Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Barca Blasts Benfica 2 - 0


Barcelona continued their imperious form this season as they retained top spot in Champions League Group G with a 2-0 victory away over Benfica.

Alexis Sanchez struck after six minutes and Cesc Fabregas added a second following the break to leave Barca with a 100 per cent record from their opening two games while Celtic are on four points following their earlier win away to Spartak Moscow.

Sergio Busquets was sent off with two minutes to go after a clash with Maxi Pereira.

Tito Vilanova arrived at the Camp Nou over the summer looking to win back the Champions League, which they have lifted twice out of the last four years, and the domestic league title.

And despite the pressure of replacing Pep Guardiola he could hardly have made a better start with also six wins from six in la liga.

Now Vilanova's men turn their attention to the small matter of the El Clasico on Sunday against Real Madrid - but they will be without Carles Puyol, who dislocated an elbow after falling heavily on his arm.
"It was a costly victory for us but we are happy with the result against Benfica who are a strong side. It was a nasty injury (for Puyol) and he has already had one this season so this isn't very normal," said Vilanova.
"We have had a lot of problems at the back and it would be nice to play the El Clasico with a full squad but still we are playing well at the moment and have five days to recover."

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus had only words of praise for his players.

"We weren't lacking in any area. We were against the side who in my opinion is the best in the world and in any game they have about 70 per cent possession. We were excellent in the first half and didn't deserve to go in losing," he said.

"At 2-0 Barca consolidated, defended the result and made it difficult to come back at them."

The main news for Barcelona before kick off had been that Puyol was returning from injury to lead the team from the back while Andres Iniesta was fit for a place on the bench.

For Benfica seeking their first victory against a Spanish side since the 1982-83 season they were missing defender Luisao and up front Oscar Cardoza, while playmaker Pablo Aimar, who had overcome a strain, was left out of the starting eleven as Jorge Jesus sought a more mobile midfield.