Benfica beats Monaco 1-0 in Champions League
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Brazilian striker Talisca scored 10 minutes from the end as Benfica beat Monaco 1-0 Tuesday, recording its first win of the Champions League season and splitting Group C wide open.
With two games to play, all four clubs in the group remain in contention for two berths in the knockout stage.
Benfica went into the game with one point and one goal, needing victory to keep its tournament hopes alive. Talisca delivered with a tap-in at the back post from a corner.
Monaco, struggling in front of goal this season following the departures of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, was unbeaten before its trip to Lisbon.
Bayer Leverkusen leads the group with nine points and Monaco has five, one clear of Zenit St. Petersburg and Benfica.
In a scrappy game in a half-empty Stadium of Light, the teams looked headed for a 0-0 draw until Talisca struck in the 82nd minute. The Brazilian striker has eight goals in nine Portuguese league games, making him the leading scorer in the domestic league.
Monaco’s best first-half opportunity came in the 21st minute, when Lacina Traore appeared set to meet a cross from the right but Julio Cesar came off his line to tap the ball away. On the brink of half time, Nicolas Gaitan squandered a clear chance for the home team when he was unmarked inside the Monaco area.
Monaco was sharper after the break, with Layvin Kurzawa heading just over the bar, and Cesar produced a reflex save to deny Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco.