Spartak beats Benfica 2-1 in Champions League


MOSCOW (AP) -Spartak Moscow won its first Champions League match this season Tuesday by beating Benfica 2-1 due to a first-half own goal by Jardel.

Rafael Carioca gave Spartak a 1-0 lead in the third minute after overlapping down the left and receiving a clever pass from Jurado before poking the ball into the net.

Benfica went close for the first time when Rodrigo forced third-choice Spartak goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov to punch his left-footed drive over the crossbar in the 14th minute.

Benfica equalized in the 33rd minute through an unmarked header from Lima at the near post following Eduardo Salvio's swerving cross. It was the Portuguese club's first goal in the competition this season.

Spartak took the lead again when Benfica defender Jardel tried to intercept Yevgeny Makeev's pass to Ari in the box but turned the ball into his own net in the 43rd.

Spartak has three points in Group G to sit third, while Benfica is last with one.

"Our team was really tired after 60 minutes," Spartak forward Diniyar Bilyaletdinov said. "It was important to win so that we weren't put out of the fight in the Champions League today. The job's done."

Spartak had eight shots to six for Benfica in the first half, and the hosts initially dominated after the break.

Ari, who hit the crossbar in the 24th, almost extended the lead in the 55th minute but goalkeeper Artur dived to block his low back-heeled kick from only two meters.

After 60 minutes, Benfica seized the initiative and was in full control.

Benfica's Salvio stole the ball in the 69th when a defender tried to head the ball back to the goalkeeper, but the midfielder missed the target. Teammate Lima fired over the crossbar in the 74th minute.

"Our opponent has surprised us in the first 30 minutes when they were on attack and scored a goal," Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said. "We were the better team in the second half. We've got two matches in Lisbon where we can't make a mistake and need to win. We still have a chance to make it out of the group."

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