Benfica 4-3 Juventus: Rafa double condemns Bianconeri to Champions League exit


Benfica sealed a spot in the Champions League’s last 16 with a thrilling 4-3 win over Juventus, sending the visitors out in the group stage.

Juventus were condemned to a humiliating UEFA Champions League exit by a 4-3 loss at Benfica on Wednesday, as Rafa Silva’s brace helped the outstanding hosts seal their own place in the last 16.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side arrived at the Estadio da Luz needing a win to stay in contention in Group C, but were clearly second best after Dusan Vlahovic canceled out Antonio Silva’s opener.

Benfica took a 3-1 lead into half-time when Rafa added to Joao Mario’s penalty with a famous backheel, and the winger doubled another superb goal after the break.

Late efforts from Arkadiusz Milik and Weston McKennie ensured a grandstand finish but it was too little, too late for Juventus as Roger Schmidt’s men held firm.

It was no surprise when Juventus fell behind after a slow start when 18-year-old Silva met Enzo Fernandes’ encouraging cross to beat Wojciech Szczesny after 17 minutes.

The visitors equalized against the run of play when VAR overturned an offside call against Vlahovic four minutes later, but there was no such reprieve when Juan Cuadrado was clumsily handled in his own area after 28 minutes.

Joao Mario picked out the top-left corner from the spot to restore Benfica’s lead, then turned provider to parry Rafa’s finish seven minutes later as the hosts threatened to run riot.

Rafa needed just five minutes to double his tally after the restart when he slotted another cultivated finish past Szczesny after latching on to Alejandro Grimaldo’s through ball.

Juventus then gave themselves hope with a quickfire double; first with Milik volleying home Samuel Iling-Junior before McKennie converted after a goal scramble with 11 minutes remaining.

However, Benfica missed their best chance to finish as Rafa crashed onto the post as the home side celebrated a famous win.

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