AS Monaco came out looking to take the game to their opponents right from the off, and promptly set up camp in the Benfica half. The first moment of threat came from a Fabinho cross that was cleared by the Portuguese defence (2 mins), before Ocampos looked certain to score with the goal gaping after Berbatov served up the ball on a plate, but a desperately unlucky bounce saw the chance go begging. Dirar then earned a free kick, which Moutinho smashed straight at Artur in the Benfica goal. With a quarter of an hour gone the possession stats were fairly even, but the home side was making all the running and creating all the chances .
Berbatov limps off
After weathering the early Monegasque storm, Benfica began to carve out some opportunities of their own. First Salvio missed the target with a shot in the 20th minute, and then Raggi was forced to throw himself in front of a threatening effort from Pereira (23 mins). There was a hammer blow for AS Monaco just after the half-hour mark, as Berbatov pulled up with a groin strain, with Martial coming on in his place (34 mins). The last chance of the opening period fell to the visitors in the 41st minute, but fortunately Subasic was alert to deny Talisca.
Benfica knock on the door
AS Monaco started the second half like a train and came within a whisker of taking the lead. Dirar sent Martial away into space behind the Benfica defence, but the U21 international's shot across goal skimmed Artur's upright and went behind! Three minutes later, the Portuguese 'keeper was called into action to prevent Moutinho from getting the crucial touch to a Dirar cross. With nearly an hour on the clock Benfica stepped up a gear, Eliseu firing a free kick well over the bar (52 mins), before Subasic reacted smartly to deal with a menacing right-wing cross (54 mins). The Croatian stopper then had Carvalho to thank for averting the danger as Lima shaped to shoot (55 mins). Benfica continued to probe and press, and after Gaitan beat Moutinho in the penalty area, Subasic came to the rescue, pushing away his powerful strike .
Benfica finish the game with ten men
The AS Monaco 'keeper was looking sharp, and he needed to be as he produced a double save in the 65th minute to keep the score nil-nil. The home side then went up the other end and won a corner, which Kondogbia headed wide of the target. On 76 minutes, Lopez saw red for a nasty studs-up challenge on Moutinho. From that point on it was all about damage limitation for Benfica, as AS Monaco dominated the latter stages of the match. Kondogbia (85 mins) and Toulalan both had efforts off target, while Raggi's header flew inches past Artur's left-hand post (90 mins). The last chance of the game fell to Ferreira Carrasco, but his shot was blocked by some last-ditch Benfica defending.
Rematch on 4 November
The result is AS Monaco's second successive goalless draw, and leaves them in second place in Group C, behind Bayer Leverkusen who beat Zenit tonight (2-0). Danijel Subasic had a superb game and fully deserved his clean sheet. Hopefully he can repeat the feat on 4 November, when AS Monaco visit the Estadio da Luz for the return fixture.