Benfica qualified today for the round of 16 of the Football Champions League, by beating Juventus 4-3 at home, in a game for the fifth round of Group H.
It was a dream performance for the Reds, if it weren’t for the three goals conceded, it would have been a perfect night. Benfica dominated Juventus, especially in the first half, with well-executed moves and exchanges, demonstrating synchronization and well-studied work by Roger Schmidt’s pupils.
“In the first 45 minutes we played at the top, it was all well done”, said the German coach in the Flash Interview.
“The creativity and tactics were perfect. We were very pleased with the performance,” he declared. “The first objective was to reach the eighth, and that’s why I’m very relieved. We’re going to try to beat the next one, not only for the record but to reach the first place in the group”, said Schmidt, referring to the 14 points that the Reds can still win in the millionaire league if they win on the last matchday of the group stage.
In a full Estádio da Luz, Lisbon once again hosted a great Champions League night.
The young António Silva opened the scoring in the 17th minute. The 18-year-old center jumped higher than the experienced Juve defenders and scored with a header. But soon after, in the 21st minute, Kean equalized for Juve in a very troubled move that made it difficult to identify the author of the goal. In the 28th minute, João Mário once again put the Reds ahead, through a penalty and Rafa Silva, the man of the game, at 35 minutes increased the lead before the break.
In the second half, Rafa scored twice (he was very close to the hat-trick) making it 4-1, in the 50th minute, leaving the fans in total euphoria.
“Not so much for the hat-trick, but for killing the game”, Rafa said in Flash about the move in which he could have scored the third goal but hit the post.
From the 75th minute, it was Juventus’ turn to take control of the game. Milik made it 4-2, in the 77th minute, and McKennie reduced the deficit in the 79th minute.
The Reds, who remain unbeaten this season, now have 11 points, the same as Paris Saint-Germain, who leads the ‘poule’, with Juventus being third with three, the same as Maccabi Haifa.