MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Oscar Cardozo bagged a brace as Benfica beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 in the Champions League, but both teams’ chances of qualifying remain remote.
Cardozo transformed the match after coming off the bench at half-time, and could have scored a hat-trick from the penalty spot, but hit the bar.
With Celtic stunning group leaders Barcelona 2-1 in Wednesday’s other game in Group G, both Spartak and Benfica are left with onerous paths to the knockout stages.
Benfica are third in the group with two games remaining, three points behind second-placed Celtic, and must now beat Celtic and gain at least a point against Barcelona, while fourth-placed Spartak must beat both of the top two teams and hope other results go their way.
Cardozo scored his first on 55 minutes with a bouncing header through goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov’s legs off a Lorenzo Melgarejo cross.
Cardozo then made it two 14 minutes later when he stretched to volley in Ola John’s cross, just minutes after himself hitting the woodwork.
The Paraguayan surged into the Spartak box soon afterwards but was cut down by Nicolas Pareja’s sliding challenge from behind.
Pareja promptly became the second Spartak player to be sent off in three European games before Rebrov directed Cardozo’s shot onto the bar with the slightest of touches.
Benfica enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but Spartak created plenty of chances that only good goalkeeping from Artur and uninspired shooting, especially from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, managed to thwart.