PARIS, France, July 28 – Benfica claimed a 2-0 win over Trabzonspor in the Champions League third qualifying round first leg, piling on more misery for the Turkish game which is embroiled in a corruption scandal.
The Portuguese side, twice winners of the tournament, on Wednesday dominated the tie but had to wait until the 71st minute to open their account when debutant Nolito, recently signed from Barcelona, found the target.
Nicolas Gaitan added the second two minutes from time to give the Portuguese a two-goal cushion to defend in next Wednesday’s second leg.
Tranzonspor, who finished runners-up in the Turkish league last season, went into the game having been implicated in the massive match-fixing scandal that has rocked the country and which has also taken in champions Besiktas and another of the country’s biggest clubs, Fenerbahce.
Sadri Sener, the president of Trabzonspor, was arrested but released on condition that he remains in Turkey.
Some 30 people have been charged and jailed pending trial month as part of the investigation while, earlier this week, the start of the new league season was put back by a month.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Greek side Panathinaikos, who played in the group stages last season, were held 1-1 at Danish side Odense.
Sebastian Leto gave the Greeks the lead early in the second half before the home side levelled in injury time thanks to a header from centre-back Tore Reginiussen.
In Trondheim, Vaclav Pilar gave Czech champions Viktoria Plzen, playing in Europe for the first time in 39 years, a 1-0 advantage over Rosenborg.
FC Copenhagen, who reached the round of 16 last season, edged Irish side Shamrock Rovers 1-0 with Solvi Ottesen scoring with a fourth-minute header.
HJK Helsinki lost 2-1 at home to Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb, Israel’s Maccabi Haifa defeated Maribor of Slovenia 2-1 while Standard Liege of Belgium and Swiss opponents FC Zurich ended 1-1.
The second legs of the third qualifying round take place next week with the winners advancing to the play-off round.