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UEFA Champions League
October 23, 2013
• Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz), Lisboa
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
• Attendance: 38149
O. Cardozo 83'
A. Domínguez 29'
I've been Simon Harrison, I hope that you've enjoyed our coverage this evening, and we hope that you'll tune in with us next time!
That's all we've got time for this evening from a rather soggy Estadio da Luz, as Benfica salvaged a late point against the tidy opposition of Olympiakos. Rain marred the game as a spectacle, but it was wholly entertaining nonetheless.
That result leaves the group wide open, as PSG triumphed heavily over Anderlecht in the other game tonight, which ended 5-0 thanks to four goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Both Benfica and Olympiakos can still vy for second place.
Alejandro Dominguez' opener seems a long way in the past now, but his wonderful artistry gave the visitors a deserved first half lead, before a controversial Cardozo equaliser gave Benfica a share of the spoils.
FULL TIME! Benfica protect their unbeaten home record, but that game was certainly not one to remember! Torrential rain ended the game as a true sporting competition, but both respective sides managed a goal in a 1-1 draw.
90' + 3'
PENALTY? Cardozo is absolutely furious, the Paraguayan clearly feels that he's been pulled down under a rather clumsy challenge, but the referee waves it away! Late drama in Estadio da Luz!
90' + 1'
Three minutes of stoppage time have been awarded by the fourth official.
We're into the dying embers of this game, though I supposed the fire of competition was extinguished long ago by this torrential rain. Holebas tries an audacious effort from 30 yards, but it whistles high into the stands.
Roberto wastes some time in the penalty area, biding his time before collecting a loose ball, and Olympiakos' players are only tentatively making their way up the field. They're conscious of throwing this game away, visibly so.
Olympiakos have conservation on their minds, however, and put another central defender onto the field in the place of a midfielder. They've only got a few minutes to hold out, and this would be an impressive away point given the circumstances.
Lima personifies a sense of urgency for the hosts, whose support have awakened following Cardozo's equaliser. If Benfica can grab a second goal, I think that the home fans will at least feel repaid for sitting in a monsoon for an evening.
Five minutes left on the clock, and Benfica are pushing for an equaliser that probably wouldn't be deserved! Jorge Jesus' side have improved after the break, but it's been far from a vintage performance.
GOOOOAL! BENFICA EQUALISE! Olympiakos are furious, as they don't think that the home side should have had a corner in the first place! Cardozo strikes, bundling the ball over the line! It's 1-1!
Enzo Nicolás Pérez
OFFSIDE! Mitroglou makes a mazy run into the penalty area, but Andre Almeida stands tall to deny the Greek forward. The ball is switched to the right flank, fired back into the back to allow Mitroglou to nod home excellently, but the offside flag is raised!
MITROGLOU! Another half chance for the Olympiakos dangerman! A smart pull back from the byline found the hat-trick hero from last time out in the Champions League, but he can't hit the target! Artur Moraes breathes a sigh of relief.
The referee awards a free-kick to Benfica, despite Dominguez being fouled rather nastily in the centre of the park. Nothing comes of the delivery, the visitors break, but Mitroglou fires high and wide from 35 yards.
The pitch is finally clearing up a little bit, with the ball able to run smoothly on most areas of the field. There are small pockets of surface water, but it's much more avoidable now. Previously, any long ball would have been destined to land in a puddle.
Lima sprawls to the ground once again, following a shove from Manolas, and I think if that challenge was made in a less important part of the field, the referee would have given the free-kick. Instead, he lets play continue on the edge of the penalty area, much to Lima's annoyance.
Olympiakos' five man midfield is providing a rather resilient shield for Benfica to break through, and at the moment it looks that the home side have no answers to combat the solidity of Michel's outfit. Mitroglou is being left up front, but other than that, Olympiakos' efforts are defensive.
Chance for Benfica! Roberto and his defender get their lines crossed, and the Spaniard flaps at a free-kick delivery, but Maniatis is on hand to thump it away! Close for the hosts there!
LIMA! The Brazilian fires wide of the far post, after being slipped through on goal! He's offside yet again though! I think that he's received the ball in an offside position more time than he's managed to be onside tonight! Perhaps he's just overeager.
Mitroglou looks to drive beyond Luisao, but once again the water holds the ball up and prevents the striker from striding onwards. He's been thwarted on a few occasions now, the away side won't be too pleased if they are on the losing end of the result after this farce.
Holebas makes no mistake this time, clearing under pressure excellently to launch Luisao's dangerous header away from Olympiakos' penalty area. Michel's men are struggling to get any kind of foothold in this match.
Cardozo protests his innocence, as the Paraguayan seems to think that the Greek left-back made contact with him, rather than the other way round. It did seem that Holebas failed to clear the ball due to a puddle of water, rather than Cardozo.
Another half an hour for Olympiakos to battle through, and they still currently have their Champions League scalp to grip on to.The crowd are growing increasingly more restless now! Cardozo strikes the bar, but the referee had already blown for a foul on Holebas.
Lisbon as a city boasts a number of Olympic sized swimming pools, and they can certainly add another to their collection this evening! A vast portion of the pitch is underwater! Perfect weather for diving, but we hope that players don't feel inclined to cheat in such accommodating circumstances..
Yellow CardN. Gaitán
Play is continuing as though nothing is wrong, despite the pitch being in absolutely farcical condition. It appears that this game will finish, even if there is a natural disaster. Olympiakos have really struggled to string any attacks together, as they've had to go long quite often.
The game has devolved into chaos, players are unable to judge the bounce or flight of balls and are taking cynical action to ensure that their mistakes go unpunished! Benfica are having the better of this second half, though.
Yellow CardKonstantinos Mitroglou
MITROGLOU! The ball rolls past Artur Moraes, as the goalkeeper fails to read a forward pass, but the water holds the ball up, and stops the ball from passing over the line! This game should have been called off!
Jorge Jesus and Michel continue to stand in their technical areas without any form of coat or jacket. Both are probably going to catch hypothermia at this rate, they're soaking!
Terrible lunge from Perez! The Benfica midfielder seemed to lose his cool, lunging desperately at Holebas, but the referee opts to just give a yellow card. Olympiakos thrown on an extra midfield player, to shore things up.
Yellow CardEnzo Nicolás Pérez
MATIC! The tall Serbian wins a free header in the centre of the penalty area, directing the corner delivery towards goal, but Roberto gets nowhere near it! It floats over the bar.
Olympiakos aren't prepared to complain about this weather, however, as they need these vital points. Substitutes are beginning to be readied for the home side, as Jorge Jesus is probably beginning to realise that lumping the ball upfield will yield results. The puddles of water can stop it dead.
Lima wants a penalty! The Brazilian goes down and looks incensed, as he seems to think that Holebas pushed him to the ground as he went through on goal! The referee waves it away.
CARDOZO! JOHN! Both players have the opportunity to try their luck inside the Olympiakos penalty area, with the surface water helping to control the ball. They hesitate however, and the visitors clear.
GAITAN! He tries his luck from a close range free-kick, but it curling around the far post, with Roberto sprawled at full stretch. The home fans are booing, I can only presume it's due to the pitch inhibiting this game of football!
Jorge Jesus is incensed that his side have had a chance stolen away from them by the poor condition of the pitch, but both sides are falling victim to this surface water. A long ball forward flummoxes the Olympiakos goalkeeper, it stops dead in a puddle!
GAITAN! The winger drives into the penalty area from the left hand side, but the surface water on the field steals the ball from his boots! Nature is having a profound effect on this game now!
We're back underway for the second half! This pitch is absolutely awful and it's surprising that this game is being permitted to continue! The ball can't even run in some areas of the field.
The condition of the pitch is deteriorating rapidly here, with large sections of the central third of the field becoming very waterlogged. Ivan Cavaleiro continues to warm up despite the weather, however, and he needs to remain focused - this is his Champions League debut.
Let us just take a moment to savour that Dominguez goal once again. The former Valencia and Rubin Kazan man rolled back the years, chopping smartly inside a sliding challenge, before sidefooting the ball into the far corner as coolly as is physically possible. Lovely stuff.
20-year-old Ivan Cavaleiro is also available for the hosts, and he could be another possibility to replace the Brazilian, who has been lacklustre in this first half at best. I doubt that Michel will be making any reactionary changes however, his side have looked solid and efficient.
To refresh your memory regarding the substitutes on offer tonight for both sides, the visitors can call upon Javier Saviola if required, with the Argentine narrowly missing out on a start tonight. Benfica do have Rodrigo available to replace Lima, which might be a good move!
Known dangerman Mitroglou has looked threatening at times, with both Dominguez and Weiss also looking lively on either flank. Michel will be encourage by the performance so far, Benfica haven't been able to carve out many chances whatsoever.
There's the half time whistle! The referee has called time on a rather soggy first 45 minutes, and Greek champions Olympiakos cling onto a valuable one goal lead at the break, courtesy of Alejandro Dominguez.
We're into stoppage time in this first half, and Olympiakos will be opting for the safety first approach, and avoiding letting the ball bounce. Anything could happen with the looping crosses that Benfica are launching into the penalty area, the rain is causing all kinds of issues.
Areas of the pitch are becoming rather waterlogged, and I think that the grounds staff will need to get onto the field rather quickly at the break to drain some of the excess water. The weather can't be an excuse for Benfica however, they've looked toothless and unable to get in behind Holebas and Salino.
Benfica really need to fight back before the break, a goal would be invaluable now in terms of the result, but also in terms of confidence. Olympiakos have looked very comfortable, with Jimenez having an answer to everything the Portuguese have thrown at him. A goal could change that mentality.
Yellow CardVladimir Weiss
A few minutes until the half time break, and the rain continues to pour onto the turf, making the run of the ball rather unpredictable. There have been occasions where passes have been hindered and bogged down, but also instances where the ball has skidded off the grass and away from the intended recipient.
Mitroglou has been the fulcrum for Olympiakos tonight, he's been central to all that has been good with their play. Whether it be a clever touch or turn, the striker is always threatening, an omnipresent danger.
Holebas tries his luck from the edge of the box, but a wall of red shirts prevent his strike from testing Artur Moraes. Benfica then look to break quickly, but an organised high line from Olympiakos catches Lima in a compromising position.
This result isn't exactly surprising, with the Greek champions in excellent away form of late, but the home fans will be expecting rather more. Benfica are yet to have a clear chance in the first half.
Yellow CardDavid Fuster
Great challenge from Luisao! The experienced, bruising defender stops Weiss in his tracks with a firm tackle, leaving his victims sprawled out in the rain. The diminutive winger has been a real livewire in this first half.
Benfica are struggling to break down the resistance of Olympiakos at the moment, with the athletic Holebas and Salino matching the efforts of Gaitan and John. Jorge Jesus is beginning to cut a frustrating figure on the touchline.
Weiss and Mitroglou try to exchange possession with their backs to goal on the edge of Benfica's penalty area, but some good pressing prevents the Greek striker from turning and trying his luck. Olympiakos are being quick direct and positive with their passes, and it's working for them.
The ball is most certainly in Benfica's court now, as demonstrated by the despairing reaction of Jorge Jesus in response to the away side's breakthrough goal. Lima and Cardozo have been rather anonymous thus far, Benfica need to step up a gear.
What an important goal for Olympiakos' Champions League aspirations! A lovely flick out wide to Mitroglou to find the goalscorer, before Dominguez made absolutely no mistake, stepping inside the challenge of Garay, before finishing clinically.
GOOOOAL! DOMINGUEZ CONVERTS! Mitroglou shifts the ball out wide to the left hand side, to his Argentine teammate, before Dominguez skips onto his right foot, dispatching the ball into the bottom right corner! Olympiakos lead 1-0!
With Lima lurking, Manolas does well to clear the ball at the front post, hoofing the cross upfield - he's not willing to take any chances whatsoever. Jimenez looks to be alert to any danger, but Manolas opts for safety first.
LIMA! The Brazilian goes down on the edge of the penalty area, demanding a free-kick, but the referee waves the claims away! Play continues, returning to Lima once again, but he can only fire the ball directly at Jimenez.
MITROGLOU! The prolific Greek is denied by Artur Moraes this time, as the Portuguese shot stopper got down to his bottom right corner well to beat a strong strike away.
After a hectic start, this game has settled down somewhat, with Olympiakos keen to take the tempo and sting out of proceedings. It's working, Benfica aren't quite in their offensive stride at the moment.
John spirals a floating back post delivery towards the talismanic Cardozo, but the Dutchman's cross is rather woeful. His teammate applauds the effort, but he must expect better service than that.
OFFSIDE! Lima races through on goal, following an incisive through ball from Perez, but the linesman has his flag up! That looked like a tight decision, but Roberto Jimenez stood up tall and made the save anyhow.
The rain continues to fall here, but the pitch's drainage looks to be holding up nicely. The home fans spirits aren't to be dampened, as the Benfica faithful continue to jeer any Olympiakos player who is in possession of the ball.
John weaves and pivots on the edge of the penalty area, hoping to get some give out of Holebas, but the young Greece international has shown that he's more than capable of playing at continental level in the past for his country.
Artur Moraes comes quickly off his line to claim a free-kick delivery from the visitors that was immensely overhit. Nothing yet to trouble either goalkeepers, except for some routine saves and claims.
Perez is penalised for a rash challenge, but has no sympathy for his victim, gesturing in the face of the player whilst he cradled his injury on the turf. I suspect the Argentine didn't think there was much contact there!
Michel won't be too unhappy with what he's seen from his Olympiakos side so far. They've kept the ball relatively well, with Salino able to really push up on the right flank. Mitroglou is always lurking, looking dangerous.
Well claimed by Roberto Jimenez! John tries to squeeze an audacious effort just inside the near post, from an angle so acute that it was almost mathematically impossible. We're yet to see any clear cut chances for Benfica in this game!
Good work from Weiss! The former Manchester City youngster skipped inside from the left flank, beating Siquiera and Gaitan with ease, but his cross was poorly weighted! Artur Moraes collects simply.
Unlucky for Dominguez! The former Valencia forward skips in between the lines, looking to squeeze Mitroglou through on goal, but Luisao reads the pass and managed to clear the danger.
A couple of scrappy fouls slow the game down, with Nemanja Matic being warned by the referee to stop holding onto his man. The rather tall Serbian shouldn't need to bend the rules, he's an intimidating figure anyway!
An interesting first ten minutes in this Champions League group match, with Benfica dominating the first five minutes courtesy of plenty of corners, but Olympiakos have gradually began to fight their way back into proceedings. Mitroglou has spurned two great opportunities already.
MITROGLOU! The Greek striker combines with Fuster this time, but can't manage to convert! It was a great ball from the Spaniard, after he was slipped in behind Benfica's lines by Salino! The cross was good, but Mitroglou nods wide!
The visitors finally have a chance to get their foot on the ball, and retain possession with some calm passing. They're not making any inroads, but finally Michel's men have seen some of the ball!
A composed start for the hosts, as they've only allowed Olympiakos out of their own half on one notable occasion. Plenty of corners show the dominance of the Portuguese outfit, and Jorge Jesus will be satisfied.
MITROGLOU! What a chance for the Greek striker! A wonderful lofted ball put him through on goal, but he fires into the side netting from a tight angle! Moraes did well to close him down, but that could have easily been 1-0 to the away side!
LUISAO! The physical imposing defender finds himself in the box, after an intricate free-kick routine from the hosts, but can't quick get the right connection on John's cross! He heads horribly over the crossbar!
Three corners in quick succession for the hosts, who are enjoying some great early pressure in the rain. Lima heads over the latter of the trio, however, and the Brazilian forward looks rather disappointed with his effort. Good start for Benfica!
CARDOZO! Great save from Roberto Jimenez! The Paraguayan hammers a low drive at goal, which skids off the turf, and Olympiakos' goalkeeper has to get down smartly to his right to turn the ball around the post!
Benfica pick up a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, after a dangerous high boot from Holebas in penalised. That chance arose from a testing long throw from Siquiera, that could be a useful weapon for the evening!
And we are underway! Our Spanish referee puts his whistle to his lips, and this game has begun! The home fans immediately jeer the away side's possession.
We're only a few minutes from kick-off now, but the ground certainly isn't full to the brim! The visiting fans are being rather vocal, though! Benfica line up in their red strip, with Olympiakos sticking with their navy blue kit from the win against Anderlecht.
Five minutes until the first whistle will be blown, and the weather certainly isn't lending itself to football in Lisbon. Our referee for the evening with be Alberto Undiano, for those interesting. A Spanish team of officials is in charge of this one.
Fifteen minutes until kick-off now, with Jorge Jesus presumably happy with a win and nothing less for his charges tonight. After a heavy defeat to the French champions, comprehensively beating both Anderlecht and Olympiakos seems the only option worth exercising for the Portuguese side.
Heavy rain in Lisbon, meaning that this playing surface could be rather unpredictable and treacherous. With Benfica opting for a rather adventurous, offensive side at their home stadium, there promises to be some goals in this game! Mitroglou has already shown that he can have an impact in the Champions League, so Olympiakos will probably have a goal-scoring say in this game too.
Olympiakos substitutes: Ndinga, Saviola, Medjani, Campbell, Megyeri, Yatabare, Olaitan.
Olympiakos starting line-up: Jimenez; Leandro Salino, Manolas, Siovas, Holebas; Weiss, Samaris, Maniatis, Fuster, Dominguez; Mitroglou.
Benfica substitutes: Duricic, Paulo Lopes, Pereira, Rodrigo, Jardel, Ruben Amorim.
Benfica starting line-up: Artur Moraes; Andre Almeida, Luisao, Garay, Guilherme Siquiera; Perez, Gaitan, Matic, John; Cardozo, Lima.
TEAM NEWS: Javier Saviola can only manage to make the bench for the away side, with Olympiakos' hat-trick hero versus Anderlecht, Konstantinos Mitroglou retaining his place in the starting line-up. Ruben Amorim starts on the substitutes bench for the hosts.
Benfica may sit four points behind Porto in their respective league, but Jorge Jesus won't be overly disappointed with his team's start to the season. A 3-0 defeat at the hands of PSG on their last time out in the Champions League is bound to cause pessimism, but there is no reason why Benfica can't manage to exploit Olympiakos' defensive frailties to record a much-needed victory.
The visitors have managed to win their last five consecutive matches, providing Michel's men with the perfect momentum to take into today's fixture. Managing three or more goals on all but one occasion in this time period, the Greek side look to be in good shape.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading you through this evening's action, with Benfica requiring three points at home against Greek champions Olympiakos. Anderlecht look to be potential whipping boys of this group, but either Benfica or Olympiakos could quite easily join presumable group winners PSG in the knockout stages.
Hello and welcome to Champions League action, as Benfica host Olympiakos, with both teams in rather good form heading into tonight's game. The Portuguese may have taken a beating from PSG last time out, but expect a tight game at Estadio da Luz nonetheless!
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