Benfica sinks Juve and wins twelfth game in a row

Benfica took their winning streak to 12 games with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Juventus, putting them on a tie with Champions League Group H leader Paris Saint-Germain.

Roger Schmidt’s team have a perfect six points from their first two games after coming back from Arkadiusz Milik’s early opener thanks to a penalty from Joao Mario and David Neres’ attack nine minutes after the break.

The Portuguese front-runners have won every game this season and are already six points ahead of Juve and Maccabi Haifa.

Angers and whistles rang out around the Allianz Stadium after another very disappointing display from Juve, whose coach Massimiliano Allegri will face even more pressure from disgruntled supporters.

Allegri had said the two matches with Benfica would be the key to determining whether Juve would make it to the knockout round and on Wednesday night’s evidence they have taken the job off their hands.

The hosts got off to a flying start via Milik, whose perfectly placed header from a free kick by Leandro Paredes opened the score.

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The Polish forward’s third goal of the season was eerily reminiscent of his last-minute winner against Salernitana at the weekend, which was wrongly labeled as offside, and came after an opening spell from Juve that turned out to be an empty promise.

As the half progressed, Benfica grew in the game and was unlucky not to level in the 39th minute, when Rafa Silva had all the time in the world to crawl into a long-range attempt, which cut the post.

But two minutes before half time they were all square after Fabio Miretti was caught taking down Goncalo Ramos after a VAR check and on-field assessment by referee Felix Zwayer.

Formerly of Juve’s biggest rivals Inter Milan, Joao Mario reveled in the chance to hit home from the dot and then hounded the home fans, who had more reason to be angry after the restart.

Whistles started creeping around the stadium towards halftime and got louder in the 55th minute when, after Rafa Silva’s shot was well saved by Mattia Perin, Neres pulled in from the rebound.

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Juve would have been even further behind had it not been for Perin and Leonardo Bonucci, who both had to be on their best to stop a series of attempts by Benfica’s marauding attackers.

Juve pushed back in the closing stages, Moise Kean hit the post with a deflected attempt before Gleison Bremer somehow struck from close range with three minutes to go.

But that was all Juve could muster and the whistles reached a crescendo as Zwayer ended proceedings and Benfica continued their remarkable streak of results.

AFP

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