Match Analysis: Benfica 0-2 Barcelona

Cesc Fabregas
© PA Photos
Sports Mole casts its eye over Barcelona's two-goal victory in the Iberian Champions League encounter at Benfica.

Barcelona made it two wins from two in the Champions League this season by scoring in either half at Benfica.

Alexis Sanchez nullified some early Benfica promise with a poked finish on-the-reach before Cesc Fabregas sealed the win 10 minutes after the break.

Here, Sports Mole picks the bones out of the Catalan club's triumph.

Match statistics

Benfica
Shots: 10
On Target: 7
Possession: 26%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 23

Barca
Shots: 12
On Target: 8
Possession: 74%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 13

Was the result fair?

Oh yes. Aside from a bright start from Benfica, Barcelona monopolised the ball and patiently probed the hosts' defence. For the most part it was a canter for the 2011 winners and they'll look to continue their impressive football against Celtic in the next round.

Benfica's performance

As mentioned above, Benfica looked strong on the counter-attack in the first 20 minutes but Sanchez's goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of them. Lima should have put his one-on-one chance away but apart from that, there was little goalmouth action for the hosts. Defensively, they could do little about the second due to Lionel Messi's brilliance but they will feel that the cross for the first could have been dealt with.

Barca's performance

Disciplined. The Camp Nou club never strayed too far from their positions, especially in defence, and were willing to send the ball back if there wasn't a pass on. With the likes of Messi, Sanchez, Fabregas etc. they always have the talent to score goals up top.

Referee's performance

Cuneyt Cakir was having a good game until the final moments when he peculiarly dismissed Sergio Busquets. The defensive midfielder walloped the ball in a challenge before his momentum carried him onto Maxi Pereira. I'm unsure whether Cakir thought he led with an elbow but I'd expect a Barca enquiry.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Cesc Fabregas. To be honest, it could have gone to any of Xavi, Messi or Pedro but Fabregas gets it because he's often the one man who is really looking to spark an attack. Maybe it's because of his stint in English football with Arsenal.

Biggest gaffe

Unless Cakir's decision to send off Busquets is vindicated then I'd have to say that the red card is the biggest gaffe.

What's next?

Benfica: The hosts currently sit joint-top of the Portuguese league and Beira-Mar are next to visit the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Barca: It's the big one for Barca next up - El Clasico. Real Madrid visit the Camp Nou on Saturday evening in one of the fixtures of the season.

Cesc Fabregas
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Result: Benfica 0-2 Barcelona
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leganes11001013
2Valencia11001013
3Athletic Bilbao00000000
4Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
5Barcelona00000000
6Celta Vigo00000000
7Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo00000000
8EibarEibar00000000
9Espanyol00000000
10Getafe00000000
11GironaGirona00000000
12Levante00000000
13Malaga00000000
14Real Betis00000000
15Real Madrid00000000
16Real Sociedad00000000
17Sevilla00000000
18Villarreal00000000
19AlavesAlaves100101-10
20Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
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