Clinical Benfica thrashed shell-shocked Club Brugge 5-1 with two goals from striker Goncalo Ramos to knock the Belgian side out of the Champions League and reach the quarter finals 7-1 on aggregate at the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday.
Led by a tireless Joao Mario, who netted a late penalty, and the in-form Ramos, Benfica showed exactly why they are seen in Portugal as the country’s best side since Jose Mourinho’s Porto were crowned European champions 19 years ago.
“We have one objective and it’s winning every game we play going forward,” Rafa Silva, who had opened the scoring late in the first half, told Eleven Sports.
Benfica took control from the start as they pressured their rivals in the heavy rain that poured down in Lisbon.
Joao Mario had goal ruled out by VAR in the first minute for an offside in the build-up and Benfica then wasted several clear chances as the visitors looked well out of their depth.
Struggling in the Belgian league, Brugge were coming off an embarrassing 3-0 loss to lowly Oostende at the weekend and are currently languishing fourth in the standings, having now won only two of their last 15 matches in all competitions.
They were outclassed by a well organised Benfica side who remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League and have lost only two competitive games this term, both to Braga and one of those on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Portuguese Cup.
They are on a seven-game winning streak in the Primeira Liga in which they have scoring 18 goals and conceded one.
It was only a matter of time until they took the lead against Brugge with the goal coming in the 38th minute through Rafa Silva, who dribbled past two defenders and fired a left foot strike into the net after a counter-attack.
Ramos then scored either side of the break, the first coming after a brilliant individual effort in which he dribbled past three players inside the box before slotting the ball home.
In the 57th minute, he extended the lead with a first-time shot from Alex Grimaldo’s clever low cross.
Joao Mario scored the fourth from the spot in the 71st after a foul by Abakar Sylla and seven minutes later found substitute David Neres who netted the fifth before Bjorn Meijer struck a brilliant consolation goal for Brugge three minutes from time.
“Things are going well because the team is working hard,” added Rafa Silva, whose side are top of the Primeira Liga.
“We will go game by game, first think about what is next in the Portuguese league on the weekend and winning it. That’s what matters now and we will think about the (Champions League) quarter finals when the time comes.”