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Neres stars as Benfica journeys into Champions League group stage

30 Aug 2022 | 08:29 | Football

Benfica Brazilian midfielder David Neres (L) celebrates his goal with Portugal forward Goncalo Ramos during the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg against Dynamo Kiev at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon. Photo: Afp

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Benfica Brazilian midfielder David Neres (L) celebrates his goal with Portugal forward Goncalo Ramos during the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg against Dynamo Kiev at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon. Photo: Afp

Benfica advanced to the Champions League group stage after beating Dynamo Kyiv 3-0 in the second leg of Tuesday’s play-off round thanks to a David Neres assist and goal.

The two-time European champions from Portugal will have the draw on Thursday while Dynamo will take part in the Europa League.

“From the first second we wanted to win and showed it. Now we are happy to be in the Champions League,” said Benfica coach Roger Schmidt.

“Let’s wait for the draw and then we’ll see. It’s never easy. I’m happy we deserved it,” he added.

Top football in the country, which has been suspended since the Russian invasion in February and in the midst of the ongoing war, returned to Ukraine earlier on Tuesday.

The Dynamo players, who began their league campaign on Sunday, arrived at the Estadio da Luz wearing the Ukrainian flag in a message of support for their countrymen back home.

Dynamo took a 2-0 lead from the first leg and they always fell ahead of the teams that reached the quarterfinals last season.

Former Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi’s impressive header put Benfica ahead tonight in the 27th minute in front of a crowd of more than 58,000 from Neres’ cross.

Rafa Silva scored next for Portugal and Brazilian forward Neres put the ball into the net after a move before half-time.

In the second half, Enzo Fernandez’s close effort was thwarted by Dynamo goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan as Benfica sealed a convincing 5-0 aggregate win.

Elsewhere, Milan Pavkov’s own goal in the 90th minute secured Maccabi Haifa’s place as they beat Red Star Belgrade 5-4 after two legs.

Jan Kliment’s 73rd-minute effort placed Viktoria Plzen in the draw as they beat Azeris Qarabag with a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.

On Wednesday, former two-time PSV champions Eindhoven took on Rangers with a 2-2 draw, Copenhagen faced Trabzonspor 2-1 and Bodo/Glimt took on Dinamo Zagreb with a 1-0 advantage.

tcecsport