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Club Brugge 0-2 Benfica: Visitors ease to first-leg victory in Champions League round of 16

Benfica will take a two-goal advantage back to Lisbon after João Mário's penalty and a cool finish from David Neres earned a comfortable win at Club Brugge.

Highlights: Club Brugge 0-2 Benfica

Roger Schmidt's Benfica took a major step towards the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals following a 2-0 victory against Club Brugge in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.

Key moments

5': Buchanan forces Vlachodimos save
: Rafa Silva strikes outside of post
: Hendry fells Gonçalo Ramos in box
: João Mário spot kick beats Mignolet
: Sub Neres fires late second

Match in brief: Strong showing from Schmidt's side

João Mário keeps his cool to give Benfica the lead
João Mário keeps his cool to give Benfica the leadGetty Images

The home side began the brighter and nearly took the lead with barely five minutes on the clock thanks to Tajon Buchanan's burst of pace down the left. However, visiting keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos was alert to the danger once the winger had cut into the area.

The Eagles took their time to regroup but ended the first period strongly, Rafa Silva's improvised half-volley with the outside of his foot striking the upright on the half-hour.

The visitors continued in the same vein after the restart and when Gonçalo Ramos was sent tumbling by Jack Hendry's outstretched leg, João Mário somehow squeezed the resultant penalty into the net via a combination of Simon Mignolet and the woodwork.

The Blauw-Zwart had little answer and failed to test the visiting defence further. The task for Scott Parker's group in the return fixture was made tougher with just two minutes remaining.

Substitute David Neres capitalised on hesitation in the Belgian side's back line before applying a cool finish low into the far corner.

As it happened: Club Brugge 0-2 Benfica

PlayStation® Player of the Match: Fredrik Aursnes (Benfica)

"Aursnes is such a good technician in midfield. He made excellent, probing forward runs and was integral in all of Benfica's dangerous attacks."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Player of the Match: Fredrik Aursnes highlights

Alyssa Saliou, Club Brugge reporter

Club Brugge started well, looking nothing like the team whose engine has spluttered in recent weeks. However, Benfica took control before the break and dominated after taking the lead, with the visitors looking the stronger team. Lang and Buchanan were bright spots for the Blauw-Zwart, but Scott Parker's men continue to experience problems scoring. The late goal will make what was already an uphill task in Portugal all the more difficult.

Carlos Machado, Benfica reporter

Benfica confirmed their role as favourites for the tie by putting themselves firmly in the driving seat. The visitors were always the better side and surprisingly failed to convert their dominance into goals in the first period. Shortly after the restart, João Mário got the breakthrough the Eagles deserved. With Vlachodimos largely a spectator in the second half, Neres made the tie more comfortable with a neat finish in the closing stages.

Aursnes: 'A very good result'


João Mário, Benfica goalscorer, to Eleven Sports: "It was important to win this away game against a strong team. We played a great game; we scored two goals, but it's only the first half. To be honest I got lucky [with the penalty], but it's part of football. The most important thing was to win, and that goal made us want to look for the second. We should be congratulated because it was very difficult today."

Chiquinho, Benfica midfielder, speaking to Eleven Sports: "We're very pleased. We knew it was going to be a difficult game and we didn't start very well, but after 15 minutes we took over. We had several opportunities and in the end we are rightful winners. It is a very important victory. The first leg is done, but the second game will not be easy – we have to focus on that."

Joleon Lescott, BT Sport

"This is an impressive result away from home, and an impressive performance as well. Benfica might be disappointed they didn't get more goals, they created a lot of opportunities. But a 2-0 result away from home will have been just what they were looking for."

Roger Schmidt, Benfica coach, speaking to Eleven Sports: "When you play the first leg of a tie away from home and win, it's a very good first step. We're at the halfway point of the tie. We showed today that we believe in ourselves."

Scott Parker, Club Brugge head coach: "Naturally a 2-0 defeat isn't something you can be happy with, but I have seen a lot of positives in this game, especially the first 20 minutes. We showed bravery with the ball. After five weeks of coaching them, I'm finally seeing what I was looking for. But little mistakes lost us this game tonight."

Parker analyses Club Brugge's defeat

Key stats

  • João Mário struck his 17th goal of the campaign across all competitions – and his ninth from the penalty spot.
  • The penalty made João Mário the first Benfica player to score in four successive UEFA Champions League appearances.
  • João Mário struck his fifth goal in this season's competition – only Darwin Núñez (six in 2021/22) has hit more for Benfica in a UEFA Champions League campaign.
  • David Neres has struck twice in his six Champions League appearances for the Eagles, as many goals as he managed in 13 with Ajax.
  • Benfica secured three successive victories in this competition for the first time since the 2005/06 campaign, under Ronald Koeman.
  • Club Brugge have failed to score in their last four UEFA Champions League matches.

Fantasy star performers

Alexander Bah - 9 points
João Mário - 8 points
Fredrik Aursnes - 7 points
Alejandro Grimaldo - 7 points

What's next?

The second leg takes place at the Estádio do SL Benfica in Lisbon on 7 March (21:00 CET).


Club Brugge: Mignolet; Mata, Hendry, Mechele, Meijer; Odoi (Nielsen 65), Onyedika; Buchanan, Vanaken, Sowah (Jutglà 79); Lang

Benfica: Vlachodimos; Bah, António Silva, Otamendi, Grimaldo; Florentino, Chiquinho; Aursnes, João Mário (João Neves 90), Rafa Silva (Neres 65); Gonçalo Ramos (Gonçalo Guedes 65)