Benfica 0 Barcelona 0: Moretto mans barricades to defy best of Barca

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Benfica held FC Barcelona to a 0-0 draw Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

The Spanish team controlled much of the match at the Stadium of Light, with Ronaldinho and Mark van Bommel both getting several good chances to score.

Barcelona was awarded an early indirect free kick inside the area after Benfica central defender Anderson stuck out his leg to cut off a pass to Samuel Eto'o and the ball rolled to Benfica goalkeeper Moretto, who picked it up.

The referee deemed that a backpass, but Moretto then dived to his left to keep out Ronaldinho's first strike, and the Brazilian hit the rebound over the bar.

In the 26th minute, Moretto moved to pick up a backpass but, with Ronaldinho bearing down, he skewed his clearance and had to scamper back to keep the ball from spinning to the Brazilian.

Andres Inistea also had a chance to score, slaloming through the Benfica backline for a look at the goal in the 15th. His shot went wide.

Ronaldinho then broke down the left flank and passed to Eto'o, who set up Deco for a point-blank shot that missed the target.

Benfica's best efforts came from long range.

Manuel Fernandes received the ball from winger Simao Sabrosa and fired a shot over the bar, and Beto and Geovanni also tried their luck from far out.

Before halftime, Moretto stuck out a foot to stop Van Bommel's shot after the midfielder had sliced through the Benfica defense, then blocked a short-range shot from Eto'o.

Another sloppy clearance by Moretto before the whistle offered the ball to Van Bommel inside the area. The Dutchman shot wide.

In the second half, Fabrizio Miccoli replaced Laurent Robert and Benfica's attack immediately improved.

But Barcelona hit the woodwork twice in two minutes - first from Henrik Larsson, running into the area to meet a Ronaldinho pass, and then Van Bommel with a header from a corner kick.

Benfica finally found a way through the Barcelona defense when Miccoli and Geovanni tested Victor Valdes from short range in quick succession.

Moretto was soon at full stretch to keep out another attempt from Van Bommel as the visitors maintained the pressure.

In the 80th, Sabrosa snuck behind the Barcelona defense but Valdes rushed out to stop him.

Benfica substitute Giorgos Karagounis then hit the Barcelona post with a free kick from 25 yards.