Barcelona suffer ANOTHER humiliating Champions League defeat as Benfica secure memorable 3-0 win in Lisbon to pile more pressure on Ronald Koeman
- Barcelona have lost both their Champions League games 3-0
- Koeman first Barca manager to lose both opening games in Champions League
- Catalans failed to register a single shot on goal against Benfica
- Barcelona already six points adrift of Bayern Munich in Group E
Barcelona have lost their first two group matches in the Champions League for the first time ever. Their goal average reads 6-0 against. And the calls for Ronald Koeman to go have reached crescendo levels.
Back in Lisbon where they were beaten 8-2 last year by Bayern Munich this was perhaps a new low, although its hard to tell exactly how far down they have now set the bar for their European performances.
Luuk de Jong missed two open goals, Gerard Pique was in danger of being sent off in the first half before he was taken off on the half hour. Eric Garcia was awful before he was dismissed late on.
Ronald Koeman is the first Barca manager to lose his first two Champions League games
Koeman’s side are now bottom of Group E with zero points after two games played
Barcelona had improved at the weekend with a 3-0 win but Ronald’s renaissance last all of two minutes.
That was all the time Darwin Nunez needed bamboozle the pedestrian Eric Garcia with a couple of step-overs, cutting inside from left and shoot right footed past Marc Andre ter Stegen at his near post.
With Pedri back in midfield there was a response of sorts and his pass to Frenkie De Jong should have ended in the equalizer on 10 minutes but he rolled the ball to his namesake and countryman and Luuk de Jong failed to bury the chance allowing Benfica to clear.
Barcelona continued to wobble at the back and Pique was booked for his first late challenge. When his next foul had the Benfica supporters demanding red Koeman took swift action. The club captain was taken off and replaced by 17-year-old midfield Gavi.
Barca last failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League in 2000-01
Memphis Depay struggled up front as Barcelona failed to register a single shot on target
Pedri (left) lost the ball in midfield in the lead-up to Benfica’s opening goal after three minutes
Koeman moved Frenkie de Jong into Pique’s central defensive position. He had already moved Eric Garcia to the left of the back three to save him from the runs of Darwin.
Benfica’s talisman came close to getting a second at the start of the second half. First he shot just wide having strayed offside.
Then he hit the post from distance after Ter Stegen had come charging out of his area level with the centre-circle but failed to reach the ball first.
Eric Garcia was booked as his miserable night continued but Pedri then drew a Benfica yellow when Rafa Silva was booked.
The former Manchester City defender was tying with Luuk de Jong for Barça’s worst player and both appeared at the back post failing to turn a loose ball over the line after Ronald Araujo had headed the ball down in the six yard box.
Their blushes were saved by the offside flag.
Dawid Nunez scored twice as Benfica recorded a famous 3-0 win over Barcelona
The Portuguese side are now second in the table in Group E, two points behind Bayern Munich
Benfica (3-4-3): Vlachodimos; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Lazaro (Gilberto Junior 45), Weigl, Joao Mario, Grimaldo (Almeida 75); Rafa Silva (Pizzi 86), Yaremchuk (Taarabt 75), Nunez (Ramos 86)
Coach: Jorge Jesus
Subs: Everton, Meite, Pinho, Radonjic, Leite, Fernandes
Goals: Nunez 3, 79 (pen), Rafa Silva 69
Booked: Otamendi, Rafa Silva, Grimaldo, Weigl
Barcelona (3-5-2): Ter Stegen; Garcia, Pique (Gavira 33), Araujo; Sergi Roberto (Mingueza 89), Frenkie de Jong, Busquets (Gonzalez 68), Pedri (Coutinho 68), Dest; Memphis, Luuk de Jong (Ansu Fati 69)
Coach: Ronald Koeman
Subs: Puig, Demir, Neto, Lenglet, Umtiti, Pena
Booked: Pique, Garcia, Dest, Gonzalez
Sent off: Garcia
Luuk de Jong was taken off on 67 minutes with Ansu Fati coming on as part of a triple change that also saw Philippe Coutinho replace Pedri and Nico replacing Sergio Busquets.
But where Barcelona’s number 10 provoked an immediate Barça goal at the weekend this time Ansu still hadn’t touched the ball and Benfica had doubled their lead.
Joao Mario swapped passes with Yaremchuk and when Ter Stegen blocked, the ball ran to Rafa Silva who scored.
With 13 minutes left Sergino Dest dangled out a hand in front of Gilberto’s header and referee Daniele Orsato gave a penalty which Darwin rolled into the right-hand corner as Ter Stegen dived the other way.
All that was left was for Eric Garcia to pick up a second yellow for holding back Julian Weigl.
‘We have to be realistic. At the moment with the changes we are making in the team, it is difficult to be at the level of the big teams in Europe,’ Koeman had said pre-game.
It’s one thing to admit you are no longer kings of Europe. It’s another to accept losses like this one and the finger is pointing at the coach. ‘We all have are share of the responsibility,’ said Busquets. ‘But the situation is critical.’