Should have smothered Cardozo’s first-half free kick but instead he fumbled which allowed Pereira to poke the visitors into the lead. Looked a bundle of nerves thereafter and his poor handling cost Zenit again after he gifted Cardozo an empty net for Benfica’s second.
Overlapped well down the left channel, and set up the first Zenit goal with a fantastic cross for Shirokov to score. Was also able to halt the endeavors of Pereira out wide on multiple occasions, though Gaitan caused him some problems.
Showed great persistence out on the right to stick to the threat of Bruno Cesar in the first half, and made one or two key interceptions in the second half.
His match was defined by his robustness, as he was often able to get a head or a boot on whatever Benfica threw at him. However, he did receive a yellow card for a nasty challenge on Rodrigo, which saw the Benfica forward leave the field on a stretcher.
Quietly effective game at the back, and marked Cardozo well for most of the contest, only to be let down by his goalkeeper at the end.
Covered a lot of ground for his side in the engine room of the pitch without truly getting involved in the contest. Benfica's neat passing and quick counterattacks, particularly in the first half, left him rushing back to cover his defense.
An industrious performance on the wing, always looking to stretch the Benfica backline, and showed good close control despite the horrendous conditions underfoot.
Conjured a moment of brilliance to volley Hubocan’s cross into the corner for the hosts’ equalizer. His technique was not limited to that goal, however, as he also showcased a series of nice touches to keep things ticking in midfield. Rounded off an impressive game with a late winner to give his side a lead for the second leg.
Try as he might, he was unable to fully make his mark in his advanced midfield position as his passing suggested that he was not on the same page with his teammates. Withdrawn at halftime.
Forced Artur into action after attacking a loose ball from a corner. Always looked dangerous, and played his part in the second goal with a hooked pass to keep the ball in play. Could have laid on a third goal late on, but instead opted to shoot, and could only hit the side netting.
Left little impression on the contest as his contact with the ball was scarce. Taken off in the second half after failing to give Emerson any reason to worry out on the right flank.
Stopped Kerzhakov well with his legs in the first half, but was left helpless by the precision of Shirokov’s second. However, he gifted the Russian forward the winner, letting a seemingly routine ball slip under his body.
Opened the scoring with a tap in from a Zhevnov spill, and always looked to support the attack down the right. However, in his own half of the field he was less convincing, as he often left space behind him on his forays forward. Was at fault for the late winner, failing to properly clear a seemingly routine ball that kept the pressure on his side.
Was given little to think about by his direct opponent Kanunnikov, but could have drifted inwards on a few occasions to provide better cover centrally.
Was never shy of getting to the ball on the defensive end, with a series of aerial balls by Zenit cleared by his head. Looked a little short of pace at times, but overall a good performance.
Booked early on for a late lunge, and his lax marking afforded Shirokov the space he needed to score the Zenit equalizer. Recovered somewhat from that mistake to make a decent effort in the second half.
Showed glimpses of his quality, and on occasion, was able to get a step on his defender out wide. However, he was unable to put the finishing touches on his enterprise as his end product was often lacking.
Shown a yellow card for a challenge on Denisov, but his output in the offensive third was intermittent at best. Taken off in the second half.
At times, he looked menacing as he combined well with his attack to initiate a few chances for the visitors. Looked comfortable despite the conditions, and will be pleased with his showing.
Was not the most glamorous or enterprising of customers, but he held his position well and was always disciplined in the center of the park.
Though he did not exactly epitomize mobility, his left foot was a threat all night, as his low free kick was fumbled by Zhevnov to allow Pereira to score the opener. Had a few more cracks at goal before scoring a crucial second away goal for his side after a mistake by Zhevnov left him with an open net.
Stretchered off early after a reckless tackle by Bruno Alves, and though he made it back onto the pitch he was ultimately unable to continue and was withdrawn after half an hour.
- 22 D. Borodin
- 50 I. Cheminava
- 24 A. Luković
- 23 S. Huszti
Made an appearance midway through the second half and contributed to the Zenit turnaround, setting up fellow substitute Semak for the second Zenit goal.
The veteran came on for the second-half and made a definitive impact, pulling an old trick out of his bag with a delightful flick to put the score at 2-1.
- 47 Eduardo
- 33 Jardel
Given a very late run out.
Came on for the injured Rodrigo, but appeared to take some time to get acclimated with proceedings in the opening half. Looked better after the interval, and combined nicely with the likes of Witsel to instigate a few attacks for the Portuguese side.
Did not make much of an impact in his 15 minutes on the pitch
- 16 Nélson Oliveira
- 30 J. Saviola