Barcelona, behind goals from Alexis Sánchez and Cesc Fábregas, won an ugly match in Portugal over Benfica 2-0. The win moves Barca in to first place in their group but it came at a huge cost as Carles Puyol left with an potentially serious arm injury late in the second half.
Barca were the better side in the first half, dominating play as they usually do, but also looking vulnerable at moments. Benfica had a couple great chances, forcing two good saves from Victor Valdés, but it was the usual suspects who put Barcelona ahead at halftime.
In the 6th minute after some clever passing, Lionel Messi made a break right on the right edge of the box and sent a low cross that Alexis Sánchez redirected in to the goal from about 2 yards out. It was classic Barcelona, quick passing that picked apart the Benfica defense ending with a through ball to Messi who made a great play. Making the incredibly difficult look so easy, typical Barca.
Benfica looked strong at the start of the second half, evening out possession a bit and generating some solid pressure, but a moment of lost focus cost them.
Messi made one of his patented slicing runs through the midfield, drawing the attention of nearly ever Benfica player before dropping the ball off to the right to a charging Cesc Fábregas who slotted a low shot past Artur to put Barca ahead 2-0 in the 56th minute. To Benfica's credit, they fought back, nearly pulling a goal back right off the restart, but Valdes was there again with another tough save on a shot from distance by Eduardo Salvio.
All the positive energy for Barca was sucked out of the match in the 77th minute after the just returned Carles Puyol landed horribly on his arm and was carted off the pitch. It's all speculation at this point, but if he escaped a dislocation or broken bone in his arm, he'll be one lucky player.
Things got ugly and physical late and nearly boiled over when Sergio Busquets was shown a straight red card in the final minutes. It was a terrible call by the referee who claimed he'd gone in with his elbow, but replays showed there was virtually no contact.