Jonas scored a late winner as Benfica defeated Zenit 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match played this evening.
Zenit manager Andre Vilas Boas set up his team to be defensively solid and play on a counter against the home side and they executed it perfectly in the first half.
The away side kept it tight and made it very difficult for Benfica to find a shot on target. Captain Nicholas Gaitan showed some amazing trickery to find space for striker Pizzi who arrived on the edge of the box but his shot was off target.
Zenit midfielder Witsel received the first yellow of the game but it was Benfica’s yellow that hurts the most as Jardel will miss the return leg in Russia. It was a difficult night for both supporters as they endured a first half without clear cut openings.
The second half was tighter as the away Zenit sat deep even more but Gaitan created the best chance of the game when he faked a defender and had only the goalkeeper to beat but his shot was too direct for an easy save.
Zenit left-back Criscito received a harsh second yellow and was sent off – Jonas headed in the resultant freekick for a late winner.
The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Portuguese and may go down as the most boring UEFA Champions League game this season.