Champions League

CSKA move closer to CL last 16 with Benfica win

CSKA Moscow (AFP)
CSKA Moscow (AFP)

Moscow - CSKA Moscow defeated Benfica 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday as they kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the progressing to the last 16.

Georgy Shchennikov gave CSKA an early lead, despite an apparent offside. Then an own-goal from Jardel ensured Benfica - who are already eliminated - slipped to their fifth defeat in five Champions League games.

The result temporarily lifted CSKA into second place in Group A before Basel reclaimed the spot with a 1-0 win over Manchester United later on Wednesday. United lead with 12 points, with Basel and CSKA both on nine points. Basel are second due to a superior head-to-head record.

For CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, the win marked the end of an 11-year wait for a shutout in the Champions League proper.

"We played well today, really well organized and good on the counter," CSKA midfielder Alan Dzagoev said.

CSKA started with three up front, including midfielder Pontus Wernbloom as a makeshift forward.

The Russian side took the lead in the 13th minute when Bibras Natkho picked up a clearance from the Benfica box and fed it through to Shchennikov, who scored with a calm finish despite appearing to be offside.

Benfica missed a good chance to hit back almost immediately when Jonas fired a shot wide, while at the other end Dzagoev forced an acrobatic save from Benfica goalkeeper Bruno Varela.

CSKA made it 2-0 in the 56th when a cross by Vitinho was deflected into the net off defender Jardel's thigh.

Vitinho missed good chances to score a second, while Akinfeev made a good save from a Jonas free-kick to prevent a Benfica comeback.

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