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UEFA Champions League
23 October 2012
• Olimpiyskiy stadion Luzhniki, Moskva
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 41237
Rafael Carioca 3'
Jardel 43' (own goal)
That's it from me, Miles Chambers, though there are still seven Champions league clashes to feast on tonight and Goal.com will be covering them all! Get busy checking them out!
Spartak Moscow held on for a win then and that propels them above Benfica in Group G and onto three points. Celtic and Barcelona still sit ahead of them, but the victory will surely inject some confidence into the team.
90' + 6'
The drama isn't over yet, both sets of players are clashing and the referee and coaches are having to intervene to separate them.
90' + 5'
The home fans are screaming for the final whistle...and it comes!
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Ari
90' + 4'
Play is currently paused as Ari receives treatment before being stretchered off clutching his leg.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Welliton
90' + 2'
It's actually Spartak on the attack in these final few seconds! Benfica are surely going to lose this one now...
Benfica are devoid of chances all of a sudden when they really could do with a few golden ones.
Just two minutes left in this match, and it looks like Spartak might just hold on and prevent losing their lead like they did in their previous two Champions League group stage matches.
Rebrov gratefully clutches the ball to his chest as Benfica's two-minute attack comes to a close with a soft header on goal.
Perez bursts into the Spartak box superbly, but Lima can't win anything more than a corner from his pass.
Melgarejo with another wasted shot on goal, this time from a bit closer than his previous long-range effort.
Cardozo takes a tumble inside the box but there are no penalty appeals for the referee to wave away as even the Paraguayan is aware he went down softly.
Welliton sprints up the pitch and wins a throw-in midway through the Benfica half. Finally, some attacking intent from one of the Russian club's players!
Spartak haven't shown much attacking intent these last 20 minutes. Could their conservaive approach to their lead cost them? Or is it sensible that they defend their one-goal advantage?
Malgarejo thumps a shot from 25 yards approximately a kilometre over the bar! Wasteful from the Benfica player.
Benfica are attacking down the right flank with Maxi Perreira but so far it's quite tentative and nothing concrete has come from it.
14 minutes until full-time and 14 minutes for Benfica to try and salvage something, anything from this clash. I'd say a draw is feasible but I just can't see them scoring twice based on their performance so far. But who knows!
Yellow Card Nemanja Matić
Lima looks a bit one-footed, as he refuses to shoot with his left and - as a result - he only wins a corner when he could have scored a goal.
Benfica are edging possession at the moment but they're still lacking that clinical streak and remain behind.
Yellow Card Ó. Cardozo
Ari is dispossessed but the Benfica attack culminates in Cardozo's half-hearted shot which dribbles tamely wide from 25 yards.
Salvio misses an absolutely glorious opportunity to level the scores, slicing his shot wide after breaking past the final man and shooting before Rebrov can reach him.
Jardel slips to the floor and takes Ari with him inside the centre circle, and there's a pause in play so that both players can slowly return to their feet.
Oscar Cardozo's introduction should spice things up even more! Can he give Benfica that edge in front of goal that they so desperately need?
Makeev narrowly puts his shot wide of the left post from 25 yards. Artur was at full-stretch for that one, he clearly though that it migh sneak in, but luckily for him and his Benfica teammates it did not.
Benfica counterattack but Salvio's cross on the right is blocked (the winger tries to argue to the referee it was with a hand) and now it's Spartak's turn to sprint forwards...
Another corner, another lack of anything interesting happening. It's odd really, when you consider how great crossing has been away from ste pieces.
Dmitri Kombarov fires wide after Ari's excellent play, but his effort took a deflection and it's a Spartak corner.
Jurado powers into the box but Benfica do a good job collectively of forcing him wide and getting possession back.
No goals yet this half but plenty of action to enjoy regardless at the Luzhniki Stadium. I would not be slightly surprised if we get to see more goals later this evening at this rate.
Benfica shot-stopper Artur thwarts Ari's latest attempt after Ananidze's excellent dribble into the box from the left wing.
Bruno Cesar is involved again, fizzing a cross in from the left but Spartak bumble the ball away...for now.
...And it was eventually a complete waste of time as a training ground move does not pay off and Bruno Cesar concedes a goal-kick.
Benfica are taking an actual age with this free-kick...
Spartak head coach Unai Emery is gesticulating his arms wildly on the touchline, urging his players (I assume, as I don't speak Russian, which I'm also assuming he's talking in) to keep a tight defence and be clever on the ball.
One of the stands is pretty much completely empty; I guess a lot of home fans didn't fancy braving the freezing temperatures tonight...
Benfica are continuing to be careless with their passes, which doesn't help when they're trying to press up the pitch for an equaliser.
Lima loops a high cross in and Rebrov continues his mistake-free performance by leaping highest and catching the loose ball.
Rebrov kisses both of his goal posts as the referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
The half-time whistle blows an end to an exciting and entertaining first half of Champions League football! Rafael put Spartak in the lead with a calm, counterattacking finish before Lima equalised with his head at the other end. But Jardel's own goal ensured the hosts retook the lead.
45' + 2'
Salvio lashes a shot high and wide from 25 yards out and that should be the last chance of the half...
Yellow Card Marek Suchy
Benfica are poking forwards in such of a late first-half equaliser but I expect this one will remain 2-1 for half-time.
Own Goal Jardel Nivaldo Vieira
GOAL!! Another goal, another superb cross!! Jardel accidentally turns Makeev's cross from the right, which Ari celebrates as though he scored it. Spartak have retaken the lead, it's 2-1!!
Conceding has sparked Spartak into life at the Luzhniki Stadium, and they are powering forwards in such of another goal to add to their early strike.
Artur saves smartly to deny Kombarov after a well-worked Spartak corner is volleyed goalwards by the midfielder.
Jose Manuel Jurado misses a great volley from 12 yards out after a fancy flick from Ari and a mishit from Ananidze sets him up.
That goal has put the cat among the pigeons then! How will Spartak respond being pegged back?
Assist Toto Salvio
GOAL!! Well, well, well! Benfica get their first goal of the group stage, as Eduardo Salvio crosses sweetly from the right flank and Lima nips in at the near post to score it! 1-1!
A really good stop by Rebrov, who gets down low to deny Nemanja Matic a fizzling, volleyed goal from 10 yards out.
Bruno Cesar gets a 8/10 for that dive on a Evgeni Makeev challenge - it's so good that the referee is fooled at least and it's a Benfica free-kick.
It's all Spartak at the moment, who are in the ascendancy right now.
Ari hits the crossbar!! This time he makes contact on an excellent cross from Jano Ananidze, but at the left post he cannot shoot low enough and his effort cannons off the crossbar, bounces downwards and is swiftly cleared by the nearest defender.
Ari misses the chance to put Spartak 2-0 up after he opts not to jump forwards and header a terrific cross from the right wing.
Ex-Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov tries a first-time side volley from 10 yards out but miscues the timing and fluffs the great chance completely.
A few of the Benfica players look mercurial when they dribble, but that killer pass or visionary run is yet to come about.
Melgarejo wins a corner but it's completely wasted by the visitors and Spartak have the ball back.
Benfica forward Rodrigo forces a high save from Rebrov on the edge of the box as the visitors try to find a reply.
Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus is sporting a brilliant scarf on the touchline. The look on his face is murderous though, he does not look remotely pleased that his team went behind so early on.
Enzo Perez whips a cross into the box from the left but Rebrov rises to catch the high ball before a Benfica attacker can get his head on it. A confidence-building few minutes for the hosts' goalkeeper.
A slight pause in play at Melgarejo slowly gets to his feet after tumbling to the floor in that previous chance.
Lorenzo Melgarejo bursts into the box from his left-back position but Spartak's (third-choice) goalkeeper Artem Rebrov comes out quickly to pounce on the ball and smother it.
Benfica are battling to get hold of the ball and attack. So far they're struggling to get into the final third.
Goal Rafael Carioca
GOAL!! The Russians have taken an early lead, as Rafael Carioca calmly slots on a clever counterattack to send the home fans barmy within three minutes! The visitors are now 1-0 down very early on.
An immediate chance for Spartak as Ari forces a save from Benfica keeper Artur Moraes.
Benfica without a goal in the group stage, while Spartak are without a point. At least one of those stats will no longer stand at full-time!
The players are out on the pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium! Just seconds from kick-off as the Champions League anthem blares out on a freezing-looking Russian night.
With Barcelona all-but-guaranteed a place in the knock-out stage in most people's eyes, these two teams will be keen to snap the remaining qualification spot over Celtic in Group G.
Another fun fact: Spartak beat Fenerbahce at home 2-1 in this season's play-offs, but they've won just once in their last 15 home matches in the group stage!
A little over 10 minutes until kick-off, so let's have some match trivia! Benfica have 10 South American born players starting and not a single Portuguese! Spartak, on the other hand, have four Russians starting in this Champions League bout.
Benfica: Artur, Maxi Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Bruno Cesar, Matic, Perez, Lima, Salvio, Rodrigo, Melgarejo. Subs: Lopes, Miguel Vitor, Almeida, Gaitan, Andre Gomes, Cardozo, John.
Spartak: Rebrov; D. Kombarov, Suchy, Pareja, Makeev; Kallstrom, Carioca; Bilyaletdinov, Ananidze, Jurado; Ari. Subs: Dikan, K. Kombarov, Dziuba, Obukhov, Makhmudov Welliton, Bryzgalov.
I'm Miles Chambers and I'll be the one bringing you details as the match unfolds! But first of all, let's look at the line-ups...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of the first Champions League clash of matchday three: Spartak Moscow v Benfica!
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