Benfica 1-0 Borussia Dortmund: Terrible night for Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty in a nightmare outing as Kostas Mitroglou's opportunistic strike gave Benfica a 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League 2016/17 last-16 tie at the Estádio da Luz. (In the other Champions League game of the night, PSG thrashed Barcelona 4-0)
The usually dependable Aubameyang spurned three excellent chances to get Dortmund an away goal at the Estadio da Luz and ended up being hooked by coach Thomas Tuchel after 62 minutes, with Benfica holding onto their lead
Dortmund started positively but Aubameyang was unable to finish a one-on-one chance in the early exchanges, setting the tone for his dismal game.
Mitroglou got the only goal of the game
Rui Vitoria's side took the lead when Mitroglou converted off a header from Luisao - the 36-year-old captain marking his 500th Benfica appearance with an assist.
Bravo to captain Luisão ... 500 matches in Benfica colours! 👏 pic.twitter.com/U3iCaMoE6c— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) 14 February 2017
After missing a great chance to draw level, Aubameyang must have thought his time to score had come when referee Nicola Rizzoli awarded Dortmund a penalty for handball by Ljubomir Fejsa.
But Ederson in goal stayed still and gleefully snapped up the striker's weak penalty. Benfica withstood late pressure following Aubameyang's withdrawal to ensure they take a slender advantage to Signal Iduna Park on March 8.
Dortmund's record goal haul to no avail
Dortmund had scored a Champions League record 21 goals in the group stage and they first bared their teeth in the 10th minute.
Ousmane Dembele won possession in the opposition half and slid an excellent pass to put Aubameyang one-on-one with Ederson, but he could only fire over from 12 yards.
Dortmund used their control of the ball to slow the tempo after a frantic start and their high pressing continued to cause Benfica problems, Victor Lindelof colliding with Ederson when blocking another Dembele effort.
Benfica soaking up pressure
The hosts were soaking up plenty of pressure, but Fejsa almost undid their good work when he failed to shepherd the ball out under pressure from Raphael Guerreiro, who stole in to roll a pass across the face of a vacant goal... but it was agonisingly out of Aubameyang's reach.
Tuchel was furious his side were not awarded at least a free-kick when Dembele was clattered by Ederson on the edge of the area and Rizzoli saw no foul.
And it was three minutes after the restart when Mitroglou stuck out his leg to stop Luisao's header from reaching the diving Roman Burki, before slotting into the gaping net.
Aubameyang wasted another glorious opening when he swiped over five minutes later, while Ederson produced great stops from Marco Reus and Lukasz Piszczek before the Gabon captain's outing took another turn for the worse with his penalty miss.
Ederson's superb display
Dortmund pressed for an equaliser but saw Piszczek head wide before Ederson capped a sensational display by clawing Christian Pulisic's deflected volley out of the top corner, leaving Benfica fans dreaming of a Champions League quarter-final at the Estadio da Luz for the second successive season.
Key Opta stats
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has missed three of his last four penalties in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund.
- Benfica scored with their only shot on target against the German side.