Club Brugge 0-2 Benfica: Joao Mario and Neres secure pole position in UCL last-16 tie


Scott Parker’s first Champions League game as a coach ended in defeat as his Club Brugge side lost 2-0 at home to Benfica in the last 16.

Benfica have one foot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after second-half goals from Joao Mario and David Neres saw them beat knockout round debutants Club Brugge 2-0 in Wednesday’s last-16 first leg.

Brugge gifted their visitors two big chances at the Jan Bredel Stadium and were duly punished.

Jack Hendrie’s foul on Goncalo Ramos allowed Joao Mario to score from the spot just six minutes after the restart, with Simon Mignolet only able to push the ball off the crossbar.

Frederik Orsnes, Antonio Silva and Rafa Silva all had chances in the first six minutes of the first half, but Neres was on hand to capitalize on a Bjorn Meijer error in the 88th minute to make sure their miss didn’t prove costly.

Scott Parker – the third English manager to take charge of a non-English team in the Champions League, after Bobby Robson and Gary Neville – had his side’s goal disallowed for offside before the break by Denis Odoi.

But Brugge never did enough to test Benfica, who won a third straight game in the competition for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.

Parker has won just one of his eight games in charge of Brugge, and they face a tough question in the second leg on March 7 as to whether they can go and extend their dream run, especially if Benfica are unbeaten at home in all competitions this season. .

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