Barcelona starts defense of Champions League crown with a comfortable home victory against Benfica.

Source: BBC Sport

CAPTAIN Alexia Putellas got the hosts on their way, heading in from close range after Caroline Graham Hansen’s shot deflected into her path, before doubling Barca’s advantage when turning Esmee Brugts’ header over the line from close range.

Aitana Bonmati grabbed her first of the night shortly before half-time, showing great composure to turn sharply away from a challenge before drilling in emphatically.

Bonmati’s second came when was afforded far too much space early in the second half and the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner punished Benfica with a firm finish into the far corner.

“It’s good to start the season in the Champions League, scoring five goals in front of our own fans. We want to keep going for more,” said Bonmati.

The pick of the bunch came from Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala, who scored with her first touch just seconds after coming off the bench, rising acrobatically to meet a cross with a bicycle kick.

Benfica had opportunities early in the game, though managed only one shot on target in the second half.

Canada midfielder Marie-Yasmine Alidou had the best chance for the visitors, making a great break into the box but firing straight into the hands of goalkeeper Catalina Coll.

With the final of this season’s Champions League set to take place in Bilbao at San Mames, Barcelona will be pleased to have made a positive start.

Barcelona and England midfielder Keira Walsh said: “It’s the motivation of the club to be in the Champions League final every year. You can see that motivation in the girls and I see it in training every day. This club deserves nothing less.”

The victory was the 100th for manager Jonatan Giraldez since he took charge in 2021, who will be hoping to make it 101 on Sunday when Real Madrid visit Estadio Olimpico for El Clasico.

Elsewhere in Group A, Eintracht Frankfurt, who host Barcelona next time out in the competition on 22 November, beat Rosengard 2-1 in Sweden.

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November 15, 2023 @ 6:59 GMT|