Europa League: Benfica win 1-0 at Leverkusen

Berlin, Feb 15 (IANS) Oscar Cardoso's lob wrapped a 1-0 away win for Benfica over Leverkusen in the first leg of the last 32 in Europa League.

Paraguayan international Oscar Cardoso secured Benfica an advantage for the second leg in Lisbon next week, as Leverkusen were unable to grasp their chances on home soil in front of 25,375 spectators Thursday, Xinhua reports.

It was an unspectacular first half as both defences neutralised most of the offensive actions.

With around sixty minutes into the match, Leverkusen's Michal Kadlec had the chance to break the deadlock, but his effort from very close range was denied by Benfica goalkeeper Artur Guilherme Moraes Gusmao.

Seconds later, Benfica staged a better figure in front of Leverkusen's goal when they finished a counter attack to open the scoring.

Cardoso utilized a pass by Andre Almeida into the box to outplay one defender to chip the ball past helpless goalkeeper Bernd Leno into the inside of the far post with 61 minutes into the encounter.

Leverkusen piled on the pressure to press the visitors into defence but all their efforts remained too hasty. Only Sidney Sam came close to levelling the scores during the dying minutes of the match, as his lob beat Benfica goalkeeper but not Lorenzo Melgarejo who scratched the ball from the goal line by header to secure the 1-0 away win for the visitors.

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