Zenit St. Petersburg defended well for most of the first half against Benfica, but they weren't able to stop the home side from scoring a massive goal just before the break. Benfica lead 1-0 at halftime at the Estadio da Luz, which means the tie is locked up at 3-3 on aggregate. Because Benfica scored twice at the Petrovsky Stadium, they lead the tie on away goals and will progress if the scored does not change.
While the home side has been on the front foot and creating chances for 45 minutes, it didn't look like they were going to score until the very end of the period, when Maxi Pereira netted in stoppage time. Axel Witsel created the chance, getting into the box and taking a shot, which was blocked. The ball came back to Witsel at an odd angle and he made an unbelievable adjustment while falling down to backheel the ball perfectly into the path of Periera. The right back timed his run perfectly and placed the ball into the back of the net. Luciano Spalletti's gameplan will now change significantly.
Spalletti has four attack-minded players on his bench, and he will be inclined to remove one of his two-way or defensive-minded midfielders shortly. Benfica will likely continue to attack into the second half until they score at least one more time.