Benfica defender Jardel's own goal right before halftime proved the difference as Spartak Moscow climbed back in to the fight to qualify out of Group G
Spartak Moscow took advantage of a Jardel own goal to defeat Benfica 2-1 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Spartak got off to a quick start thanks to Rafael Carioca's goal in the 3rd minute, beating Artur with a shot just inside the post to give the home side an early 1-0 advantage. The goal was set-up by a quick counter-attack break and a pass from José Jurado. Spartak continued to dominate the match, but as often happens, when a team looks the most comfortable, they concede a goal.
Benfica equalized in the 32nd minute after Eduardo Salvio chased down the ball after a corner kick and sent a cross back in to the box where Lima was waiting to head it past Artyom Rebrov from close range. Benfica's joy at pulling even was short lived, though.
Just before halftime, Spartak's quick passing drew out the Benfica defense a bit, allowing Evgeniy Makeyev to get behind on the left wing and fire a cross in the box towards the unmarked and waiting Ari. Benfica defender Jardel had no choice but to attempt to play the ball, but he was unable to direct it out for a corner, instead sending it right in to his net for an own goal, giving Spartak a 2-1 lead.
Spartak continued to be the better side in the second half and were able to hold off Benfica's attacks to earn a crucial three points. The loss drops Benfica in to last place in Group G at the halfway point with one point. Spartak pulls themselves within a point of Celtic for second place for the moment, the Scottish club plays Barcelona this evening.