LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Brais Mendez scored again as Real Sociedad beat Benfica 1-0 in Lisbon on Tuesday to hand the Portuguese champion its third straight defeat in its Champions League group.
Ander Barrenetxea set up the midfielder in the 63rd minute to tap in the winner. It was a deserved goal for the Spanish visitors who were in control throughout of the Group D game.
Mendez scored in a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan and in a 2-0 victory at Salzburg in the previous group games.
“I think we were the better side in everything tonight,” Sociedad forward Takefusa Kubo told Movistar. “We can’t be too comfortable yet but if we play as we did tonight at home against the same opponent, then I think we will qualify.”
The visitors put Benfica under pressure though wasted several chances, while both teams had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half.
Benfica coach Roger Schmidt sent on substitutes Arthur Cabral and Orkun Kokcu at the beginning of the second half to try to revive his attack.
With three consecutive losses, and not a single goal scored, Benfica looks unlikely to return to the knockout stage after the Portuguese champion reached the quarterfinals last season.
“Benfica needs to score goals, that’s what we are missing,” substitute forward Tiago Gouveia said. “Perhaps creating a bit more, but we had some chances, we know that in Champions League the games are balanced and the smallest mistake could be fatal and that’s what happened.”
Real Sociedad is making its third Champions League group appearance, and first since 2013-14. The Spanish side reached the last 16 in its debut in 2003-04
In Milan, surprise starter Alexis Sanchez scored the opening goal for last year’s runner-up Inter on its way to a 2-1 victory over Salzburg.
The victories put Inter and Real Sociedad top of the group with seven points each. Salzburg is four points behind them.
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