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UEFA Europa League
April 25, 2013
• 3:05 PM
• Ülker Stadyumu Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Spor Kompleksi, İstanbul
Referee: M. Mažić
• Attendance: 43936
E. Korkmaz 72'
I hope that you've enjoyed Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Fenerbahce's tight 1-0 Europa League win over Benfica, with this tie finely balance heading into the second leg! I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to catch you all next time!
A solitary goal from centre-half Korkmaz was enough for the hosts, despite Fenerbahce striking the woodwork on three separate occasions, and missing a penalty. Volkan remained relatively untroubled for the home side, but was fortunate to see a Gaitan strike kiss the post.
Both sides will suffer from some suspensions after an accumulation of yellow cards tonight. Ola John, Pierre Webo and Gokhan Gonul a few of those affected. Though Jorge Jesus may be concerned by the lack of creation from his side, the tie is still in their capable hands.
There goes the full time whistle! Fenerbahce have a clean sheet and a goal to take into the second leg, after good work from the Turkish hosts, whereas a 1-0 away defeat certainly isn't the worst possible result for Benfica either.
90' + 3'
SALVIO! The winger turns sharply on the edge of Fener's box, but his shot is well charged down! That could be the last chance!
90' + 2'
The whistles are truly deafening as Benfica hold onto the ball. Fener have all men except Webo firmly back behind the ball, as the away side press for what would be a fantastic equaliser.
90' + 1'
The fourth official awards three minutes of stoppage time.
Yellow Card Pierre Achille Webo
The home side are happy to play down the clock a little now, giving the ball all the way back to Volkan. Webo is booked for kicking the ball away after being flagged offside, but he is gesticulating as if he couldn't hear the whistle.
Benfica wasteful crossing proves evident again in the dying minutes, as two good pieces of play are concluded with an aimless cross. Volkan is happy to claim these crosses all night long.
CARLOS MARTINS! The substitute tries a long range drive, but it's charged down by a yellow and blue wall. The away side are just getting on top as we proceed into the last five minutes, to concede now would be heartbreaking for Fenerbahce.
CHANCE! Topal hacks wildly clear, after a Melgajero cross tests the Fener back line! Cardozo was lurking at the back post, but the ball couldn't quite reach the Paraguayan. Carlos Martins has been great since coming on for Benfica, his dancing feet are wonderful to watch.
Cristian flights a similar corner in search of Korkmaz, but Matic wins the header over the goalscorer! Cardozo breaks after distribution from Artur Moraes, but Yobo makes a great interception-then-clearance to save his team.
Fener need to hold onto this lead, it's probably more important to keep a clean sheet than to score a second. An away goal would be invaluable to Benfica, who haven't really turned up offensively tonight.
CHANCE! Great work down the left from Salih! The youngster cuts back onto his right foot when he reaches the byline, before aiming a cross in towards Webo! The veteran can't quite reach the ball and anticlimactically fouls his man instead.
An intricately planned set piece is flighted in by Gaitan, but Volkan claims well. They've failed to really test the Fenerbahce goalkeeper, other than one strike from Cardozo. Jorge Jesus looks a little worried and you can see why, the result isn't too bad, but their performance is lacking.
Webo wants a penalty, after his attempt to flick the ball over his own head struck the arm of Jardel! I think he's a bit ambitious in his claims though, as the Brazilian really didn't have a clue where the ball was!
YOBO! Great defending, the Nigerian robs Andre Gomes of the chance to shoot from a tight angle! Fenerbahce have the advantage and now it's important for the Turkish side not to concede, which would undo all of their good work.
Well, it seems that the extra officials actually have contributed to a game! The ball did rightfully cross the line, but Benfica's Melgajero will question why he failed to clear the ball at the first time of asking!
Goal Egemen Korkmaz
GOOOOAL! KORKMAZ! After a debatable corner was given, Korkmaz rises highest to nod the ball home! The goalline official gives the goal!
Webo is found at the back post by a deep cross, but fails to square the ball as he tried to hook it back centrally. Gokhan Gonul gets forward down the right hand side yet again, testing Melgajero, he certainly isn't afraid to have the ball.
Ooh! Gokhan Gonul races forward after failing to be tracked by his man, in search of a long ball from Korkmaz, but the ball has slightly too much pace on it and rolls out for a goal kick. That was unfortunate, Gokhan has slipped under the radar totally.
Cristian whips in a free-kick, but Artur Moraes is able to claim the ball after it was flicked on by Korkmaz. Salih has already shown his willingness to drive at his marker and take him on, but he may struggle against the physical strength of Pereira tonight.
Benfica are looking a lot more composed on the ball in this second half, but aside from Gaitan's earlier effort striking the post, there are no chances for the away side. Fenerbahce need a goal here, otherwise they will be looking at a tough test in Portugal.
The home crowd are relentlessly whistling when the opposition are in possession! Young Salih Ucan replaces Meireles, the youngster has looked bright so far in the Europa League, so the hosts will hope that his arrival on the field can spur them on offensively.
Raul Meireles is down after seemingly overstretching whilst attempting a volley. He's not clutching his face or rolling about either, so he could well be truly injured. His teammates surround him, and the stretcher is readied. Looks like the end of his night!
Benfica were deep in the first half, but now it is as though Jorge Jesus is telling his wingers to act as wing-backs when the home side are in possession. Matic is often dropping back to almost back as a third centre-back at times. The Portuguese look to be in search of a point.
Great defending from Korkmaz! Cardozo takes a touch out of his body, past the Turkish defender, and looks to strike the ball, but Korkmaz manages to throw a leg in the way! Good stuff, Cardozo surely would have scored from that position.
Fenerbahce have just started to settle down, stroking the ball around their back four calmly. This hasn't happened much during tonight's game! Despite all of the action and chances, it's unbelievable that it's still 0-0!
This is quite extraordinary, that has to be about the fourth time in which a player has struck the woodwork this evening! There is a feeling that this could be destined for a goalless draw, nothing seems to be going quite right for either team!
GAITAN! HE'S HIT THE POST TOO! The substitute tries a lovely effort from a similar distance to Cardozo's previous attempt, but it kisses off the outside of the post and wide! Volkan was stranded!
CARDOZO! The Paraguayan tries an audacious effort on the turn from 25 yards out, and tests Volkan! The Turkish goalkeeper has to be quick to get down to his left post, but he manages to grab hold of the Benfica effort at the first time of asking.
CHANCE! Sow, Webo and Cristian combine well, before the latter feeds Sow through on goal - but his intended pass is overhit and makes its way out of play for a goal kick.
KUYT! POST! The Dutchman swivels brilliantly in the penalty area, before placing his shot against the far post! The rebound looks as though it may fall to Sow, but Artur Moraes smothers it!
Yellow Card Mehmet Topal
Offside! Matic threads a delightful ball inbetween Korkmaz and Gokhan in search of Melgajero, but the Paraguayan is marginally offside! That was unfortunate, what a great ball from Matic.
MEIRELES! The corner finds it's way out to the Portuguese midfielder from around 25 yards from goal, but Artur again beats away the Fenerbahce effort!
CRISTIAN! The midfielder has responded well to his first half tears, blasting an effort towards goal, but Artur Moraes is able to beat it away! A corner is the result..
After a mediocre first half and a yellow card in addition, Aimar has been pulled off for the visitors. Gaitan should certainly offer more pace than his veteran counterpart, so it's important for Fener to keep a watchful eye on him.
The players return to the field, and the referee blows his whistle to signal the start of the second half! Kuyt will hope that his gestures towards the crowd, to get behind the team and Cristian at the end of the first 45 minutes, won't have gone unnoticed. We are underway!
Fenerbahce fans, what do you make of Cristian's penalty tears? Passion, or is he now out of the right frame of mind to play in the second half? Tweet me your thoughts: @simonhfootball
Fener will be the happier of the two sides in terms of chance creation, with both Sow and Webo unlucky to not have scored in the first half, but Benfica will be pleased to have held out. The away side have moved the ball well, with Salvio starring, but are yet to test Volkan.
The referee blows the whistle for half time, and Baroni looks distraught! The Brazilian is crying on the field, with all of his teammates trying to put in a motivational or kind word! Kuyt urges the crowd to lift the atmosphere for the second half.
45' + 2'
Missed Penalty Cristian Baroni
HE STRIKES THE POST! Baroni lines up the spot kick, but hammers it against Artur Moraes' left hand post! Unlucky! Benfica are let off!
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Ola John
PENALTY! Ola John has been penalised and booked for a tug on Gokhan Gonul! That looked harsh on the Benfica winger, he doesn't really look to make a huge amount of contact!
WEBO! The veteran falls to the ground in his attempts to reach a Sow cross, before Garay's half clearance fell kindly to Webo, who was scrambling to get back to his feet! Frustratingly for Fener, Artur Moraes gets their first, before Webo can swing a foot at the stationary ball!
CHANCE! Gokhan needlessly gives the ball away, before the ball is recovered by Benfica and moved quickly wide to the overlapping Pereira! He whips the ball in search of Cardozo at the back post, but Gokhan redeems himself by heading clear!
Yellow Card Maxi Pereira
CHANCE! Salvio is put through on goal after a Fener attack broke down, but Korkmaz manages to recover and put the winger under pressure. Salvio cuts the ball across goal, in the hope of finding someone at the back post to tap it home, but no such player is forthcoming.
Salvio really has looked lively in this first half, Ziegler is struggling to deal with him. Whenever the ball is worked out to the right, things look a bit more positive for the visitors. Aimar is yet to prove to Jorge Jesus that his selection was justified.
Yellow Card Cristian Baroni
Yellow Card Pablo Aimar
Now it's Aimar's turn to pick up a booking, which could spell him getting substituted in the second half. Meireles tumbles around after being clipped by Aimar, and probably made a meal of the challenge.
KUYT! The Dutchman finds space open up ahead of him, 30 yards from goal, and tries his luck with a strike! Artur Moraes looks untroubled as the ball flies high and wide and out for a goal kick.
Aimar is fed through on goal after a clever ball from Andre Gomes, but the Argentine fails to tuck the ball beyond Volkan! The Argentine's blushes are spared however, as he looks up to see the linesman with his flag up for offside.
CHANCE! Aimar flashes a near post corner towards Garay, but the ball ricochets off a Fener player and behind for another corner! Volkan manages to punch away the second set piece - though he wasn't too convincing again.
Yellow Card André Gomes
Andre Gomes picks up a yellow card for a trip on Webo, but the free-kick is wasting by Fener. The home side would probably have a good chance of finding Sow or Korkmaz with a long, lofted ball, but Baroni instead opted to set the ball short.
SOW! The Fener striker has gotten his head onto another cross, but nods high and wide. Jardel and Garay look unable to cope with him in the air, he could well be a source of the opening goal.
TOPAL! The midfielder attempts a very ambitious shot of goal, after being fed the ball from Ziegler, but he's fortunate to see it deflect away for a corner! Jardel rises highest to nod the set piece clear.
CHANCE! A deep cross from Pereira sees Volkan fly out of his goal and perform a Superman-style punch to clear the ball from reaching the head of Cardozo! Not textbook, but effective goalkeeping!
In spite of Benfica's ability to move the ball efficiently and quickly, Fenerbahce have had the better of the chances. Sow is unlucky not to have a goal to his name after hitting the bar, yet Benfica haven't tested Volkan yet.
Fener look for Sow with a long ball from Cristian, but Artur Moraes is quick off his line to pluck the ball out of the air. The home side look to be favouring a direct style of play, they've certainly got strikers who can win their aerial duels, especially Sow.
Great play from Benfica! The visitors work the ball quickly from right to left, then back from left to right, but they can't pick a hole in the yellow and blue wall! John tries a cheeky through ball, but Gokhan cuts it out!
After a quiet first ten minutes, the hosts are right in this game! Benfica do look dangerous from long throw-in's however, as Volkan never looks convincing when he comes a long way off his line to claim them.
CHANCE! FENER! The home side are just turning the tide! Melgajero is penalised for a push on Kuyt, and the resulting free-kick is perfectly aimed towards Korkmaz! The centre-back heads the ball straight at the Benfica keeper! Wasteful!
WOODWORK! Kuyt whips in a fantastic ball from deep on the right, and Sow meets it with his head on the edge of the 18 yard box! He diverts it towards the top right corner, but the strikes the crossbar! Artur Moraes had no chance!
CHANCE! FENER! Webo pulls wide on the right, before picking out Sow at the front post! It looks like it has to go in, but Sow turns it wide of the post! That's the hosts best chance so far!
Webo is down injured after landing awkwardly on his way to the ground after challenging with Jardel. He's limping, but should be okay to continue. Benfica sportingly kick the ball back to Volkan after the striker leaves the field briefly.
Fenerbahce are just struggling to get a foothold in this game, Sow and Kuyt are being asked to drop deeper and track back for the ball, leaving Webo a tad isolated thus far. It's not quite clear where the home side's inspiration will come from yet!
CHANCE! Another long throw, and the ball falls to Aimar from Cardozo again! The playmaker, who is a surprise inclusion, just fails to keep his strike down and it whizzes over the bar!
Half chance for Benfica! A long throw is launched into the Fener penalty area, and Cardozo managed to knock the ball down for Aimar to strike! The Argentine lines up a volley, but the referee calls for a foul!
This has been a bright opening ten minutes, with Salvio looking in particularly dangerous form for the visitors. He looks to have the measure of his marker, and this could prove to be a problem for Fener. If he can swing crosses in, Cardozo is capable of meeting them!
CHANCE! Topal almost gifts Cardozo a chance on goal, after being threaded through by the Fenerbahce midfielder, but Yobo and Korkmaz manage to challenge the physical striker to prevent him from testing Volkan!
CHANCE! Pereira does well to head behind for a corner, after Meireles aimed for Sow at the back post! Great play from the Portuguese man! The resulting set piece fails to find a yellow and blue shirt, however!
After a whirlwind first five minutes, things are just settling a little. Fenerbahce will be pleased so far, Benfica have been limited to using Salvio down the right hand side, John has been kept out of the game so far.
Great play from Salvio! The winger marauds down the right, sidestepping a challenge from Webo on his way, however he can't direct his cross towards Cardozo! Volkan is then forced into action, to close down Salvio after the midfielder was slipped through on goal.
Whenever a Benfica player receives the ball, they are met with long boos, the home crowd are certainly demanding a win from their side tonight! Benfica have seen more of the ball so far, but Fener are sitting nicely in shape.
The atmosphere is magnificent here, with both set of fans very vocal from the offset. A blundering start ensues, with neither side being able to settle on the ball. The noise is deafening!
The game is underway! Fenerbahce are in their famous yellow and blue, and Benfica are sporting their red kit. A minute's silence is first paid in respect, but we're into the thick of the action now!
Kick-off is rapidly approaching, as both teams take to the field. The Europa League anthem rings out in the evening air, and this certainly looks to be the making of an interesting semi-final tie!
Benfica are unbeaten since February, which lays down quite a gauntlet for Fenerbahce tonight. The home side are without a win in their last two games, and will be hoping to stabilise their faltering form in an important part of the season.
TEAM NEWS: It looks as though Jorge Jesus has opted for caution with his line-up, playing only Cardozo up front, however the Portuguese side have plenty of reserve firepower on the bench in the form of Lima and Rodrigo.
Benfica starting line-up: Artur Moraes, Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Melgarejo, Aimar, Matic, Salvio, Andre Gomes, John, Cardozo.
Fenerbahce starting line-up: Volkan, Ziegler, Yobo, Korkmaz, Gokhan, Meireles, Topal, Baroni, Kuyt, Sow, Webo.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be the man keeping you updating with proceedings from Istanbul, as Fenerbahce will hope to exploit their home advantage in a great atmosphere and after a shock loss in the league last time out, the Turkish giants will want to get things right.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Europa League semi-final clash between Fenerbahce and Benfica, as the home side will hope to put themselves in a favourable position before a tough trip to Portugal in the reverse fixture.
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