Monday, January 30, 2023

Benfica 3-0 Barcelona: Three Things We Learned

Jamie Jones in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 30 Sep 2021

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Barcelona’s poor start to the season continued on Wednesday evening, as they were hammered 3-0 by Benfica in Champions League Group E away from home in Portugal.

Darwin Nunez opened the scoring for Benfica at at Estádio do SL Benfica in Lisbon after just three minutes when he cut inside and finished low into the near corner.

Rafa Silva made it 2-0 to the Portuguese giants on 69 minutes when he clipped in a second.

Nunez wrapped up the win for Benfica with the third goal from the penalty spot in the 79th minute.

Barcelona ended the match with 10 men after Eric Garcia was sent off for two bookable offences.

Ronald Koeman’s side have now lost their opening two Champions League games, both 3-0, and are now rated third favourites at 25/1 on Betfair to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League from the group.

Below are three things we learned from the match:

Ronald Koeman’s days at Barcelona are numbered

Barcelona started last season slowly, but things picked up under Ronald Koeman. At one stage in La Liga, it did look like that Barca could win the title. But last season, Barcelona had Lionel Messi. Now, they do not. Koeman is really struggling to come up with a way to fill the void left by the Argentine. There is a very good chance that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is not going to give Koeman the entire season. Koeman’s days at Barcelona are numbered.

Gerard Pique is past his prime

Gerard Pique is 34 now, and it is clear that the Spaniard is past his prime. Pique was so bad against Benfica that Koeman decided to take him off after just 30 minutes. Pique needs to be replaced in the Barcelona defence, not just for now, but in the long run as well. Pique is a leader off the pitch and is a big figure in the dressing room, but on the pitch, he is really struggling.

Memphis Depay needs to step up

Memphis Depay was a star signing for Barcelona in the summer transfer window, especially as he arrived as a free agent. The 27-year-old former Manchester United forward scored 20 goals and gave 12 assists in 33 Ligue 1 starts for Lyon last season. Depay has scored three goals and given one assist in six La Liga matches for Barcelona so far this season, but no goals and no assist in two Champions League games is a disappointment. Now, of course, Depay needs service, but he should do better with the chances he has got in the Champions League.


Jamie Jones

Jamie Jones is an experienced football journalist who has been working in the industry for years. Jamie watches all the major leagues in Europe, especially the Premier League and La Liga.



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