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Champions League Matchday 1
S.L. Benfica
0 : 2
(0:1)
FC Bayern Munich
  • 10' Robert Lewandowski
  • 54' Renato Sanches
  • 10' Robert Lewandowski
  • 54' Renato Sanches
Renato crowns fine display

Resolute Reds overcome bold Benfica

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FC Bayern beat Benfica 2-0 on Wednesday night, getting off to a successful start to their Champions League campaign and extending their record in Europe's elite club competition by winning their 15th opening fixture on the bounce. Robert Lewandowski put Bayern ahead after ten minutes, with former Benfica player Renato Sanches doubling the lead after the interval.

The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Javi Martínez filled the holding role behind Arjen Robben, Sanches, James and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as lone striker. Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and Thomas Müller took over from Ribéry, James and Martínez in the second half.

Lewy's opener relieves the pressure

The 63,000 capacity crowd at Lisbon's Estádio da Luz saw Benfica press high up the field, almost strangling the visitors in their own half at first, but Bayern stood up to the pressure, Neuer's interventions being limited to taking part in Bayern's passing combinations. The Reds took an early lead thanks to individual quality, Ribéry charging down the left and cutting inside to set up Alaba, whose perceptive pass found Lewandowski. The Poland captain excelled with a fine first touch, slotting home from 12 yards.

Robben almost doubled the lead two minutes later, but netminder Ossideas Vlachodimos proved equal to his effort. Bayern had to thank Neuer for preserving the lead when he dived to deny Salvio from close range. Robben had another gilt-edged chance shortly before half-time after a fine Ribéry pass, but Vlachodimos directed his effort over the bar.

A day Renato will never forget

The clocks at the Estádio da Luz showed 54 minutes had been played when Niko Kovac was vindicated in his selection decision. Sanches, who was one of Bayern's key players throughout, initiated an attack at the stadium he knows so well. Four passes and fifty yards later he beat everybody else to a fine James chip, slotting home against the club where he played from 2008 and 2016, and became a pro and national team player. Bayern dominated proceedings in the second half, although Neuer did have to make a strong save to deny Ruben Dias.

Sub Gnabry had the ball in the back of the net with 20 minutes to go but was flagged offside. Benfica upped the pace in the closing stages but failed to find a way past Neuer, and after Vlachodimos made a fine save to deny another Robben effort, match official Antonio Mateu Lahoz blew for full-time.

Bayern will be back in action in just three days, when they travel to face Schalke in the Bundesliga before entertaining Augsburg next Tuesday.

Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen

Benfica - FC Bayern 0-2 (HT: 0-1)
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  • Benfica

    Vlachodimos – Almeida, Dias, Jardel, Grimaldo – Fernandes (Zivkovic 76), Fejsa, Pizzi (Rafa 62) – Salvio (Gabriel 62), Seferovic, Cervi


    Substitutions

    Svilar – Conti, Semedo, Castillo


  • FC Bayern

    Neuer – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Martínez (Müller 86) – Robben, Sanches, James (Goretzka 79), Ribéry (Gnabry 62) – Lewandowski


    Substitutions

    Ulreich – Süle, Will, Wagner


  • Referee

    Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)


  • Attendance

    63,000 (capacity)


  • Goals

    0-1 Lewandowski (10), 0-2 Sanches (54)


  • Yellow cards

    Fejsa, Jardel / Kimmich, Hummels