Benfica edge Galatasaray 2-1 in Europa League

Benfica have advantage going into second-leg match

Benfica edge Galatasaray 2-1 in Europa League

By Fatih Erel


Turkey's Galatasaray were edged Thursday by Portugal's Benfica 2-1 in the first-leg match of the round of 32 in UEFA Europa League.

In the match at Turk Telekom Stadium in Istanbul, the Benfica gained advantage before the second leg at home.

At the second-highest level football competition in Europe, a penalty in the 26th minute was awarded following a controversial handball by Galatasaray's Marcao. Eduardo Salvio scored from the penalty spot at the 27th minute.

In the second half, the Lions' new transfer Christian Luyindama equalized in the 54th minute but Haris Seferovic secured Benfica's win with a second goal in the 64th minute for the Portuguese club.

Benfica trashed Nacional on Sunday with a staggering score of 10-0. Benfica continued to closely follow Porto after their sixth league win in a row, increasing their total points to 50, only one point behind the leaders.

Galatasaray cut the deficit with the leader Medipol Basaksehir to six points with Sunday’s win against Trabzonspor with a 3-1 score in the Spor Toto Super Lig.

The Lions are the only Turkish club to have won the UEFA Cup in 1999-2000 and the 2000 UEFA Super Cup, while Benfica won two European Cups in 1961 and 1962 and lost two Europa League finals in 2013 and in 2014.

Galatasaray and Benfica were among the eight teams transferring from the UEFA Champions League group stage to the UEFA Europa League.

The second leg will be played Feb. 21 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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