LISBON, Portugal – For the first time in almost a decade, Juventus have failed to advance from the group stage of the Champions League.
Rafa Silva scored twice and Benfica gave Juventus their fourth defeat in five games with a 4-3 victory on Tuesday, securing a spot in the knockout stage.
In a mind-blowing first half, Benfica managed to score goals from António Silva, João Mário and Rafa Silva, while all that Juventus managed to produce was a momentary draw from Moise Kean.
Silva – who recently announced his retirement from the Portugal national team and will not play in the next World Cup in Qatar – added another goal early in the second half and also hit the post in the 86th.
Arkadiusz Milik reduced for Juventus in the 77th, and Weston McKennie added another two minutes later, with two late goals from substitute Samuel Iling-Junior.
“It’s hard to find words now. We are very disappointed,” said Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli. “In the last 20 minutes we showed that we can be a great team and we have to start from there. The initial approach was wrong. We ran the risk of a bad defeat, but the reaction in the final 20 minutes was good, at least.”
Paris Saint-Germain, who beat Maccabi Haifa 7-2 to also advance, and Benfica lead Group H with 11 points each. Juventus and Maccabi have three points each and will fight for third place and a spot in the Europa League.
Juventus visit PSG and Maccabi host Benfica in the last round of the group stage next week.
It is the first time that Juventus have not been able to advance since the 2013-14 season.
The departure from Europe’s top competition came a day after Juventus learned that club president Andrea Agnelli, vice president Pavel Nedved and CEO Maurizio Arrivabene are among 15 people investigated for alleged false accounts and irregularities in player transfers. after a notification from the Public Prosecutor’s Office. in Turin.
Juventus released a statement on Wednesday denying any wrongdoing with its finances.
It’s also a disgrace for one of the few remaining clubs that clings to the idea of a European Super League.
And Juventus face a struggle to return to the Champions League next season. Although the Bianconeri have won two in a row in Serie A, they are still in eighth place in the Italian league – with only the top four finishers qualifying.
“The first part of the season was certainly not good for us,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. “But we have to react. We’ve made a lot of mistakes tonight, but it’s not helpful to talk about them now. I’m happy for the youngsters, they all played well with the mental energy and technique we needed in that part of the game.”
Benfica took the lead in the 17th minute, when centre-back António Silva, 18, beat the surprising Juventus starter Federico Gatti.
Kean then scored from close range but had to wait as the goal was initially disallowed for offside before the decision was overturned by VAR.
A debatable handball by Juan Cuadrado set up a penalty for João Mário and then Silva converted a back heel kick after an exchange with João Mário.
Silva’s second came as he passed Leonardo Bonucci and passed goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny.