Bayern carried with them a goal advantage, thanks to the tremendous form of Arturo Vidal assisting Bayern once more as he scored early in the first leg to give his team the lead. The first leg was unflattering on Pep Guardiola’s teams’ behalf, despite controlling the game; the hosts seemed unable to find the rhythm of the game, as did their visitors. However, scoring nine in their previous two home games in the league, Benfica sparked a lifeline among supporters as they welcomed the German champions.
The game started almost as what can only be described as a Bayern Munich training session in possession. The Bavarians controlled the game from front to back, leaving Benfica chasing the game at home. The problem for Bayern, which has been evident in their previous Bundesliga games, they appeared to be unable to build an attack concluding with a goal or a goal scoring opportunity.
Their first real chance of the game came in the 22nd minute, Thiago skipping past his marker and lobbing the ball onto the head of Vidal, who knocked the ball into the hands of Ederson. Bayern continued to control the game, but came no closer to scoring. Douglas Costa unsurprisingly being the key that could unlock the Benfica defence, beating his defender on several occasions, and dropping back to build from the back.
Benfica shock Bayern
Considering the path in which the game was taking, it was extremely surprising to see Benfica unlock the game, as they opened the scoring to level out the tie. The goal came completely against the run of play; the Bayern defence caught napping as Eliseu produced a glorious ball whipped onto the head of Jimenez who flicked his header into the empty net
Questions must be asked over the positioning of Manuel Neuer, who appeared to be closer to the head of Alaba than the ball. Minutes later, Jimenez was in the box once more, the Mexican striker latched onto a low driven ball from the right, however was unable to release the ball from under his feet, scuffing his shot into the hands of Neuer.
The crucial away goal
Shortly after Benfica’s attack on goal, Bayern bounced back and got the tie defining away goal, and what a goal to mark it with. The scorer in the first leg, Vidal, produced a spectacular finish as he arrived on the edge of the box.
The chance arrived through the attacking awareness of Thomas Muller, the German beating his defender on the right side of the pitch, and cutting the ball back across goal. The ball was semi cleared by the Benfica defence, until the ball reached Vidal who lashed the ball into the roof of the net on the half volley, before the Benfica back line could reset and reorganise.
Several minutes later, the Chilean was back in front of goal again. This time, the ball came from Alonso, which was controlled impeccably by Vidal inside the box, the flag went up for offside before the midfielder snatched his shot over the bar.
The finish was forgiven, as Bayern drew more blood from Benfica, scoring a second away goal. Alonso the creator again, his corner was expertly knocked across goal by Javi Martinez and into the path of Muller who made no mistake in scoring from less than five yards, taking the game from Benfica’s grasp.
As stated earlier, Douglas Costa was the danger man for Benfica to deal with tonight.
The wideman causing further problems for the home defence as he linked onto a perfectly weighted play-switching pass from Alonso, unfortunately for the Brazilian, his first touch was too heavy as Ederson collected the ball from his feet before he could unleash a shot.
Costa was back once more for Bayern minutes later, as he sprinted through the Benfica half, completely unmarked. Shaking off a defender in the box, he eventually drove a low shot towards the far post, clipping the post and deflecting the ball wide. Desperately close from the young winger.
Bayern almost got their third of the game as Muller and Vidal combined once again, Muller cutting the ball back to Vidal however the weak shot was collected by Ederson, only to be spilled from the young keepers’ hands and out for a corner.
Benfica surprised the visitors for the second time in the game, after a foul by Martinez on Guedes; there was protest from the home team as the Spanish defender seemed to bring down the last man, therefore denying a goal scoring opportunity.
The queries were dismissed by referee Bjorn Kuipers as the Bayern defender was only cautioned for his offences, but punished by Talisca.
The substitute stepped up to take the free kick, striking it up and over the Bayern wall and out of the reach of Neuer, equalling the game on the night at 2-2, but a consolation goal in reference to the aggregate score line.
Full-time: 2-2 (2-3)
The referee blew the whistle for full time, as Bayern progressed to the Semi Finals of the competition, joining Real Madrid, Manchester City and Atletico Madrid. Despite the outcome, it was a respectable performance by Benfica who fought throughout the contest without key players to their back line; Lisandro Lopez and Luisao.
With firm favourites and holders Barcelona knocked out of the competition by Atletico this evening, questions will be asked to whether Guardiola can go all the way in his final season with the German club.