A brilliant hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski helped Bayern Munich ease past Benfica 5-2 and secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages.
In a busy first period for VAR, Lucas Verissimo had the ball in the back of the net for Benfica in the 16th minute but was ruled offside after the ball was flicked on at the near post from a corner.
A little over ten minutes later, Bayern Munich broke the deadlock. Kingsley Coman, who posed a constant threat down the right flank, found Lewandowski at the back post who headed home to score his sixth Champions League goal this campaign.
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Bayern’s lead was doubled in the 32nd minute after a breathtaking move. Joshua Kimmch’s sensational ball found Lewandowski, who was aware of Serge Gnabry darting into the box behind him, managed to find the German who cleverly flicked the ball beyond Odysseas Vlachodimos.
Benfica grabbed one back just before half-time, a well-crafted free-kick move down the left flank found Alejandro Grimaldo who swung in a cross that met the head of Morato who guided it past Neuer.
The hosts were awarded a penalty by VAR on the stroke of half-time when Leon Goretzka’s goal-bound shot deflected off the arm of Verissimo, but Lewandowski’s poor effort was saved.
Early into the second half Bayern had their fourth, with Leroy Sane converting a sweet half-volley set-up by Alphonso Davies, spraying its way across Odysseas and into the bottom left corner.
Lewandowski had his second on the hour mark, cleverly flicking the ball over Odysseas, giving the keeper no chance.
Benfica managed to find a consolation goal with 15 minutes to play, but Lewandowski made up for his earlier penalty miss and had his hat-trick five minutes from time to put the game beyond doubt.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Robert Lewandowski will make the headlines, but a near-perfect midfield performance from Joshua Kimmich helped Bayern ease past Benfica and into the Champions League knock-out stages.
He played a vital part in almost all of Bayern’s goals, unlocking the Benfica defence with pinpoint passes he was spraying across the Munich turf all night.
Not only was he starting the majority of moves that led to the ball ending up in the back of the Benfica net, his range of passing on show this evening was nothing short of sensational.
TALKING POINT - BAYERN PROGRESS TO KNOCKOUT STAGES
The German Champions only needed a point to secure qualification and cement their place in the Round of 16, but did it a typical Bayern Munich fashion.
The Bavarians netted five goals at home again, taking their goal tally up to 17 in only four games. Despite shipping their first two goals of the competition this campaign, they looked incredibly strong and it will take a very good team to stop this Bayern side.
BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer 6, Pavard 7, Upamecano 6, Nianzou 6, Davies 7, Goretzka 7, Kimmich 9, Gnabry 7, Sane 7, Coman 8, Lewandowski 8.
Subs: Richards 5, Musiala 6, Muller 6, Sabitzer 4, Sarr N/A.
BENFICA: Odysseus 7, Verissimo 6, Vertonghen 5, Morato 7, Gilberto 6, Meite 7, Mario 5, Grimaldo 6, Pizzi 7, Everton 4, Yaremchuk 5.
Subs: Rafa 4, Goncalves 5, Nunez 7, Bernado 5, Ramos 5.
14’ GOAL DISALLOWED! Verissimo (Benfica) - Benefica have the ball in the back of the net but it's ruled offside! A corner was flicked on at the near post which found Pizzi at the back post, who directs it back across goal for Lucas Verissimo to convert.
26’ GOAL! Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Coman does excellently with a tricky bit of play to beat his man and dink a ball towards the back post, where Lewandowski nodded home.
32’ GOAL! Gnabry (Bayern Munich) - Kimmich plays a delightful ball over the top which Lewandowski latches on to, who's aware Gnabry has made a run into the box behind him, plays it back to the German who cleverly flicks the ball beyond Odysseas. Sensational.
38’ GOAL! Morato (Benfica) - Benfica had a free-kick out wide and in a well-crafted move played the ball down the left-hand side, where Alejandro Grimaldo played in a cross which met the head of Morato who guided it past Neuer.
43’ PENALTY! (Bayern Munich) - VAR has had a look and the referee points to the spot! After a great move, Goretzka is found in the middle of the box and his shot is deflected over but believes it came off the hand of Verissimo. VAR agrees!
45’+1 PENALTY MISS! Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - A terrible penalty from Lewandowski is comfortably saved by Odysseas!
49’ GOAL! Sane (Bayern Munich) - Kimmich plays a sensational ball across the Benfica penalty box that finds Davies, who heads it back to Sane who arrives to strike a sweet half-volley across Odysseas and into the bottom left corner.
61’ GOAL! Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - And there it is! Lewandowski makes it 4-1! Another glorious, glorious goal from the hosts. Kimmich again starts the move with a great ball that finds Sane down the middle, who sees Lewandowski overlapping, taking the ball in his stride and flicking it over the keeper's head with ease.
74’ GOAL! Nunez (Benfica) - Sabitzer who has just come on, is dispossessed high up the pitch, which allowed Benfica to break. Nunez was found making a run down the centre and his tame effort crept under Neuer.
84’ GOAL! Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - There's his hat-trick! What a way to mark your 100th Champions League appearance!
- Tonight’s win was Robert Lewandowski’s 100th appearance in the competition, recording his 79th, 80th and 81st goals.
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