A single goal by former Fulham player Kostas Mitroglou was enough to give the Eagles the advantage over Borussia Dortmund in the first-leg of their Champions League game in Lisbon on Tuesday night.
The German team squandered chance after chance, including a second-half penalty, as Ederson made a string of crucial saves.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a nightmare for the visitors and as early as the eleventh minute he blazed his shot over the bar when it appeared easier to score!
Under the cosh in the first-half, it was a much improved Benfica who grabbed the lead just three minutes after the interval.
After forcing a corner, veteran defender Luisão, making his 500th appearance for Benfica, headed Luis Pizzi’s cross towards Mitroglou, who needed a couple of attempts to beat Roman Burki from close range. Seven minutes later Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s night of woe was further compounded when he fired a penalty straight at Ederson.
A stubborn Benfica defence battled hard to maintain their slender lead and with seven minutes remaining Ederson made a wonder save.
A corner was cleared to the edge of the area, where Pulisic met it with a lovely volley. It deflected off Jimenez to add extra difficulty for the keeper, who adjusted his feet with lightning speed and threw out his right hand to turn the ball around the post!
The return leg in early March could be a different affair but Benfica have qualified for twelve of their last thirteen European competition qualifiers when they have started with a
1-0 home win.
Who can forget their superlative performance against holders Liverpool in 2006 when they won 2-0 at Anfield after a single goal victory at the Stadium of Light in the first leg.
Another former Benfica player, Angel di Maria, grabbed a brace as Paris St Germain thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in the French capital to virtually assure them of a place in the last eight.
It will be an intriguing night of football on 8 March to see if two of the giants of Iberian football can overcome the odds.