Barcelona lost to Benfica 0-3 in the Champions League on Wednesday, as Jorge Jesus’ side ended a 60-year run without a win over the Catalan giants.
Having never beaten Barcelona since 1961, Benfica swaggered into Estadio da Luz knowing they would demolish this statistic and Ronald Koeman’s men.
Their confidence could be felt all around the stadium, and it only took three minutes for Darwin Nunez to score for the Portuguese side.
Nunez then added a penalty with 11 minutes left in the second half, after Rafa Silva then clipped in a second after the break, to match the scoreline by which Barca lost to Bayern Munich in their opening Group E fixture.
Barca were fortunate to only lose 0-3. They seemingly passed the ball constantly without pressing the goal, and even Opta’s recording of a solitary shot on target was surprising and forgettable.
“I’m not going to argue about the level of my team,” said Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, who was part of the Barca side that won the European Cup in 1992.
“There’s no point in comparing this with Barcelona teams of years gone by. That’s as clear as water. I can only give you my opinion of my work at the club – I feel backed by my players and their attitude.”
As well as his two goals, Nunez also hit the post from out wide after rounding stranded Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who made a rash decision to charge out of his area.
A glorious chance was missed by Luuk de Jong to level for the visitors early in the first half when presented with a seemingly open goal.
But Barca only registered one effort on target and had Eric Garcia sent off for a second booking with three minutes remaining.
“Benfica were strong physically and they’re quick. I think that for the first and second goals we just had to defend much better,” added Koeman.
“We had really good scoring chances and that’s how you change the direction of a match. The fact that Benfica put away the large majority of the few chances they actually created then that’s the big difference between the two teams.”
Barcelona have made their worst start to a Champions League campaign ever, losing both matches by large margins.