Bordeaux fall to Rodrigo screamer
By S. Willis
Bordeaux have it all to do in the return leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Benfica after going down 1-0 to a spectacular strike from the Portuguese side's Spanish striker Rodrigo on Thursday night.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
UEFA Europa League, round of 16, first leg
SL Benfica 1 - 0 FC Girondins de Bordeaux
Once again Bordeaux were left ruing their missed chances as they lost narrowly to the Lisbon side, but Francis Gillot's men showed enough in the match - with their solid work ethic and some creative play - to suggest that the tie is far from over.
In what is becoming something of a theme with Bordeaux's matches of late, all Les Girondins were really missing was an in-form striker. Faced with a Benfica side short on inspiration but solid enough in defence, Bordeaux managed to mix it open play but lacked the final touch, as Fahid Ben Khalfallah's anodine shot when clean through with a chance to equalise at the death proved (89').
In fact, the closest Bordeaux came to scoring was when Ludovic Obraniak failed to play his part in a one-two with Nicolas Maurice-Belay and a surprised Benfica 'keeper Artur let the ball slip through his legs and hit the base of the post (15').
While Bordeaux's lack of cutting edge up front kept them off the scoresheet, Benfica's Rodrigo proved that the Portuguese giants have no such problem, opening the scoring with an outrageous shot from the edge of the area that crashed off the underside of the bar and went in off a desperately diving Ceedric Carrasso (21').
Though there was little the France custodian could do on this occasion, he did prove decisive in twice denying Oscar Cardozo - once from a long-range effort (23') and again early in the second from a powerful volley (48').
Unfortunately for Bordeaux, Carrasso's opposite number Artur was also equal to the task, beating away Obraniak's effort just before the break (44') before getting the better of Ben Khalfallah to make sure his side take a narrow one-goal lead into the second leg, to be played in Bordeaux in a week's time.
Apart from the encouraging signs shown on Thursday - and the fact that powerhouse striker Cheick Diabaté should be available for the next match - Bordeaux will be able to rely on their impressive home form in Europe this season, with a record of five wins and a draw from their six continental outings at the Stade Chaban-Delmas this season.