Benfica beats Otelul 1-0 in Champions League

Benfica beats Otelul 1-0 in Champions League

Published Dec. 7, 2011 10:46 p.m. ET

Benfica clinched top spot in Champions League Group C with a 1-0 win over Otelul Galati on Wednesday after an early goal from Oscar Cardozo.

Benfica, which had already qualified for the knockout round, finished first in its group for the first time since 1995. FC Basel went through in second place after a shock 2-1 win over three-time former champion Manchester United.

Otelul, visiting Lisbon after five straight defeats in the tournament, packed its defense in the low-key encounter.

But the Romanian newcomer held out for just seven minutes before Cardozo tapped in a cross from winger Nicolas Gaitan for his third Champions League goal.


The Portuguese club has shown strong form this season, losing just once in 23 games.

Cardozo, a Paraguayan international, almost got another in the 33rd with a curling shot.

The visitors were unambitious going forward, though a chance fell to Gabriel Paraschiv when he pounced on a loose ball in the Benfica area and Liviu Antal tested goalkeeper Artur again 10 minutes later.

Benfica went off the boil in the second half and let Otelul back into the game, but Javi Garcia came close to extending Benfica's lead with a long-range shot that scraped the post in the 62nd.

Substitute Rodrigo missed a chance to seal it for Benfica in a counter-attack during injury time.