Borussia Dortmund slipped to a 1-0 defeat to SL Benfica in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie , despite a dominant performance in which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty.
SL Benfica 1-0 Borussia Dortmund
Goals: 1-0 (Mitroglou 48')
The first half was played at a blistering pace, and although both sides looked to attack at every opportunity, the best chances to score before the break fell to Dortmund, with Ousmane Dembele heavily involved each time. For the first opportunity, a perfectly-timed pass from the 19-year-old bisected the Benfica defence but Aubameyang sent his shot fizzing over the crossbar. The France winger then found himself with a shooting chance in the area following a neat flick from Marco Reus, but his effort was blocked by Benfica goalkeeper Ederson.
But Dortmund were rocked back when the hosts opened the scoring just three minutes into the second half, when Kostas Mitroglou latched on to a corner to stab the ball past Roman Bürki at point-blank range. Aubameyang spurned a chance to equalise shortly after, scooping a shot-on-the-turn over Ederson’s bar’s, and the Benfica 'keeper was required again seconds later to claw away Lukasz Piszcek’s long-range shot.
Ljubomir Fejsa’s handball in the area gave Aubameyang the chance to level from the penalty spot, but after firing down the middle of the goal he could only watch as Ederson made the save. Christian Pulisic came off the bench late on and came close to equalising with a deflected volley that Ederson did well to push wide. There was still time for the USMNT star to take aim again before the end, but his volley over the bar was Dortmund’s final chance of the night.
Man of the match
Julian Weigl worked hard and helped his side carve out the lion's share of the chances on a night when things did just not go the way of Thomas Tuchel's men.
Aubameyang is enjoying a superb season in the Bundesliga, with 17 goals to date to top the charts at home. However, it just was not his night in the Estadio da Luz. The Gabonese will now be looking to take out his frustrations on VfL Wolfsburg when they visit Dortmund on Saturday.
- Dortmund had 14 shots on the night, with four on target and had 64 percent of the possession.Aubameyang has missed three of his last four penalties in all competitions after scoring with his previous six.Weigl led the way for Dortmund, his 11.4km being the most run by a Dortmund player in Lisbon.
SL Benfica: Ederson - Nélson Semedo, Luisao, Lindelöf, Eliseu - Fejsa, Pizzi - Salvio, Carrillo (Augusto 46'), Rafa (Cevri 67') - Mitroglou (Jimenez 75')
Coach: Rui Vitoria
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek, Sokratis, Bartra, Schmelzer - Durm, Weigl, Guerreiro (Castro 81') - Dembelé, Reus (Pulisic 81'), Aubameyang (Schürrle 62').
Coach: Thomas Tuchel