Benfica’s Jorge Jesus says in his 30 years as a coach he has never seen anything like Haris Seferovic’s glaring late miss in Tuesday’s 0-0 Champions League draw at Barcelona.
The Portuguese outfit could have moved above Barcelona in Group E ahead of the final matchday with victory but Seferovic put wide a golden opportunity on the break having got past goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Darwin Nunez broke clear in a two-on-one situation in a last-gasp counter, squaring to Seferovic who dinked past Ter Stegen before poking wide from less than 12 yards with Eric Garcia scrambling to cover an empty net.
“At the end, there wasn’t even a goalkeeper in goal for our final chance,” Jorge Jesus told Eleven Sports.
“I’ve been a coach for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life, but unfortunately it happened to me and Benfica.”
He added: “It was a strong defensive display. It’s true that during the 94 minutes Barcelona had one or two chances to score.”
Barcelona had 66 percent possession with nearly double the number of passes (643-347) while they generated 14 shots compared to Benfica’s seven, with both sides having three on target.
The draw means the Blaugrana remain second with seven points ahead of Benfica on five. Barca go to Bayern Munich, who are already confirmed as group winners, in the final matchday while Benfica host eliminated Dynamo Kiev.
“I want to congratulate the team for their defensive organisation,” Jorge Jesus said. “We left here with a result that still leaves us dreaming but we are not dependent on our results.
“I keep saying the same thing: Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world and we are competing for qualification with them.
“This should make the fans, players and coach proud – today we were at the level of a great team.”
— SL Benfica (@slbenfica_en) November 23, 2021
Benfica defender Nicolas Otamendi, who made a key late block to deny Ousmane Dembele, refused to blame Seferovic.
“In the end we could have won, but it didn’t happen,” Otamendi said. “Seferovic tried, it didn’t go in – it’s football. We now have a final at home – we’ll try to play to win and try to qualify.
“We have to keep the mentality of today and be organised. We tried not to let Barcelona build and we tried to get out fast, so now we want to repeat that in the next game.”