Zenit St Petersburg 1-2 Benfica (1-3 agg)


Benfican won the European Cup in 1961 and 1962

Two-time European champions Benfica reached the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate win against Zenit St Petersburg.

The Portuguese side won the first leg 1-0 but Zenit levelled the tie in Russia on Wednesday when Hulk scored a second-half header.

However, Nicolas Gaitan nodded in after the hosts’ keeper Yuri Lodygin had pushed a shot onto the bar.

Talisca then sealed a 2-1 win on the night with a late drive.

Zenit, managed by former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, had been looking to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.

The Russian side struggled to break down their opponents for much of the game, but were in the ascendancy when forward Hulk struck with a free header from Yuri Zhirkov’s cross midway through the second half.

With five minutes left and the score 1-1 on aggregate it looked like the game was heading for extra time before Raal Jimanez’s long-range strike was tipped onto the bar by Lodygin and midfielder Gaitain pounced on the loose ball to head into the empty net.

The goal meant Zenit needed to find two goals and as they pushed forward Benfica took full advantage as Talisca struck on the half-volley with the last kick of the game.

The stats you need to know

  • Benfica have reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2011-12 when they were eventually eliminated by Chelsea.
  • Nicolas Gaitan has been directly involved in seven goals in seven Champions League appearances this season (four goals, three assists).
  • Benfica have scored in all eight of their games in the competition this season.
  • Hulk (eight) has had a hand in more Champions League goals this season than in any other previous campaign (four goals, four assists).
  • Hulk made his 50th Champions League appearance; becoming the 24th Brazilian to reach this milestone.
  • France (28) are the only nation with more players to have made more than 50 appearances – Spain are also on 24.

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