Skip to main content

Europa League last 16: Benfica punish sloppy Spurs

updated 7:19 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Rodrigo (center) opened the scoring for Benfica against Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their last 16 Europa League tie.
Rodrigo (center) opened the scoring for Benfica against Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their last 16 Europa League tie.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Benfica beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 in first leg of last 16 Europa League tie
  • Porto beat Napoli 1-0; Real Betis beat Sevilla 2-0
  • Valencia beat PFC Ludogorets Razgrad 3-0 in Bulgaria

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Benfica has one foot in the quarterfinals of the Europa League after beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 in the first leg of their last 16 tie at White Hart Lane on Thursday.

After being thumped 4-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the English Premier League last weekend, Spurs manager, Tim Sherwood bemoaned his players' lack of character and guts.

If he was hoping for a response after the public dressing down, he didn't get one as Spurs produced another error-strewn performance.

The visitors opened the scoring after 29 minutes when Ruben Amorim's through-ball set Rodrigo free down the right before the Spanish striker unleashed a clinical left-foot finish past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Amorim helped earn the Portuguese side's second of the night after catching Spurs striker Harry Kane in possession yards outside his own penalty area. The midfielder's snap shot was then tipped over the bar by Lloris.

But there was nothing the French keeper could do from the resulting corner as an unmarked Luisao headed home to double the lead with just under an hour played.

Christian Eriksen halved the deficit with a brilliant free kick in the 64th minute to give the home fans some hope of a revival, but it was Jorge Jesus' side who continued to look more threatening in attack.

Benfica's persistence paid off with six minutes remaining as former Brazilian international Luisao scored his second and his team's third of the night.

The defeat was Spurs' first at home in 11 European fixtures while last year's runners up stretch their winning run to five in the competition.

There was also joy for FC Porto who beat Rafael Benitez's Napoli 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.

Benitez, who guided Chelsea to glory in the competition last season, will require all his famed tactical nous in the return leg next Thursday after Colombian striker Jackson Martinez's 57th minute strike handed Porto the advantage.

Over in Bulgaria, Benitez's old club Valencia -- who he steered to the UEFA Cup success in 2004 -- has all but booked a place in the quarterfinals after a 3-0 against Ludogorets Razgrad in Sofia.

The visitors won convincingly despite having Seydou Keita sent off in the 25th minute for a foul on Roman Bezjak inside the penalty area.

Bezjak couldn't convert the spot kick and Valencia, who were already a goal to the good thanks to Antonio Barragan's fifth minute strike, made the most of the slip, despite the numerical disadvantage.

Fede Cartabia doubled the lead in the 33rd minute before Philippe Senderos put the match, and most probably the tie, beyond the Bulgarians with a third away goal.

Elsewhere, Switzerland's FC Basel drew 0-0 with Austrian side Salzburg while the all-Italian clash between runaway Serie A leaders Juventus and fourth-placed Fiorentina ended in a 1-1 draw.

In the all-Spanish tie, Real Betis, who are anchored at the foot of La Liga, recorded a fine 2-0 win at seventh-placed Sevilla.

French side Lyon has almost guaranteed passage through to the last eight with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Czech side Viktoria Plzen while Dutch side AZ Alkmaar will take a slender advantage into the second leg against Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala after winning the first leg 1-0 at the AFAS Stadion.

Read more: Cantona arrested on suspicion of assault

Read more: Karembeu - France can shine in Brazil

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT