds need to get the ball down and play.

  • 11'

    Beto is a little late in a challenge with Kewell inside the centre-circle; free-kick to Liverpool.

  • 10'

    There have been some reports of disquiet in the Benfica camp; it hasn't been a good build-up to this match from the Portuguese side.

  • 9'

    It has been something of a scrappy start to the match, with neither side able to string any sort of passing move together. The midfield, in particular, looks to be very keenly contested.

  • 8'

    Liverpool will miss the set-piece delivery from Gerrard, as well as his driving runs from the right.

  • 7'

    A clear push from Leo on Garcia results in a free-kick for the visitors, a few yards inside the Benfica half. Hyypia trots forward, but Finnan's free-kick is right down the throat of Moretto.

  • 6'

    Nuno Gomes does well in midfield to move the ball on to Simao on the right, but Riise does very well as he defends the threat.

  • 6'

    Liverpool have not conceded a goal in their last five Champions League matches - a terrific record. They will be delighted to extend that run to six games.

  • 5'

    Liverpool win a free-kick when Garcia is pushed out on their right touchline. They decide to play it short as they look to settle themselves in to the match.

  • 4'

    Liverpool have gone with quite an attacking 4-4-2 formation, with Garcia and Kewell supporting the two strikers from the wings.

  • 3'

    Benfica have made a positive start to the game, winning some good possession down their left-hand side through Robert and Leo.

  • 2'

    Not a good start for Liverpool; that tackle from Garcia has really got the crowd against them. It wasn't a nice tackle from the little Spaniard.

  • 1'

    Garcia slides in and gets a yellow card within 30 seconds of the start after leaving Leo on the turf with a sliding tackle.

  •  

    Liverpool kick off to an enormous roar from the crowd.

  •  

    The players are out on the field, and the Champions League anthem is ringing in their ears. There is a fantastic atmosphere here inside the Estadio da Luz.

  •  

    Robbie Fowler starts up front with Fernando Morientes, while Luis Garcia is also included with Xabi Alonso in central midfield after recovering from a thigh injury.

  •  

    Some early team news: Liverpool start without skipper Steven Gerrard, who is carrying a slight knee injury and is named on the bench.

  •  

    Hi, I'm Alex; I'm your eyes and ears for this Champions League clash between Benfica and Liverpool in Lisbon.