Benfica vs. Spartak Moscow: Final score 2-0, Eagles soar on Cardozo brace

Valerio Pennicino

A brace from Óscar Cardozo was all Benfica needed to defeat a less than impressive Spartak Moscow

A second half brace by Óscar Cardozo was all Benfica needed as they cruised past Spartak Moscow 2-0 at the Estádio da Luz.

The match got off to a quick and potentially controversial start. Benfica's Enzo Pérez was brought down by Rafael Carioca setting up a dangerous free kick for the Portuguese club. On the free kick, Ezequiel Garay was pulled to the ground by Kim Källström but both the referee and the official on the end line either missed it or just ignored it.

The rest of the first half was all Benfica but they were wasteful with their chances. Eduardo Salvio had a couple golden opportunities to put Benfica in front, but his too close misses left supporters holding their heads wondering what happened. Spartak's best chance of breaking the scoreless deadlock came in the 13th minute when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov forced a great save from Artur.

Benfica appeared to finally have their goal five minutes in to the second half. Ola John fed Óscar Cardozo in the middle of the box and Cardozo crushed a shot in to the goal, but the linesman raised his flag for an offside. Replays showed it was very close and it really looked like Cardozo was either even with the last defender.

Cardozo got another chance in the 55th minute and didn't let the linesman deny him. Lorenzo Melgarejo made the cross in to the box cross and Cardozo out muscled Evgeniy Makeyev, heading the ball down off the ground and bouncing it past Artyom Rebrov.

Benfica took a 2-0 lead in the 69th minute as Cardozo netted his second goal of the match. Ola John pulled the ball pack across the box towards the penalty spot where Cardozo slid down and volleyed the ball past Rebrov.

In the 76th minute, Spartak's Nicolás Pareja was shown a straight red card for bringing down Cardozo in the box with a scissor kick from behind. Cardozo failed to complete his hat trick though, sending his penalty kick off the crossbar.

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