Benfica escaped late drama to win 4-3 at Estadio da Luz and progress to the Round of 16, while Juventus are out of the UEFA Champions League.

Rafa Silva stole the show with a superb brace as Benfica edged Juventus 4-3 in an absolute goal-fest at Estadio da Luz on Tuesday to secure a place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League and crush the Italian giants’ faint hopes of qualifying for the next round in this year’s competition.

The 4-3 scoreline perhaps shadowed the cracks in yet another dreadful night for Juventus, as defeat in Lisbon has officially dropped them out of the Champions League. And, on current form, the Bianconeri will do well to beat off even Israeli minnows Maccabi Haifa for the third spot and Europa League football.

On the backfoot from the opening whistle, it took just 17 minutes for Juventus to show signs of crumbling again when Antonio Silva scored his first professional goal to put the hosts in front. But Juventus drew level when Moise Kean got the ball into the back of the net soon after.

Just moments after equalising, Juventus conceded again via a Joao Mario penalty after a Juan Cuadrado handball, which set the pace for a sudden and total collapse. Rafa Silva, whose pace with the ball, sensational close control, and nifty feet were a real cause for concern for the Juventus midfield and defence, produced a superb improvised flick finish from Mario’s cross.

Silva then got on the scoresheet once more with an audacious clip over Wojciech Szczesny to make for a rather humiliating 4-1 scoreline for the visitors. Juventus threatened after making substitutions, with Samuel Iling-Junior making a difference for the Italian outfit.

The ex-Chelsea youth player lit up the pitch with his exuberance and flair and provided an assist for Arkadiusz Milik. Iling-Junior was notably instrumental when Juventus struck one minute later through Weston McKennie to make it 4-3. Benfica, who controlled the game up until that point, looked to be riding their luck late on, with Matias Soule and Federico Gatti both missing golden opportunities to restore parity.

Meanwhile, Juventus have failed to advance from the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2013. In any other timeline, this should definitely be a sackable offence for the manager. But the times are different now, and Juventus are no longer the imperial kings they were back in the day.

Those goals only proved a mere consolation. But in truth, Massimiliano Allegri’s side were long defeated by that point, as they never looked competent enough to even go toe-to-toe against an in-form Benfica, who remain unbeaten in all competitions this season. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Allegri’s men after what was yet another lacklustre display.

Wojciech Szczesny: 5/10

Szczesny was not necessarily at fault for any of the four goals, as he was frequently exposed by a shaky defence in front of him. But for a goalkeeper of his calibre and high standards, he failed to keep Juventus’s backline organised and did not cover himself in glory. In the second half, he got down well to make a save with his leg. Dismayed at the full-time whistle.

Federico Gatti: 6/10

Federico Gatti, who made his Champions League debut in Lisbon, saw a late header flash wide when he could easily have rescued a draw. But he was also part of the ensuing defensive disaster. The former Frosinone defender made some good interceptions and a team-high six clearances. But he was to blame for the opening goal, as he was easily bullied in the air by Antonio Silva despite boasting a tall frame.

Leonardo Bonucci: 4/10

This sluggish performance was a reminder of his waning physical attributes, command, and slowing down with age. At 35, Bonucci should not be a regular starter in high-tempo games as he struggled to keep up with the intensity. The Italian international made several unforced errors, the most blatant of which led to Benfica’s third goal. He was given a run around by Rafa Silva & co. Hooked off for Sandro early in the second period.

Danilo: 5/10

Danilo has had better days in the office than Tuesday night. The Brazilian looked troubled in dealing with the early pressure from Benfica, often struggling to keep up with their buzzing attackers. On top of his shoddy defensive work, the centre-back probably should have been sent off for the tackle that got him a yellow with studs up straight into his opponent’s legs.

Filip Kostic: 6/10

In the first half, Juventus’s best moves came through Kostic on the left-hand side, who provided a couple of brilliant crosses which had to be dealt with by Benfica. The Serb created four key passes throughout the game. But his teammates, especially Dusan Vlahovic, wasted a couple of the chances he generated.

Adrien Rabiot: 5/10

The Frenchman ran around a lot without any real purpose and mostly made easy square or back passes. The stats sheet reflects that his contributions were nearly non-existent, as he went anonymous for long stretches.

Manuel Locatelli: 6/10

Rodrigo Bentancur had a poor first half. He was not able to offer anything substantial to control the tempo in the middle of the park, but showed grit, and desire and covered every blade of the grass. Locatelli lacked the ideal support to deal with the battle-hardened opposition midfield pivot of Florentino Luis and Enzo Fernandez.

Weston McKennie: 7/10

The American international showed flashes of his ability to make dangerous late runs into the box and had some dazzling moments. But his first touch did not come off every time. Regardless, he did well to capitalise on the rebound and net his team’s third goal to give them a lifeline.

Juan Cuadrado: 6/10

It was a nightmare of a game for Cuadrado, who conceded the penalty which restored the Portuguese side’s advantage. He also lost possession cheaply on a few other occasions and did not really offer much going forward.

Moise Kean: 6/10

Fresh off the back of netting his first Serie A goal of the season against Empoli, Kean managed to get on the scoresheet here as well. His goal came from a corner. The ball was whipped into Vlahovic, but Kean got the final touch over the line to earn a scrappy goal. The Italian striker made little contribution to the build-up before being hooked off for Arkadiusz Milik at half-time.

Dusan Vlahovic: 6/10

Vlahovic looked likely to make a splash in the early exchanges when he linked up beautifully with Kostic. He did grab an assist for his side’s opener. But that was about his only contribution in an otherwise lacklustre and profligate display, as he missed a couple of great opportunities as well.


Samuel Iling Junior: 8/10

After coming off the bench in the Champions League, the Englishman wasted no time in making an immediate impact and was a bright spark on a dark day. Milik scored from his cross to make it 4-2 in what was a rare moment of quality from the visitors, while his persistence on the left flank was also a factor in McKennie’s goal. Talent.

Matias Soule: 6/10

Soule was a menace with his runs, but he still has to work on his finishing as he missed a golden chance to level things up very late in the game.

Arkadiusz Milik: 7/10

It was surprising he did not start this game given his red-hot scoring form. Milik only had one real opportunity after coming on as a substitute, and he took it with both hands with a well-executed volley off Samuel Junior’s floated cross into the box.

Fabio Miretti: 6/10

Miretti brought fresh legs and ideas to the middle of the park. There was a spell where Juventus kept the ball, but a lot of their passes were square, with no progression.

Alex Sandro: 6/10

Sandro was an upgrade on Bonucci as Juventus made fewer mistakes after his introduction, but not quite a game-changer.

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