The result temporarily lifted CSKA into second place in Group A before Basel reclaimed the spot with a 1-0 win over Manchester United later Wednesday. United leads with 12 points, and Basel and CSKA are both on nine points. Basel is second with a superior head-to-head record.
For CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, the win marked the end of an 11-year wait for a shutout in the Champions League proper. "We played well today, really well organized and good on the counter," CSKA midfielder Alan Dzagoev said.
CSKA started with three up front, including midfielder Pontus Wernbloom as a makeshift forward. CSKA took the lead in the 13th minute when Bibras Natkho picked up a clearance from the Benfica box and fed it through to Shchennikov, who appeared to be offside. The left back scored with a calm finish.
Benfica missed a good chance to hit back almost immediately when Jonas fired a shot wide, while at the other end Dzagoev forced an acrobatic save from Benfica goalkeeper Bruno Varela. CSKA made it 2-0 in the 56th when a cross by Vitinho was deflected into the net off defender Jardel's thigh.
Vitinho missed good chances to score a second, while Akinfeev saved a free-kick by Jonas to prevent a Benfica comeback.