Maccabi Haifa vs Benfica – Football Match Report – 2 November 2022
A stoppage time goal from Joao Mario completed a stunning 6-1 victory for Benfica at Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday, which sent the Portuguese side top of Champions League Group H ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.
Goals from Goncalo Ramos, Petar Musa, Alex Grimaldo, Rafa Silva, Henrique Araujo and Joao Mario – five of them in the second half – took Benfica to 14 points, level with PSG on points and goal difference but ahead of the French champions having scored more away goals.
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Maccabi finished bottom of the table with three points, level with Juventus who finished third on goal difference and will go to the Europa League.
Mario’s superb long-range strike caused wild celebrations as Benfica’s substitutes and coaching staff raced onto the pitch.
“We came here to win the game first, but as the minutes went by and we kept scoring, we felt the momentum was building in our favor and we could get there,” said Ramos told Eleven Sports.
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Maccabi competed strongly in a convincing first half.
Dean David sent a big chance for the hosts before Ramos struck with an imposing header to put Benfica ahead.
Maccabi equalized from the penalty spot through Tjarron Chery and Benfica coach Roger Schmidt made two substitutions in the 32nd minute, replacing Fredrik Aursnes and Ramos with Musa and Chiquinho.
Benfica dominated the game and eventually converted one of their chances with a fine diving header from Musa off a deep cross from full-back Alexander Bah.
Grimaldo netted an unstoppable free-kick from long range for the third goal, Silva added a fourth and Araujo beat the offside trap in the 88th minute to grab the fifth with a tap-in.
Benfica kept pushing forward with their relentless press game and deep in stoppage time, Mario’s excellent strike propelled them into the last 16 as group winners.