Borussia Dortmund 4 Benfica 0 (4-1 agg): Aubameyang hat-trick exorcises first-leg demons

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put his first-leg horror show behind him, netting a hat-trick as Borussia Dortmund secured a 4-0 win over Benfica to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Gabon international missed a penalty and two more gilt-edged chances as Thomas Tuchel's side lost 1-0 in Portugal three weeks prior, but they made light work of Wednesday's return back on home turf.

Visiting coach Rui Vitoria had expected an onslaught and that was exactly what Dortmund provided, despite the absence of Marco Reus through injury, as Aubameyang nodded an early opener.

While Benfica stood firm for the remainder of the first half, Christian Pulisic, having assisted the first goal, doubled Dortmund's lead to take control of the tie with just over half an hour remaining.

And Aubameyang, who had never previously scored in the tournament's knockout stages, added his second of the game just two minutes later, before completing his treble five minutes from the end.

 

 

Dortmund can now look ahead to the last eight of the competition and the writing was seemingly on the wall after it took Aubameyang just four minutes to banish memories of a nightmare first leg and draw Dortmund level.

Ousmane Dembele delivered a corner from the right for Pulisic to flick a header towards the far post, where Aubameyang was left unmarked to nod into the net.

The hosts were clearly in the mood as Dembele bent a shot wide from an Aubameyang-powered counter-attack, but Benfica responded with Franco Cervi striking low into the arms of Roman Burki.

Luisao then nodded straight at the Dortmund goalkeeper, before Pulisic tested Ederson with a header of his own at the other end.

Cervi had another opportunity to score shortly after half-time, but Lukasz Piszczek recovered to make a magnificent block after slicing a clearance straight to the visiting winger.

Dortmund's best moments, meanwhile, were coming from set-pieces, with Aubameyang twice meeting Gonzalo Castro free-kicks to volley wide and then, from an offside position, straight at the sprawling Ederson.

Those efforts started to pile the pressure on the away defence, though, and their resistance was soon broken.

Ederson blocked brilliantly from Aubameyang, but, with Benfica unable to fully get the ball clear, an excellent Piszczek pass into the box found Pulisic, who lifted a phenomenal finish over the advancing keeper for his first Champions League goal.

And, with Vitoria's men still rocking, Aubameyang then steered Marcel Schmelzer's cross past the helpless Ederson from the next attack.

Castro volleyed wide and Marc Bartra nodded narrowly off target as Dortmund kept pushing, with a fourth goal putting the icing on the cake, Aubameyang converting Erik Durm's low centre to complete a deserved hat-trick.

 

Key Opta stats:

– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored seven goals in seven CL games this season; three more than he scored in his first two CL seasons combined.
– Aubameyang became the first African player to score a hat-trick in the knock out stages of the competition.
– Borussia Dortmund have won all five of their home games against Portuguese clubs in the European Cup/Champions League, scoring 15 goals and conceding two.
– Benfica have lost all 10 of their away games against German clubs in the European Cup/Champions League, scoring four goals and conceding 30.

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