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2015/16 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage
  • Nicolás Gaitán (51')
  • Kostas Mitroglou (62')

Nicolas Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou hand Benfica winning start

Benfica opened their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory over group stage new boys Astana in Lisbon.

Astana - a club only founded six years ago -- became the first Kazakh side to reach the group stages after beating Cypriot side APOEL in last month's play-off round and refused to be overawed at the Estadio da Luz.

They provided resilient opposition in the first half and striker Aleksei Schetkin struck a post from six yards out within seconds of the re-start.

But second-half goals from Nicolas Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou gave Benfica a winning start to their Group C campaign ahead of expected tougher tests against Galatasaray and Atletico Madrid.

Benfica struggled to create openings as the first period drew to a close, although Talisca fired wide from 25 yards and Eric used his feet well to block Oliveira Jonas' shot on the stroke of half-time, but they closed out the victory in comfortable fashion.

Gaitan broke the deadlock after 51 minutes when the Argentine winger broke onto Mitroglou's pass and powered a shot under the body of Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric.

Mitroglou, the Greece striker on loan from Fulham, added a second 11 minutes later when he atoned for an earlier bad miss by tapping home Eliseu's low centre across goal.

Gaitan went close to his second of the night but Eric did well to hold his attempt from 12 yards out.

Astana knew they would have to soak up early Benfica pressure and Eric was forced into a smart second-minute save from Talisca.

Junior Kabananga saw his shot blocked for the visitors but Benfica were dominating possession and Eliseu missed the target when well placed.

Foxi Kethevoama sent a shot across Benfica bows with Astana's first on-target effort but Julio Cesar held his free-kick at the second attempt.

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