Juventus 1-2 Benfica: Neres downs Bianconeri as Allegri pressure mounts

·3-min read

David Neres scored a second-half winner as Juventus continued their poor start to the season with a 2-1 defeat at home to Benfica in the Champions League.

Having seen a late winner ruled out in Sunday's ill-tempered draw with Salernitana, Arkadiusz Milik took just four minutes to open the scoring, flicking past Odisseas Vlachodimos to seemingly put the hosts in control.

However, Joao Mario levelled things up with a first-half penalty and Neres volleyed in the winner after 55 minutes, putting Benfica joint-top of Group H alongside Paris Saint-Germain.

There were chances for a late equaliser, Dusan Vlahovic seeing an effort disallowed and Bremer squandering a golden opportunity to leave the pressure mounting upon Massimiliano Allegri.

Juve raced out the blocks in a frantic start, with Milik's glancing header from Leandro Paredes' right-wing cross finding the bottom-left corner to open the scoring.

Filip Kostic drilled just wide from Juan Cuadrado's looping delivery before Goncalo Ramos should have restored parity but directed straight at Mattia Perin with a close-range header.

Rafa struck the right-hand post with a curling effort but Benfica's dominance soon paid dividends when Joao Mario converted his penalty, which was awarded after a VAR check for a Fabio Miretti foul on Ramos.

Vlachodimos parried away a swerving Milik shot after the interval before Neres smashed a left-footed volley into the bottom-left corner following Perin's save from Rafa's drive.

Perin was again required to push away a fizzing Rafa strike before the Juve goalkeeper showed smart reflexes to keep out a Neres strike as Benfica threatened to extend their lead.

Vlahovic thought he had snatched a late equaliser, only for the offside flag to go up after Mattia De Scigilo's cross from the left, before Bremer blazed a golden opportunity over with just three minutes left.

What does it mean? Juve struggles against Benfica continue

Juve have now won just one of seven European meetings with Benfica as their uninspiring form in both the Champions League and Serie A continued at the Allianz Stadium.

Benfica had lost 10 of their last 12 away games against Italian sides, with their only win coming against Fiorentina in the 1996-97 Cup Winners Cup, but responded emphatically to Milik's opener to collect a rare victory in Italy.

Defeat left Juve without a point to their name in Group H and Allegri's side have ground to make up on Roger Schmidt's side, who are level on points with PSG after their perfect start.

Rafa shines

Rafa was a constant menace to the Juve defence as he repeatedly found space in between the lines to operate behind the dangerous Ramos.

While he was denied by the woodwork and by Perin in the build-up to Neres' goal, Rafa also created a game-high four chances (level with Paredes) in a brilliant attacking display.

More needed from Miretti

Injuries to the likes of Paul Pogba, Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot have offered Miretti a chance in Allegri's starting line-up.

But the youngster struggled as he gave away the first-half penalty, while winning less than half of his 12 duels and completing just 11 passes before his 58th-minute removal.

What's next?

Juve return to Serie A action at Monza on Sunday, while Benfica host Maritimo in the Primeira Liga on the same day.