Benfica tops FC Basel, 2-0

BY foxsports • October 18, 2011

Benfica beat FC Basel 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday to go top of Group C.

Goals from Bruno Cesar and Oscar Cardozo kept the Portuguese club unbeaten this season and gave Basel interim coach Heiko Vogel a loss in his first home match.

Cesar struck a sweet left-footed shot in the 20th minute after Rodrigo deceived the Basel defense by ignoring Nicolas Gaitan's pass.

Cardozo's free kick in the 75th pierced a ragged defensive wall and eluded goalkeeper Yann Sommer's dive by his left post.

Benfica defender Emerson was dismissed in the 86th for a second yellow card.

Benfica leads the group by two points from Manchester United which beat Otelul Galati 2-0 in Romania. Basel, which had led Benfica on goal difference, trails by a further point.

Vogel took charge last Friday when Thorsten Fink, who oversaw a 3-3 draw in Manchester, left to join Bundesliga struggler Hamburger SV.

The 35-year-old coach could call on Xherdan Shaqiri, who was suspended for the opening two rounds, and he quickly showed why he is Switzerland's most prized talent.

Shaqiri's left-footed free kick in the fifth from 25 meters (yards) curled just wide of the goal.

Benfica struck when Gaitan drifted into the penalty area and played a bouncing pass that Rodrigo left for Cesar to finish.

Artur preserved Benfica's lead with a pair of saves low to his left in the 39th. First, the Brazilian goalkeeper parried Marco Streller's low drive, then he pushed away Shaqiri's 20-meter (yard) shot which bounced awkwardly in front of him.

Another of Benfica's Brazilians, Emerson, surged forward in the 54th, and forced Yann Sommer into a low save. Sommer saved again when Pablo Aimar volleyed a long through ball goalward.

Basel had a bright spell when Fabian Frei fired on target, before Artur saved bravely at the feet of Streller.

Emerson had been booked for obstructing Shaqiri late in the first half, and was deservedly dismissed for repeating the offense.

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus was sent from the dugout minutes later for loudly protesting a foul by Shaqiri.

The teams meet again in Lisbon in two weeks' time.

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