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UEFA Europa League

  • March 20, 2014
  • • 19:00
  • • Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz), Lisboa
  • Referee: D. Skomina
  • • Attendance: 40990

Benfica win Aggregate 5 - 3

Benfica 2-2 Tottenham (Agg 5-3): Chadli-inspired comeback not enough for Spurs

Benfica 2-2 Tottenham (Agg 5-3): Chadli-inspired comeback not enough for Spurs

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Two goals in the space of a minute for the midfielder gave Tim Sherwood's side unexpected hope but Ezequiel Garay's first-half strike and a late penalty saw the hosts through

Tottenham's second-leg fightback was in vain as Benfica progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 2-2 draw in Lisbon.

The hosts looked on course for a comfortable 1-0 win at the Estadio da Luz thanks to Ezequiel Garay's thunderous first-half header after winning the first leg 3-1 at White Hart Lane.

Yet there was a dramatic ending as Nacer Chadli's quick-fire double threatened a late Spurs comeback but Lima's last-gasp penalty denied the London club victory on the night as Benfica remained on course for a second consecutive Europa League final.

Jorge Jesus's Primeira Liga leaders can now look forward to the quarter-finals after a 5-3 aggregate victory, while Tottenham's gutsy exit may alleviate some of the pressure on boss Tim Sherwood.

By Greg Stobart

Tim Sherwood said on Wednesday night that he would be "praying" ahead of the game but the Tottenham manager got a better response here than he could possibly have expected from his patched-up, injury-plagued squad.

Spurs defended with organisation and heart, even after falling behind, and a game that looked to be drifting to its conclusion turned on its head after two Nacer Chadli goals in as many minutes.

Suddenly, the visitors were right in the tie and had the chances to complete their comeback and send the game into extra time but it was not to be.

Sherwood will rue his side's performance in the first leg at White Hart Lane but his players have shown the kind of character and skill for which their manager has been asking in recent weeks.

He now has eight league games left to show chairman Daniel Levy that he can make performances like this a regular occurrence for the Londoners.
Benfica missed a great opportunity to extend their aggregate lead as early as the ninth minute when Garay nodded the ball into the path of centre-back partner Luisao but he could only head over the crossbar from eight yards out when unmarked.

That miss could have been punished by Roberto Soldado six minutes later when the Spanish striker controlled the ball at the back post before his half-volley went down into the turf and wide of the target.

It was an open contest and Tottenham spurned another chance to take the lead after 26 minutes, with Chadli heading Gylfi Sigurdsson's corner wide.

Benfica took advantage of the visitors' wasteful finishing in the 34th minute as Eduardo Salvio ghosted past stand-in captain Aaron Lennon on the right before clipping an inviting cross into the box, which Garay finished with a thumping header.

The visitors looked comfortable in possession for the remainder of the opening period and continued that trend in the second half. Luisao could have had his third goal of the tie in the 58th minute when he leapt highest to head Miralem Sulejmani's corner wide.

With tie seemingly petering out to a Benfica win, Tottenham turned the game on its head after 78 minutes as Chadli cut in from the right flank and rifled a right-footed shot into the far corner.

Just a minute later Chadli scored his second when he spun on the spot and hooked his shot in the top-right corner.

There was further drama in the closing stages when Suljmani felled substitute Harry Kane in the area but the referee did not award the penalty.

Benfica were then grateful to goalkeeper Jan Oblak deep into injury time as first he kept out Sigurdsson's header with a fine point-blank save before holding Kane's tame header.

The hosts then settled the game as Lima equalised from the spot, after Sandro had fouled the midfielder in the area.