Zero points, zero goals scored, six conceded. That's how Barça sit in their Champions League group, one which feels like it was created to torture them ever since the balls were drawn. First, Bayern Munich, resurrecting the dreadful memory of that 8-2 defeat. Then, Benfica in Lisbon, the scene of this horror show. Between those ghosts of the past and present, Barça had a small glimpse of positivity, Pedri had returned, and Ansu Fati was ready to make his appearance near the end. But after only two minutes, the car crash had already begun to take shape, a counter-attack ending with a great goal by Darwin Núñez, a former Almería player, who beat Eric García and scored at the near post in front of an indifferent Piqué.
Koeman's failures highlighted
The team tried to react to this with the help of Memphis, his feints on the left, Pedri, who started well but faded, and, more than anyone, the good De Jong, who laid on a plate a couple of opportunities for the other De Jong, whose sinister clumsiness reached new heights. To make matters worse, Piqué, who has seriously lost his way and was defensively sieve-like, earned himself an early yellow and appeared to be working hard to be shown a second with every tackle. So much so that Koeman chose to take him off and reduce the good De Jong to a role as one of the three centre-backs. A grave mistake. Barça lost their way and in defence did not improve at all. Yesterday Koeman failed.
LaLiga took a UCL battering
The second half was plain sailing for Benfica, with Darwin Nunez got the better of Garcia, who ended up seeing red for two bookings. There was still time, though, for the bad De Jong to miss the biggest sitter I've ever seen in my life. That was that, a 3-0 result that puts Koeman in an extremely weak position and, together with other results of the day, leaves doubts over LaLiga again. Between Sheriff, Cristiano - who finished off Villarreal in the dying seconds - and the bad De Jong, the Spanish Armada has taken a real battering, with its honour somewhat saved by Atlético, just, and Sevilla, who at least got a draw.