Benfica are through to the next round of the UEFA Champions League after pairing Barcelona’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich with a 2-0 victory at home against Dynamo Kyiv, this Wednesday.
The Eagles needed results to go their way in both Group E fixtures to overtake Barça, sitting two points ahead going into the final games.
As Jorge Jesus’ men raced to a 2-0 lead at the Estádio da Luz against Dynamo Kyiv, Bayern Munich did their bit against the Culés, putting three goals past the Catalan outfit to send Benfica and the Germans through.
Benfica’s Champions League campaign was already deemed a success by their manager Jesus, pre-game, for merely remaining competitive against the likes of Bayern and Barça, but the pressures on the veteran manager demanded more as they sought qualification with a win against Dynamo.
The task seemed very doable after Roman Yaremchuk placed the Eagles 1-0 up in the 16th minute, tapping home against his countrymen following a João Mário cutback.
Benfica’s advantage was doubled soon after in the 22nd minute, as one of the more improbable names, Gilberto, picked up a loose ball fed back into the Dynamo area to finish past the goalkeeper in the 22nd minute.
As the Lisbon giants protected their two-goal advantage, Bayern held up their end of the bargain with a 3-0 victory at the Allianz Arena, enabling Benfica to go a point ahead of Barcelona, who in turn see themselves eliminated from the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2000.
Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach:
“We played spectacularly well in the qualifiers and the group phase. We played 10 matches, won 5, drew 3 and lost 2. Who to? To Bayern, the strongest team in the world.
“Today the whole world looking at the Champions League is going to realise that Barcelona are out, and the club that knocked them out was Benfica. That’s very good in international terms, and helps recover the status that we want to have. We are among the 16 best teams in the world.”
Benfica joined Sporting in booking their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League, with FC Porto unlucky not to make it a Portuguese trio. Attention will now turn to the round-of-sixteen draw, including teams that would provide a daunting task to the Lisbon clubs. To have a flutter on either or both of them making further progress check out Helpbet’s new betting sites for the best odds.
Possible opponents for Benfica: Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Lille, Juventus
Possible opponents for Sporting: Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Lille, Juventus
By Patrick Ribeiro