Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Benfica blows a tire in loss to Zenit in Champions League

Benfica Blog
Benfica's Champions League struggles continue as they drop another decision in their second group game 3-1 away to Russian side Zenit. Benfica who have won only four games out of their last twenty Champions League group games, really stunk up the joint in this one. The game started with a chance for each side in the first two minutes of the game before the clubs slowed the tempo down for the next 15 minutes. Pizzi would then break out on the left wing but his shot attempt would go right into the arms of Zenit keeper Lunev. A sloppy clearance from Vlachodimos to Fejsa just a couple minutes later would see Zenit open up the scoring as Dzyuba's low shot from an Ozdoev steal sent the striker in alone for the finish. Taarabt would then force Lunev to make another stop as Benfica looked for the equalizer. Zenit's defensive strategy had Benfica's lone striker in the game Seferovic isolated for the majority of the half, while Zenit continued to carve Benfica up and down the right side of the field until the half time whistle.

The second half saw Zenit get a chance to double the lead right off the whistle but Azmoun's shot was defended by Vlachodimos. Dzyuba would have Zenit's next chance as his looping header had Vlachodimos back peddling to make the save. Benfica would then make a double change at the hour mark with Vinicius and Caio Lucas coming in for Pizzi and Fejsa. Zenit though would double their lead when a Karavaev cross towards the back post was bundled by Ruben Dias for an own goal at the 70th minute. Zenit would make it 3-0 just eight minutes later as striker Azmoun would stay onside and round Vlachodimos for a tap in into an empty net. Benfica would get one back when substitute Raul de Tomas would intercept a cheaply cleared ball from the Zenit defense and score a golaco from outside the box for his first goal in Benfica colours but that was as close as the Lisbon would come. Benfica will next play Lyon on October 23 at home as they look for their first win of the campaign and manager Bruno Lage will need to stop coaching this squad like he is Rui Vitoria 2.0, only time will tell.

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