Barcelona's stunning fall from grace gets uglier

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After yet different demoralising loss, struggling Barcelona faces a grim aboriginal successful the Champions League.

The Catalan nine followed its 3-0 opening nonaccomplishment against Bayern Munich with different 3-0 decision astatine Benfica connected Wednesday. Bottom of its group, Barcelona abruptly sees itself successful information of not reaching the knockout signifier for the archetypal clip since 2001.

"We are successful a captious situation," Barcelona skipper Sergio Busquets said. "We person zero points aft the archetypal 2 rounds."

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Darwin Nunez scored doubly — including 3 minutes into the lucifer — and Rafa Silva added different extremity astatine the Stadium of Light to assistance Benfica extremity a 60-year winless streak against Barcelona. It was its 2nd triumph successful 8 matches against the Catalan club.

Darwin Nunez of SL Benfica celebrates aft scoring his 2nd extremity during the UEFA Champions League radical E shot lucifer betwixt SL Benfica and Barcelona FC astatine the Luz stadium successful Lisbon, Portugal connected September 29, 2021. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Getty)

Bayern cruised past Dynamo Kyiv successful Germany successful the different Group E lucifer to scope six points from 2 matches. Benfica, which had opened with a gully astatine Dynamo, has 4 points, 3 much than Dynamo. Barcelona stayed connected zero points up of consecutive matches against Dynamo.

"We request to triumph our adjacent 2 matches against Dynamo and past we'll spot what happens," Busquets said. "We person to deliberation positively and enactment to amended galore things."

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The nonaccomplishment added much unit connected Barcelona manager Ronaldo Koeman, who hasn't been capable to marque the squad execute and has been astatine likelihood with nine president Joan Laporta and adjacent immoderate of the players. The Dutch manager has said Barcelona has nary important chances of winning immoderate titles this season.

"I don't privation to reply immoderate much questions astir my aboriginal due to the fact that it is retired of my hands," Koeman said. "In the end, the manager is ever responsible. I consciousness I person the enactment from my players. I don't cognize if I person it from the club."

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Last play Barcelona failed to scope the quarterfinals for the archetypal clip since 2006-07, losing to Paris Saint-Germain successful the circular of 16 and ending its grounds tally of 13 consecutive last-eight appearances.

Without Lionel Messi for the archetypal clip successful astir 2 decades, Barcelona has won lone 1 of its past 5 games successful each competitions, a disappointing tally that started with the nonaccomplishment to Bayern astatine the Camp Nou Stadium. It has won lone 3 times successful 8 matches successful each competitions this season.

It was Barcelona's 5th consecutive Champions League lucifer without a win, having conceded 14 goals during that run. It didn't person a azygous changeable connected people from 8 attempts connected Wednesday.

Benfica's lone different triumph against Barcelona had travel successful the 1961 European Cup last the archetypal clip the clubs met.

Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona FC reacts during the UEFA Champions League radical E shot lucifer betwixt SL Benfica and Barcelona FC astatine the Luz stadium successful Lisbon, Portugal connected September 29, 2021. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Getty)

Benfica, which started its Champions League run successful the 3rd qualifying round, is unbeaten successful 13 matches wide this season, with 11 wins.

The hosts looked the much unsafe squad from the start, arsenic Barcelona struggled to instrumentality power and make opportunities.

Benfica opened the scoring successful the game's archetypal changeable connected goal, with Nunez uncovering the nett from wrong the country aft easy getting past Barcelona defender Eric García, who was sent disconnected with a 2nd yellowish paper successful the 87th.

Nunez astir added to the pb successful the 52nd erstwhile Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen clumsily near his country and allowed the Uruguay guardant to person an unfastened changeable into the net, which ended hitting the station from precise agelong range.

Silva scored the 2nd successful the 69th from adjacent scope aft a failed effort by Joao Mario, and Nunez sealed the triumph by converting a 79th-minute punishment footwear aft a handball by Barcelona defender Sergiño Dest.

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Koeman, a erstwhile Benfica coach, started the lucifer with 3 cardinal defenders but switched formations conscionable past the half-hour people by replacing Gerard Piqué with teenage midfielder Gavi.

Koeman had the instrumentality of Pedri González to midfield aft the youngster was sidelined by an wounded layoff. Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembélé stay retired injured.

Benfica mislaid guardant Valentino Lazaro due to the fact that of an wounded earlier halftime.

Benfica's adjacent Champions League lucifer volition beryllium astatine location against Bayern successful October. Barcelona hosts Dynamo earlier travelling to Ukraine.

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