Benfica have returned to winning ways on the European stage with a historic 3-0 victory against Barcelona at the Estádio da Luz, tonight - their first against the Blaugrana outfit for 60 years.
An early goal from Darwin Nuñez put the pressure on a downbeat Barça, coached by ex-Benfica manager Ronald Koeman, before two further goals in the second half from Rafa Silva and the Uruguayan striker once more gave Jorge Jesus’ men their first UEFA Champions League win of the campaign.
Prior to the heroics in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, FC Porto, much like Sporting before them, fell to a humiliating 5-1 defeat in their first home game of the competition as Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool ran riot at the Estádio do Dragão.
Sporting could do no better, results-wise, although the defeat registered by the Lions was far more conservative this time around, with Donyell Malen marking the difference between the two sides in a 1-0 win for Borussia Dortmund. Here's how the 'Big Three' fared in Matchday 2 and the reaction by the respective coaches.
Benfica 3-0 Barcelona
With ‘the Cules’ struggling for form in a turbulent start to the season, Benfica were keen to capitalise and allay some of their own criticisms on the European stage in a night full of hope and optimism, fueled by an early Darwin goal.
A second for the Lisbon giants, pounced on by Rafa, served as a killer blow to Barcelona in the 69th minute as the visitors braced themselves for a second consecutive defeat.
Darwin’s second goal of the night, via the penalty spot, placed the game beyond any doubt, taking Benfica up to second in the group with their first win over Barcelona since the famous European Cup final of 1961.
Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach:
“Nobody thought we could beat Barcelona 3-0, but we, the team, believed we could win. Defensively we were faultless, really strong. Ody didn’t have a save to make apart from dealing with crosses. It was almost perfect. We also had some luck as in the last 15/20 minutes of the first half Barcelona were better than us, but we came out very strong in the second half.
“The team were superb both defending and attacking. Roman and Rafa, whenever we hit Barcelona on the counterattack, were really strong. Now we’ll think about Portimonense because our big goal is to win the Portuguese championship.”
FT Benfica 3-0 Barcelona pic.twitter.com/ysrZE4CUqz— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) September 29, 2021
FC Porto 1-5 Liverpool
In their first home outing in the Champions League, Porto were hoping to build on the draw attained away to Atlético Madrid against a potent Liverpool side. The night set itself up to be one to forget for the young Diogo Costa, however, looking like a sorry figure as the Reds raced to a 3-0 lead coming into the half-time break.
Mehdi Taremi pulled a goal back for the Dragons in the 74th minute before a quick-fire double from Roberto Firmino concluded a damning 5-1 defeat for the Portuguese outfit.
Sérgio Conceição, Porto coach:
“We were not at all aggressive and made mistakes in crucial areas. We knew the strength and the verticality with which Liverpool attack, and we can’t make those mistakes. So many things were wrong and I’m the main person responsible. We must do much more and much better.
“Even the youth side, who today drew with Liverpool, would have done a better job than we did today. But it was me who didn’t get my message across, and I got the starting line-up wrong, for sure. I have to understand if the players are listening to the coach or not. Like this it’s going to be difficult to carry on and I’m talking about the domestic competitions.”
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Sporting
Sporting had a chance to make amends for their home upset against Ajax in their travels to Germany, but would have to overcome group-favourites Dortmund in order to do so.
The Lions put on a brave face against the Bundesliga side before Malen eventually broke the deadlock for the hosts in a clinical move in behind the Sporting backline, less than ten minutes before the break.
Rúben Amorim’s men were unable to avoid clocking up a second consecutive defeat, placing them bottom with Besiktas in the group, but the fresh-faced manager was quick to point to his youthful side’s inexperience on the European stage.
Rúben Amorim, Sporting coach:
“We took more risks at the end, but after the abnormal result in the first round of matches, the team did well in this game. But we could have done better. We could have scored right at the start, we showed more capacity, but we lack weight in European competitions. We’ll improve in the future.
“Our fans have served as an example. They help us in every game, and they were here in great numbers. We want to show them we are a good team, more than the results, so that everyone can be proud of this team.”
By Patrick Ribeiro