Barcelona sentenced to worst-ever Champions League start as Benfica pile on misery[/b]
The Blaugrana have lost their first two group stage games 3-0 and are in jeopardy of exiting the competition
Barcelona are off to their worst-ever start in the Champions League, with a 3-0 defeat to Benfica meaning they have been been outscored by six goals in back-to-back losses to begin the competition.
It's just the second time the Blaugrana have lost their opening two matches of any European campaign; they also suffered two defeats in a UEFA Cup first-round tie with Porto in 1972-73.
Ronald Koeman's men now sit bottom of Group E and are in danger of an early elimination from the competition.
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Benfica began the scoring after just three minutes when Darwin Nunez was allowed to dribble into open space in the box to unleash a shot, and the Portuguese club added two more goals before Eric Garcia was sent off for Barcelona.
Koeman has now seen his team win just one of its past five games in all competitions.
"The final result is hard to accept," Koeman told reporters. "It is not the result we saw on the pitch. Despite [going behind early], I think the team played well until 2-0. We had very clear opportunities to score.
"I think that the first and second goals we should have defended better. Soft can be a word, but there are many teams that are physically better than us.
"I am not going to discuss the level of this team. Everyone knows what Barca's problem is today. It is not possible to comment on a team that is not the one of the past years. For me it is clearer than water."
With a spending limit one-eighth of rival Real Madrid this year amid financial crisis, this was always expected to be a tumultuous period for Barcelona.
However, the lopsided 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica in the Champions League, as well as a mediocre start to their La Liga season, have underlined just how uncharacteristically difficult this term could become.
It may take years for Barcelona to escape their debt predicament, so fans may need to brace for a painful long-term rebuild.
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