Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Benfica's early mistakes costs them game in Champions League

Benfica Blog
In a shocking turn of events, Benfica suffered a devastating 2-0 defeat in their opening Champions League game at home to RB Salzburg. The Portuguese giants were left reeling after conceding two penalties and receiving a red card within the first fifteen minutes of the match.

The game started with high hopes for Benfica, as they aimed to make a strong statement in front of their passionate home crowd. However, their dreams quickly turned into a nightmare when RB Salzburg was awarded not one, but two penalties early on. The second resulting in the sending off of defender Antonio Silva at the twelve minute mark due to a handled ball in front of his own goal.

Salzburg striker Karim Konate missed the clubs first attempt from the penalty spot, with a woeful effort that sailed over the bar but his strike partner Roko Simic made no mistake just ten minutes from the same spot, not only giving Salzburg the early lead but Benfica were now down to just ten men.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Benfica showed resilience and fought valiantly throughout the match in hopes of finding an equalizer and may have done so, if not for the superb goaltending of Salzburg keeper Alexander Schlager who turned away six great scoring chances by the time the night had concluded.

Salzburg would double their lead just six minutes into the second half with a bizarre four in on the keeper break that saw 19 year old midfielder Oscar Gloukh find the meshing, as a handful of Benfica's backline were caught out of position looking for an equalizer that became more and more daunting as the game progressed.

This defeat serves as a wake-up call for Benfica and highlights areas that need improvement. Defensive discipline must be addressed urgently to avoid similar catastrophes in future matches. Additionally, maintaining composure under pressure is crucial for success at this level of competition.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt is not immune to some blame as he continues to baffle fans with his continued use of midfielder Fredrik Aursnes at left back, a move which provides the club with very little attack from that side of the field. 

Also his slow reaction to make changes at the half was on full display in Salzburg's second goal as the players looked gassed and out of position and when he did make substitutions, they were merely like for like and came with no tactical change.

The loss at the Luz is Benfica's second home loss in a row in the Champions League dating back to last season's quarter-final defeat to Inter Milan.

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