Benfica 1-0 Zenit St. Petersburg: Eight yellows and one late Jonas goal

AP Photo/Armando Franca
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  • Eight yellow cards in testy tie
  • Gaitan finds Jonas for stoppage winner
  • Return leg at Noon ET on March 9 in Russia.

A tightly-contested match at the Estádio da Luz saw Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg trading shoves more than shots before the home side found a late winner on Tuesday in a first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Benfica attempted more shots than Zenit, but neither side produced much danger until Nicolas Gaitan’s cross was buried by the head of Jonas for a 1-0 win.

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The first half saw Benfica with a load of possession, but just one big chance when Jonas’ 25-yard shot deflected within a hair of the far post.

Zenit had a chance itself, as Hulk battered a low free kick that skipped wide of the Benfica goal.

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The match was more memorable for its chippy nature than scoring chances, with eight yellows handed out.

The winner came with a red card, as a second yellow was given to Zenit’s Domenico Criscito. Fittingly, Jonas was given a yellow himself for excessively celebrating his winner.