Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Benfica fall behind early and can't recover in loss to Lyon

Benfica Blog
Benfica traveled to France to face Lyon just two weeks after earning their first victory in their Champions League campaign against the same French side but the club fell behind early and could not recover losing 3-1. This was Benfica's third loss in four contests, making their outlook for progression to the Champions League round of 16 less likely. Bruno Lage continued to tinker with his starting lineup dressing a squad with an average age of 22.7 years for the contest while regular starters Pizzi, Andre Almeida and Seferovic watched from the sidelines. Benfica President Luis Filipe Vieira's Champions League plan for the club may be to show off the academies developing players then actually trying to win contests, which is disappointing for the legion of the clubs fans across the globe who have watched smaller sides like Ajax and Monaco make runs over the last few years.

Lyon would open the scoring quick just four minutes into the game when a Dubois cross landed in between Benfica keeper Vladchodimos and his defenders, Lyon center back Andersen would get a head on it, thumping the ball into the back of the net to give Lyon the lead. Aouar would then send a cross towards goal at the twelve minute mark and as Vladchodimos rushed off his line to punch it clear he collided with center back Ferro, knocking the youngster out of the game with what appeared to be a concussion, Ferro was attended to by the medical staff and taken off on a 
stretcher, he was replaced by veteran Jardel. Lyon would then get a chance to double their lead halfway through the first half as Aouar found Dembele but the striker's touch was too heavy and Vladchodimos was there to claim the ball.

Benfica would get their first real scoring chance of the game when a Gedson left footed effort from inside the box was shot wide of the target. Gedson would get another chance on goal at the 32nd mark of the half but his shot was blocked and Grimaldo's rebound attempt would go over the bar. Lyon then would get on the attack and it was Aouar once again who would go down the left side of the field, centering the ball to Depay who would make no mistake and double Lyon's lead to 2-0. Lyon continued to attack Benfica down the left side of the field as their game plan seemed to be to attack young right back Tomas Tavares causing the youngster fits for most of the half. Benfica would finally get their first shot on goal in additional time when Chiquinho's effort was parried away but Lyon keeper Lopes.

The start of second half would see Benfica bring in striker Seferovic for Gedson as the Swiss striker would be paired up front with Carlos Vinicius dropping Chiquinho to the wide right of the attack. Aouar though would continue his assault on youngster Tavares, picking out Dubois in space on the right but his effort would be easily handled by Vladchodimos. Tavares would then contribute to the attack when his pass to Seferovic would see the striker blast a shot to the near post that extended Lopes for the save. Benfica would then nearly cut the lead in half at the 67th minute as Gabriel and Seferovic would link up but Gabriel's break in attempt would go just wide of the left post. Lyon got a chance to add to their lead as a Tousart shot would be stopped by Vladchodimos but the keeper could not hold onto the ball and just got to the rebound before midfielder Reine-Adelaide. Benfica would finally bring in midfielder Pizzi at the 73rd minute replacing Franco Cervi and Pizzi would not take much time to make his presence felt sending a long ball to a breaking Seferovic and the Swiss striker would hammer the ball to the bottom right corner cutting Lyon's lead in half at the 76th minute. The flag was up for offside but after a VAR review the goal stood and Benfica was back in the game. Aouar's dominance of the left side of the field keep on and if not for Vladchodimos coming off the line to make a save point blank Lyon would have restored their two goal lead but that is what they would do when just one minute from added time, Traore would cut inside his marker and pick out the bottom left corner making the score 3-1 as the final whistle approached. Benfica will now travel to Germany to face group leader RB Leipzig on November 27 needing nothing short of a victory.

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