Benfica vs Maccabi Haifa
A stoppage-time goal by Joao Mario completed a stunning 6-1 win for Benfica over Maccabi Haifa, which lifted the Portuguese side top of Champions League Group H ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.
It was Benfica’s best-ever group-stage campaign, and it’s now level with PSG on points and goals but ahead of the French champions, who had scored more away goals in their two matches.
Group H is one of the most interesting groups to watch at the 2022 World Cup, containing four nations with an appetite for deep tournament runs, upsets and performing on the biggest stages. This collection of Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea is an incredibly intriguing group that includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Heung-min Son.
Despite winning the first two matches, Portugal’s momentum was broken when they lost their final group game against South Korea to ensure the Asian team would join them in the round of 16. However, plenty of drama remained as Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 to secure second place on the goals-scored tiebreaker.
On the other hand, Benfica secured its best group-stage campaign in 11 years with a 6-1 win over Maccabi Haifa. The result was enough to give them first place in the group and a qualification spot for the knockout stage of the Champions League.
In a high-intensity game, Benfica scored through Goncalo Ramos in the 20th minute. The Portuguese side grew into the match after the break, with Petar Musa and Alex Grimaldo also finding the back of the net.
The Israeli side, however, could not keep up with the match’s pace and conceded five goals in the process. This paved the way for Benfica’s victory, with Joao Mario scoring the goal in stoppage time.
While the top two teams in Group H will be matched with the best sides from G, this group will not be easy to predict. Brazil is the clear favourite, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be upsets in the group.
Meanwhile, Uruguay is tipped to advance to the knockout stage after beating Ghana 2-1 in their final group game to guarantee second place on the goals-scored tiebreaker. This could mean a meeting with the Brazilians in the next round.
While this group looks like an attractive selection of teams, it is important to note that it contains the biggest upsets of the entire tournament. That’s because Portugal, Ghana and Uruguay have a history of producing some of the most memorable upsets in World Cup history.
The fifth of seven matchdays in the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage is here, and it’s shaping up to be thrilling. With PSG on top, Benfica in second place and Maccabi Haifa battling to avoid elimination, plenty of matches keep fans entertained throughout the weekend.
It’s the first time two teams have qualified for the knockout stages in back-to-back seasons, and it’s a huge boost for both. Benfica can win the group by winning their other matches and then beating Paris in their final game, while Maccabi Haifa has a chance to get through the group by beating Paris and then winning against Juve.
Earlier in the day, Fenerbahce beat Rennes 3-0 and moved level on points with the French side. They’ll face a tough task against Olympiakos Piraeus, who are already through to the next round but will be desperate to secure a point.
On the other side of the group, Marseille climbed to the top by beating Club Brugge 2-0. A win against Porto and a draw against Atletico will leave Marseille with a spot in the round of 16 as long as they avoid losing to Rennes.
They must go through a tricky match against Qarabag in the other group stage matchday if they do. The Azeris have yet to win a game in their group and would do well to beat Marseille.
Meanwhile, Brazil has a big task ahead of them as they look to make their return to the World Cup after missing the last edition. Serbia, who topped their qualifying group, will also be tough to beat on Matchday 5 as they host Ghana.
Portugal, meanwhile, is a team to watch in the quarter-finals as they host Morocco after Cristiano Ronaldo’s EURO victory. The Portuguese ace is expected to start against the Africans as his form has been outstanding so far this season, and with his goal in Qatar, it’s hard to see him being replaced.
It was a busy Matchday in Serie A as Atalanta topped the table with a 4-0 win over Monza, while Torino drew 2-2 with Lecce and Salernitana beat Empoli. There were also a few surprises, as Udinese beat AS Roma and Verona beat Sampdoria.
The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage ends this weekend, with Matchday 6 featuring the final round of matches. Eleven teams have already booked their place in the knockout round, while others must still win their matches to qualify for the next round.
Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund won their matches to guarantee qualification from the group. At the same time, Sevilla drew with Copenhagen to secure third place and qualify for the Europa League next season. Liverpool and Napoli also won their games to ensure they were guaranteed seeded places in the round of 16.
Paris Saint-Germain beat Juventus 2-1 at home on Wednesday to take a place at the top of the table. They are tied on points with Benfica and even on head-to-head results, but they have a better goal difference than the Portuguese club, which means they will top the group if both clubs get the same result on Matchday 6.
Maccabi Haifa could qualify for the Europa League next season by beating PSG on Wednesday, but they could also finish in third. The Israeli side has won only one of their seven group-stage matches and drew twice. They must win their remaining two group-stage games to make it into the last 16 to qualify for the Europa League.
It’s a huge game for both sides as Maccabi Haifa tries to avoid a record-breaking fifth straight defeat in the group stage, while Benfica is seeking to extend their unbeaten run on the road, currently the longest of any team in this season’s 32 groups. Roger Schmidt’s side will be eager to get a positive result against an under-performing Israel outfit who have lost four of their last five games.
With the Israeli champions conceding seven in Paris, Barak Bakhar wants his players to develop a more resilient performance against the Portuguese in their final group-stage game. The Israelis have not lost at home to a European side this season, but they are only on three wins from their 17 games in the group phase and could be out of the competition for a second straight year.
Benfica slammed Maccabi Haifa 6-1 on the final matchday of the Champions League group stage, ensuring they secured the top spot by away goals over PSG. That result means they are the only side in the group to advance to the knockout phase, putting them on course for a first-ever European Cup final appearance.
Having taken the lead through Goncalo Ramos and a penalty kick, the Portuguese champions added a goal in stoppage time to seal the win. With the draw now sealed, Roger Schmidt must rely on a strong core of players for the first leg of the round of 16 against a strong Israeli team, who topped their group with four wins and two draws.
The match also provided a great opportunity for Goncalo Ramos to add to his goal tally, with the Portuguese striker on target twice in the previous game against Juventus. With this in mind, he could prove a vital part of the squad for the second leg as he continues to show his value in the competition.
Amid an unbeaten run, the Portuguese champions also reached the top of the Primeira Liga table, with a victory over Chaves on Saturday extending their lead to six points. This will have the club’s fans chomping for the knockout rounds to begin.
Another big-time European clash will occur on Matchday 7 when Manchester United travels to FC Schalke for a crucial Champions League fixture. The game will also feature the return of Enzo Fernandez, who is likely to start as a right winger after he was left out in the last game.
We can look forward to some great matches as we head into Matchday 7 of the 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League. We will be looking for teams to qualify for the next round after a tough group-stage campaign, and plenty of teams with big momentum are on their side as they head into the final week.