Benfica beats Champions League newcomer Astana 2-0
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Nicolas Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou scored in the second half to give Benfica a 2–0 win over plucky Champions League newcomer Astana in their Group C opener Tuesday.
Gaitan got the breakthrough in the 51st, breaking into the area from the left flank and firing a low drive into the far corner. Mitroglou extended the Portuguese club's lead 11 minutes later when he tapped in Eliseu's cross from the left.
The goals came after a frustrating first half in which Benfica dominated the run of play but lacked the speed and imagination to pierce Astana's packed defense.
Astana, the first team from Kazakhstan to reach the competition's group phase, produced a competent performance and looked poised to upset Benfica when substitute Aleksei Schetkin hit the post in the 46th.
Benfica mostly dictated the game but in the first half lacked the speed and imagination to pierce Astana's packed defense.
Junior Kabananga and Georgi Zhukov threatened for Astana but the visitors didn't have the sophistication needed to make any real headway.
Benfica is making its sixth consecutive Champions League appearance and has lost just one of its last 15 European games at the Stadium of Light.