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Trapattoni savours winning start

Tuesday, 10 August 2004

[1] SL Benfica will travel to Brussels with a narrow lead over RSC Anderlecht after an early goal from Zlatko Zahovic brought Giovanni Trapattoni victory in his first match as coach.

Long wait

[2] This was the first competitive match in the Estádio da Luz since the UEFA EURO 2004™ final and there were 60,000 fans inside urging their side on as Benfica looked to claim a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since 1998/99.

Early chances

[3] There were early chances for both sides. First Christian Wilhelmsson latched on to a sloppy back-pass from Miguel but he failed to find a team-mate with his ball across the penalty area. In response, Petit dribbled through the visitors' defence and from inside the area, shot just wide of Daniel Zitka's left-hand post.

Missed opportunity

[4] Back to the other end and in the 12th minute, a menacing counterattack from Anderlecht saw Aruna Dindane escape the offside trap. Breaking into the box from the right, however, he was unable to pick out Goran Lovre, who was waiting in front of goal for the final pass.

Zahovic scores

[5] That chance gone begging, Anderlecht then conceded the game's only goal 60 seconds later. Simão Sabrosa attacked down the left flank and fed Zahovic on the edge of the area. The Slovenian playmaker controlled the ball with his right foot, then drove a powerful shot with his left straight into the top left-hand corner.

Mpenza shoots wide

[6] The tempo then slowed although Benfica were in control, and Tomo Šokota, João Pereira and Paulo Almeida all tried their luck from long range. After the restart, however, the Belgian champions came back at them. After 58 minutes, Mbo Mpenza was put clean through by Wilhelmsson but shot wide with just Yannick to beat.

Zitka save

[7] As the clock ticked down, Benfica regained control and Zitka did well to deny Simão when the left winger crashed a volley goalwards from Petit's free-kick. In the final moments, Anderlecht gave the home supporters a final scare but Dindane again failed to pick out a team-mate after surging down the right. The second leg of this third qualifying round tie is to come in a fortnight's time but the Trapattoni era is now up and running.

There were some anxious moments for Benfica coach Giovanni Trapattoni