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Benfica v Olympique Lyonnais Match Report, 23/10/2019

2 - 1
Rafa Silva (4)
Pizzi (85)
M. Depay (70)
Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz)
Benfica 2-1 Lyon: Lopes howler kick-starts hosts' Champions League campaign
22:09 BST 23/10/2019
Anthony Lopes - cropped
Lyon tasted defeat for the first time in this season's Champions League as Pizzi struck late to seal a vital win for Benfica.

Benfica claimed their first Champions League win of the season as Anthony Lopes' howler helped them overcome Lyon 2-1 on Wednesday.

Defeats to RB Leipzig and Zenit in their opening two games had left Bruno Lage's side languishing at the foot of Group G, but they kick-started their campaign thanks to Lopes' moment of madness five minutes from time.

The goalkeeper's attempt to start a quick counter backfired when his throw went straight to Pizzi, who gleefully struck a first-time effort into an empty net.

Memphis Depay had earlier cancelled out Rafa Silva's fourth-minute opener for Benfica, who will travel to France for the return fixture in a fortnight with renewed confidence that they can progress to the knockout stages.

Benfica got off to an electric start, Silva lashing low past Lopes from 15 yards after he had been found by Franco Cervi.

Haris Seferovic then dragged an effort wide after being played in down the left-hand side of Lyon's penalty area before injury cut short Silva's game in the 20th minute.

Lyon started to grow into the game as the first half wore on and only a superb last-ditch block from Alejandro Grimaldo prevented Maxwel Cornet from drawing the Ligue 1 side level.

Seferovic again came close for the hosts before the interval, blazing over from Tomas Tavares' low cross from the right.

Lyon did most of the pressing in the early stages of the second half and they came agonisingly close to levelling shortly after the hour mark, Cornet's effort deflected onto the crossbar by the outstretched leg of Ferro.

That near-miss was forgotten about in the 70th minute when Depay stole in at the back post to cushion home Leo Dubois' cross on the volley.

Pizzi struck the post as Benfica poured forward for a winner, which was ultimately gift-wrapped for them in the 85th minute by Lopes' wayward throw.


What does it mean? Benfica up and running

The Portuguese side remain bottom of the group but are now within striking distance of their rivals thanks to a first win of the campaign. Once Depay had levelled there looked like only being one winner, but Pizzi's incisive finish from Lopes' throw sealed a precious three points for the hosts, throwing Group G wide open.

Tavares display belies his age

The 18-year-old – making just his fourth start for the club – looked at home on the big stage, making a series of marauding runs forward and proving a solid presence at the back.

Lopes' error costs his side

The Portuguese endured a nightmare return to his homeland, gifting Benfica all three points in the closing stages. He will go to sleep wishing he had just booted the ball downfield.

Key Opta Facts

- Benfica have scored more than one goal in a Champions League home game for the first time since April 2016; a quarter-final match against Bayern Munich that ended 2-2.

- Lyon have scored at least once in each of their last eight away games in the Champions League, last failing to score against Sevilla in September 2016.

- Pizzi’s winner was his first goal in the Champions League in what was his 34th appearance in the competition for Benfica.

- Depay has been involved in eight goals in his last nine group stage matches in the Champions League (four goals, four assists).

- Silva’s goal in the fourth minute was the earliest Champions League goal Benfica have scored since Nicolas Gaitan netted against Galatasaray in October 2015 (one minute, 12 seconds).

-Cervi’s assist for Silva was his first goal involvement for Benfica in the Champions League for three years, since he netted against Dynamo Kiev back in October 2016.

What's next?

Benfica return to domestic action with a visit to Tondela on Sunday, while Lyon will hope to kick-start their stuttering Ligue 1 campaign at home to Metz a day earlier.