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Benfica hold on with 10 men at PSV to reach Champions League

Winners on two occasions Benfica qualified for the Champions League group stage after a goalless draw in the second leg against Eindhoven on Tuesday, despite playing the final hour with ten men.

Following Lucas Verissimo’s red card, the Portuguese team held on after winning the first leg 2-1 last week.

PSV coach Roger Schmidt made six changes from Saturday’s 4-1 league victory over Cambuur, with Ibrahim Sangare of the Ivory Coast replacing the injured Davey Propper in midfield.

Schmidt’s counterpart Jorge Jesus rewarded left-back Alejandro Grimaldo with a starting berth after he scored in the weekend’s victory at Gil Vicente.

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A tight opening half an hour was sparked into life by Verissimo’s red card.

After elbowing Cody Gakpo as the two attempted to head the ball, the centre-back was given a second yellow card.

Noni Madueke had PSV’s greatest chance of the first half, but his curling attempt went just wide of the far post.

Schmidt’s team continued to dominate after the interval, but despite loud home support, they were unable to break down the Portuguese defense.

The hosts finally broke through on the hour, but experienced Israel striker Eran Zahavi’s half-volley at the back post blasted the crossbar.

PSV were unable to beat Benfica’s tenacious goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos despite controlling possession and having shots on target from Andre Ramalho, Sangare, and two substitute Yorbe Vertessen.

In other matches, Swiss champions Young Boys defeated Hungarian champions Ferencvaros 6-4.

Despite losing 2-1 in Bulgaria, Malmo entered the top-tier competition’s group rounds with a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Ludogorets.

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