Benfica Beat Club Brugge at the Double Away

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Last Updated: February 16, 2023, 07:40 IST

UEFA Champions League:  Benfica beat Club Brugge (AP)

UEFA Champions League: Benfica beat Club Brugge (AP)

Benfica closed in on a place in the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League after easing to a 2-0 victory over Club Brugge

Joao Mario’s second-half penalty and a late goal from David Neres gave Benfica a 2-0 win over Club Brugge in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Belgium on Wednesday, leaving the Portuguese club with a major advantage for next month’s return.

Joao Mario’s 51st-minute spot kick came after Benfica had spurned a host of good opportunities as they dominated the away encounter and ensured they have a lead to defend at home in the return in Lisbon on March 7.

The penalty was awarded after Brugge’s Scottish defender Jack Hendry had brought down Goncalo Ramos in a clumsy challenge.

Neres took advantage of a defensive slip to tuck away the second goal in the 88th minute.

Brugge defender Bjorn Meijer failed to clear and substitute Neres stole in to take possession and score. He had a further effort in the net in stoppage time disallowed for offside.

Joao Mario was among a host of Benfica attackers who missed good chances in the first half as the two-time European Cup winners overcame a good early spell from Club Brugge to set up a series of opportunities.

Ramos and Antonio Silva squandered the best opportunities as they put their headed efforts over the top.

With the crowd in full support, Brugge produced a bright start to the game with both Tajon Buchanan and Noa Lang having efforts blocked in the opening 20 minutes at the Jan Breydel Stadium.

But, after that, the visitors took command and were able to easily cut through the home defence, though they proved poor with their finishing.

Brugge had the ball in Benfica’s net a minute before halftime but Denis Odoi was offside as he got a back-post touch to Lang’s free kick.

The Belgians, under new English coach Scott Parker, were hoping the Champions League would give them a chance to shake off a run of poor domestic form but now face an uphill struggle to stay in the competition.

They won 4-0 at FC Porto in September when they emerged as surprise qualifiers from the group phase and will need a similar shock result to advance to the quarter-finals.

Benfica extended their best-ever unbeaten run in the Champions League to eight matches.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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