Did Goncalo Ramos just get Scott Parker sacked?! Ruthless Benfica destroy Club Brugge in Champions League to put under-fire opposing coach in big trouble
- Benfica advance with easy second-leg win
- Ramos, Mario, Silva, Neres on scoresheet
- Reach back-to-back quarter-finals for first time
TELL ME MORE: Brugge had recorded three successive clean sheets in Europe away from home but never looked like keeping it that way at the Estadio Da Luz. Joao Mario thought he had put his side in front within a minute before an VAR intervention ruled Goncalo Ramos to be offside in the build-up. Benfica then broke the deadlock after a blistering counter-attack put Rafa Silva through, with the Portuguese star finishing cooly with the outside his boot. Ramos then scored his first of the evening with a fine solo effort of his own just minutes before half-time.
Two down on the night and four behind on aggregate, Scott Parker's side crumbled as the second half wore on. Ramos scored his second from close range before Brugge centre-back Abakar Sylla inexplicably took out Alexander Bah when the ball appeared to be rolling harmlessly out of play. Joao Mario was on hand to convert from 12 yards to score the his fifth Champions League penalty of the season, the most by a player in a single campaign. Substitute David Neres rounded out the scoring before Bjorn Meijer added a late consolation for the visitors, as Benfica sailed through to the quarter-finals.
THE MVP: It was a record-breaking night for Joao Mario and Rafa Silva also impressed, but Ramos was particularly deadly in front of goal. His sheer pace left Brugge in the dust for Benfica's opener, while both strikes showcased classic No.9 play with dynamic movement and incisive finishing. As if his stock hadn't already risen following his World Cup exploits, the Portuguese star looks set to be yet another export from Benfica's famed recruitment in the summer.
THE BIG LOSER: Two wins from their last 13 Belgian top-flight games already made for some unpleasant reading for Scott Parker. The former Bournemouth boss had his work cut out overturning a 2-0 deficit away from home in Brugge's first ever Champions League knockout tie. He also can't be held accountable for the defensive errors that were laid bare for all to see for Benfica's first and Sylla's concession of a penalty in particular. But Parker never really lifted his side to the challenge, and it seems unlikely he will remain at the helm for much longer.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? As Benfica sail through to back-to-back quarter-finals for the first time in the club's history, Roger Schmidt will be awaiting the draw which takes place on March 17.
MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE): ⭐⭐⭐⭐