Renato Sanches scored his first goal for Bayern Munich on his return to Benfica to give the German club a 2-0 win in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) Renato Sanches scored his first goal for Bayern Munich on his return to Benfica to give the German club a 2-0 win in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.
Sanches started and finished a well-worked move to net Bayern's second goal in the 54th minute. He first powered his way through the midfield and passed to Robert Lewandowski on the left. The ball made its way to Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez, who crossed for Sanches to score from close range.
''I'm so happy to come back to Lisbon and to play this game is special for me,'' said Sanches, who was applauded by the home supporters after scoring his first goal in a competitive game since January 2016. ''I just want to say thank you to the Benfica fans.''
Lewandowski had given the five-time European champions an early lead, converting Bayern's first real chance after Ribery and David Alaba combined to set him up.
Arjen Robben could have added to the score minutes later but failed to beat Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos in a one-on-one. He was denied again five minutes before the break, when Vlachodimos deflected the Dutch winger's effort over the bar.
Eduardo Salvio had the home side's best chance of the half, but Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved his shot.
Sanches, who moved from Benfica to Bayern after the 2016 European Championship, ended his former side's hopes of an upset and gave Bayern coach Niko Kovac a winning start on his debut in the competition.
The Portuguese midfielder was making his first start for Bayern since returning from a season on loan at Swansea.
''You have to remember he's a young player that left his country, that left his family,'' Kovac said of Sanches' difficulties in settling in Munich.