LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Bryce Mendes scored again as Real Sociedad beat Benfica 1-0 in Lisbon on Tuesday to hand the Portuguese champions their third straight defeat in their Champions League group.
Ander Barenechea provided an assist for the midfielder in the 63rd minute to score the winning goal. It was a well-deserved goal for the Spanish visitors, who controlled the match in Group D.
Mendes scored in the 1-1 draw against Inter Milan and in the 2-0 win over Salzburg in the previous group matches.
“I think we were the better team in everything tonight,” Sociedad striker Takefusa Kubo told Movistar. “We can’t feel too comfortable yet, but if we play like we did tonight at home against the same opponent, I think we will qualify.”
The visitors put pressure on Benfica despite wasting many opportunities, while a goal for both teams was canceled due to offside in the first half.
Benfica coach Roger Schmidt brought on substitutes Arthur Cabral and Orkun Kokcu at the beginning of the second half to try to revive his attack.
With three consecutive defeats and no goals scored, it seems unlikely that Benfica will return to the knockout stage after the Portuguese champions reached the quarter-finals last season.
Substitute striker Thiago Gouveia said: “Benfica needs to score goals, this is what we are missing.” “Maybe we create more chances, but we had some chances. We know that matches in the Champions League are balanced and the smallest mistake can be fatal and this is what happened.”
Real Sociedad is making its third appearance in the Champions League group stage, and its first since the 2013-2014 season. The Spanish team reached the round of 16 in its first appearance in the 2003-2004 season
In Milan, Alexis Sanchez, who surprised everyone, scored the opening goal for last year’s runners-up Inter on their way to a 2-1 win over Salzburg.
The victories put Inter and Real Sociedad at the top of the group with seven points each. Salzburg trails them by four points.
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