Benfica produced a relentless and clinical performance to beat Salzburg 6-0 and secure the UEFA Youth League trophy for the first time.
Match in brief: Salzburg no match for inspired Benfica
Benfica had reached the final on three previous occasions only to fall at the last hurdle, including against Salzburg in the 2017 decider. This time, however, two goals in the opening 15 minutes ensured they were not to let the prize slip from their grasp.
Luís Castro’s men simply flew out of the blocks and were in front inside two minutes. Pedro Santos reacted quickest to Adam Stejskal’s parry and cut the ball back for Diego Moreira, whose delightful cushioned lay-off into the stride of Martim Neto invited the midfielder to drill into the bottom corner. One became two when Henrique Araújo, who had already been denied by Stejskal, swept in after a piercing run and low cross by Martim Neto.
René Aufhauser’s charges never recovered. Benfica’s third goal, early in the second half, came when Pedro Santos’s deflected cross was confidently dispatched by Cher N’Dour – and Henrique Araújo quickly made it four, finishing nonchalantly from Diego Moreira’s through ball. Luis Semedo and Henrique Araújo, completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot, added gloss to the delight of the Portuguese fans watching at the Centre Sportif de Colovray in Nyon.
Henrique Araújo, Benfica striker: “It is very important because Benfica had already been in three finals. It was very important for the club to show this strength in Europe and this is what we want to do more often. The team works very well. We want more trophies.”
- Martim Neto’s third-minute opener in the last four was the fastest-ever finals goal – his second-minute effort here broke his own record.
- Henrique Araújo scored the first hat-trick ever in a Youth League final.
- Benfica became the first team to play 70 matches in this competition, moving one ahead of Real Madrid as they equalled Chelsea’s record of reaching four finals.
- The Eagles are the first team to score four times or more in a Youth League final.
- This was the first time any of the eight finals had been a repeat of a previous decider.
Salzburg: Stejskal; Atiabou (Pejazic 39), Baidoo, Wallner (Moswitzer 77), Ibertsberger; Agyekum, Kameri (Zétény 77), Sahin, Hofer (Reischl 46); Diakité (Berki 86), Šimić
Benfica: André Gomes; João Tomé (Martim Ferreira 66), Tomás Araújo, António Silva, Rafael Rodrigues; N’Dour, Jevšenak (Nuno Félix 80), Martim Neto (Hugo Félix 80); Pedro Santos (Ricardo Marques 80), Henrique Araújo, Diego Moreira (Luis Semedo 59)