Benfica 4-3 Juventus: Old Lady knocked out of Champions League

Mitch Wilks
Benfica thrashed Juventus
Benfica thrashed Juventus / Octavio Passos/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

A dismal first-half display couldn't be corrected by a late flurry as Benfica held on to beat Juventus in a seven-goal thriller in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The all-action 4-3 affair ensures Benfica's place in the knockout stages of the competition and maintains their unbeaten start to the season.

Meanwhile, a nightmare start for Juve set the tone for another dismal evening. They fell behind after 17 minutes when Antonio Silva headed Benfica into a deserved lead, but fought back quickly to draw level through Moise Kean some four minutes later.

From then on, the game descended into chaos. After Kean's goal was eventually given by VAR, the referee then awarded the hosts a penalty after 26 minutes for a handball against Juan Cuadrado. Joao Mario made sure not to miss from the spot to restore Benfica's lead, while Massimiliano Allegri's side crumbled.

Two became three just shy of 10 minutes later when Mario turned provider and picked out Rafa Silva with a fine cross, who smartly flicked the ball beyond Wojciech Szczesny. The Portuguese side were absolutely dominating and smelt blood against an increasingly fragile Juve.

That domination continued after the break, with Silva breaking through seamlessly, latching onto a through ball and tucking away his second and Benfica's fourth, just five minutes into the second half.

The Old Lady were in serious trouble, facing a Champions League exit in the most embarrassing manner imaginable. A combination of changes for Juve and the tiring legs of Benfica - who were now in cruise control - allowed the Italian side a route back into the game, which they tried their best to exploit.

Substitute Arkadiusz Milik managed to flick a cross beyond Odysseas Vlachodimos with little over 10 minutes to go, inspiring faint hopes of a comeback. And while they hadn't ever looked like a winning side, Weston McKennie's strike just two minutes later suddenly had the deficit back down to one goal.

A frantic climax followed, with Juve fighting tooth and nail to scrape together some kind of result, and Benfica going down the other end and rattling the crossbar. Crucially, Roger Schmidt's side hung on and saw off a late scare, putting them level on points with Paris Saint-Germain in Group H and resigning Juve to a final matchday battle to secure a way into the Europa League.

In order to do that, though, they'll have to better the result of Maccabi Haifa, while hosting PSG in Turin.

facebooktwitterreddit