A hammering in Lisbon, which noticed Darwin Nunez rating twice, together with a second-half penalty, additionally delivered one other heavy blow to Ronald Koeman’s hopes of staying on as Barca coach.
Nunez’s double and a sensible end from Rafa Silva consigned Koeman’s crew to a second consecutive 3-0 loss in Group E, after they had been thrashed by the identical scoreline by the hands of Bayern Munich earlier this month.
Koeman’s techniques will once more come below scrutiny, with Gerard Pique substituted after simply 33 minutes, seemingly to keep away from choosing up one other yellow card, just for Eric Garcia to be despatched off late on for a second reserving.
Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona’s most artistic participant for the primary half an hour, was additionally shifted into central defence to switch the departing Pique.
It is the primary time since 2000 that Barcelona have misplaced back-to-back group video games within the Champions League, which was additionally the final time the membership did not make the match’s knock-out stage.
They have a mountain to climb now to keep away from the identical destiny, sitting backside of the desk, with Benfica 4 factors forward in second and a crunch sport at dwelling to Dynamo Kiev to return subsequent month.
“The best factor is to have a look at the coach however we’re all accountable,” Sergio Busquets stated. “We are in a vital scenario. We have solely performed two video games however we’ve got zero factors. We have two video games in opposition to Dynamo and we’ve got to win each.”
Whether Koeman remains to be in cost for that sport stays to be seen given his future isn’t even safe for this weekend, when Barcelona play at Spanish champions Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
The membership may view the upcoming worldwide break because the extra logical time to make a change however regardless of Koeman’s pleas for assist, and perspective, his crew have now gained solely one in all their final 5 video games and it seems a matter of when, not if.
“I can not say something as a result of I do not know what the membership feels about this,” stated Koeman. “I can not reply extra questions on this as a result of it isn’t in my palms. We’ll see.”
Earlier on Wednesday, La Liga had laid naked Barcelona’s dire monetary issues by slashing their spending restrict for this season to 97 million euros ($112.48 million), the seventh highest in La Liga. But even in adversity there’s a baseline stage of efficiency and Koeman is at present not managing to succeed in it.
Benfica had been dynamite on the break all night time however they wanted solely 135 seconds to take the lead as Nunez ran at Garcia from the left and was allowed to dart inside and strike the ball contained in the close to publish.
Barcelona had probabilities to equalise as Pedri arrowed a superb through-ball for Frenkie de Jong, who squared for his teammate Luuk de Jong, however he was denied by a superb block six yards out.
Frenkie de Jong laid one other probability on a plate for his namesake however once more the chance went begging, with the midfielder’s attacking contributions all of the sudden minimize brief within the thirty third minute, when Pique went off.
Benfica appeared the extra prone to rating once more within the second half as Marc-Andre ter Stegen rushed out however did not get to the ball first. Nunez rounded the goalkeeper however curled in opposition to the skin of the publish from 40 yards.
Koeman introduced on the 19-year-old Nico Gonzalez, Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati within the 67th minute however within the 68th, Benfica made it two. Joao Mario performed a neat one-two with Roman Yaremchuk, who hit Ter Stegen just for Silva to brush within the rebound.
A Sergino Dest handball was picked up by VAR, permitting Nunez to attain a 3rd from the spot, earlier than Garcia accomplished a humbling night time for Barcelona by being despatched off with three minutes left.