Sanches, who has lived a torrid year since leaving Benfica in Munich with 18 years in the summer of 2016, crowned a good performance in Lisbon with the first goal of his career at Bayern.
“I’m so happy to have had a night like this in Lisbon, and I want to thank the Benfica fans,” Sanches told Sky. “It was a very special moment for me and I enjoyed it a lot.”
The young Portuguese goal in the second half crowned a perfect debut in the Champions League in the dugout of Bayern coach Niko Kovac. Bayern took the lead after only ten minutes.
Franck Ribery’s cross found Robert Lewandowski in the box, and the Polish forward put the ball in the bottom corner.
Imago 20180919 Robert Lewandowski shot home the first goal of the game for Bayern Munich.
Source: Imago / PA Images
Ribery and James Rodriguez snatched chances to put the 2-0, but Benfica slowly recovered the game and Eduardo Salvio forced a strong shot by Manuel Neuer just before the half hour of play.
In what remained an extraordinarily open first half, Arjen Robben missed a good opportunity to double Bayern’s advantage in the counterattack, firing directly at Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos.
After being reprimanded at halftime, Joshua Kimmich let out a sigh of relief just before the break, when Bayern’s right-back appeared to beat Franco Cervi from behind, but the referee rejected the penalty calls.
The second half belonged to Sanches, who left the blocks after the break.
Having denied Benfica a brilliant tackle at one end, the Bayern midfielder found the net on the other.
Hitting the ball with Robben, Sanches found space in the box and, with gratitude, made a handful on James’ cross at the far post to make it 2-0.
Nicolas Tagliafico was the unlikely hero as Ajax before got his campaign in Group E of the Champions League with a winning start with a 3-0 victory over AEK Athens.
League of Dutch soccer champions Two goals tonight at the Johan Cruyff Arena for Nicolas Tagliafico.
Source: Peter Dejong
The Eredivisie team was stifled before halftime by a resilient AEK team, which had the best chance of the first half with Andre Simoes.
But the men of Erik ten Hag came out of the blocks quickly after the interval, the defender and the infrequent Tagliafico striker managed to advance to 51 seconds in half.
AEK was able to offer little in response and they broke their spirits when substitute Donny van de Beek scored to break the Ajax lead, with Tagliafico enjoying a huge portion of his fortune when his off-balance hit flew into the net in the time of discount.
On the other hand, the substitute Maycon scored a goal in the 81st minute when Shakhtar Donetsk recovered to secure a 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim in a violent first match of Group F.
Defender Havard Nordtveit seemed to be the unlikely hero, as Hoffenheim, which debuted in the group stage of the Champions League, twice won the lead at Metalist Stadium.
Florian Grillitsch gave Julian Nagelsmann’s team an early lead, but Ismaily canceled his neat final, which cut Nordtveit too easily to the left of Shakhtar before beating Oliver Baumann.
However, the former West Ham defender made peace at the other end of the field, moving the script when he appeared in a corner to nod home with what appeared to be the winner.
Shakhtar struggled to open Hoffenheim in the second half until Maycon cut his point from distance, firing a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area past goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
The hosts were close to catching a late winner – Marlos saw an effort blocked by Taras Stepanenko, with Shakhtar’s strong claims for handball rejected – but the Bundesliga club held firm during a frantic end to pick up a point in the path .