Atletico Madrid held out to beat Benfica at the Estadio da Luz and top Champions League Group C.

Saul Niguez opening the scoring at the end of a delightful team move involving Antoine Griezmann and Luciano Vietto, the sides having started the game level on points.

Atletico had to win as they came off worst in the head-to-head record by virtue of Benfica’s 2-1 win at Vicente Calderon, and produced a consummate display to avenge that reverse.

Vietto doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half with a real poacher’s effort, meeting Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco’s cross at the near post.

Diego Simeone went with Vietto as Griezmann’s main attacking partner and had Stefan Savic partnering Diego Godin in defence, with Jose Gimenez on the bench. Benfica meanwhile included midfield starlets Renato Sanchez and Goncalo Guedes.

The opening stages were cagey, with Benfica looking more fluid in attack but not really breaking down the Atletico ranks.

It was though the Benfica goalkeeper Julio Cesar who had to pick the ball out of the net first when Diego Godin met Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco’s cross, but from an offside position.

Saul stung Cesar’s palms shortly after as Atleti came into the game and pushed for the win they need, Gabi doing likewise with a rasping drive.

Juanfran slalomed through the Benfica defence and forced Lisandro Lopez into a stabbed clearance to prevent Vietto converting from close range, before Savic was forced into some last-ditch defending of his own as Pizzi bore down on goal.

There was no stopping the slick move Atleti produced for Saul just after the half-hour, Griezmann feeding Vietto and Vietto cutting back for the unmarked midfielder.

Guedes offered Benfica’s first attempt at a reply with a shot on the turn from outside the penalty area but dragged the effort wide, Atleti hanging on until the interval.

Kostas Mitroglou was introduced at half time and nearly brought Benfica level with his first involvement but it was Atletico who scored next.

Ferreira-Carrasco and Koke linked up down the left and the winger angled a cross to the near post and Vietto got there first, Cesar having gambled at gathering the ball before the forward.

Mitroglou got his goal with 15 minutes to play and induced a nervy last quarter-hour, Benfica peppering Jan Oblak with efforts from range, most notably from the impressive Renato Sanches.

Raul Jimenez nearly bit his former team when he got between Savic and Godin and produced a powerful header that went the wrong side of the post.

Benfica poured red shirts forward but the dark blue Atleti largely soaked up the pressure and held out for a victory that could prove pivotal as the Champions League enters the knockout rounds.

Benfica 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Saul 32, Vietto 55 (AM), Mitroglou 75 (B)

Benfica: Julio Cesar; Andre Almeida, Lisandro Lopez, Jardel, Eliseu; Fejsa, Renato Sanches, Guedes (Mitroglou 46); Gaitan (Carcela-Gonzalez 76), Jonas (Jimenez 61), Pizzi

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Filipe Luis; Saul, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco (Oliver 73); Vietto (Torres 63), Griezmann (Gimenez 91)

Referee: Hategan [ROM]

Tags Benfica