By ESPNSTAR.com staff
A mainly second string Barca side were put under heavy pressure by the visitors who needed to match Celtic's result on Wednesday in Group G to progress to the knockout stage.
Celtic did their part by beating Spartak Moscow 2-1 but Benfica just could not find the back of the net and their Champions League dreams ended after 90 minutes at Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, Barca ace Lionel Messi came on as a second half substitute in search of a goal which would move him level with Gerd Muller's record mark of 85 goals in a calendar year. Unfortunately, the Argentinean limped off injured late in the game as his side drew a blank.
Here, ESPNSTAR.com takes a look at the key moments from this clash at Camp Nou.
Benfica's two centre-backs were given the unenviable task by their manager of trying to keep a high line and press Barcelona when the La Liga side had possession. The strategy worked for the most part although Luisao in the first half gifted Barca a golden opportunity when he allowed Tello to nick the ball off him as last-man - luckily for him the striker couldn't capitalise on the error. In that instance Benfica goalkeeper Artur did well to come off his line very quickly to sweep up the danger.
On a negative note, Benfica right-back Maxi Pereira had an awful game and should have been sent off for two bookable offences. Additionally, the defender also missed a good chance at the death to snatch victory when he blazed a shot over from the right side of the box.
Artur - 7 | Luisao - 6.5 | Maxi Pereira - 5 | Garay - 7 | Melgarejo - 6
Benfica's midfield trio of Nolito, Matic and Andre Gomes did well to keep their shape and discipline as Barcelona bossed possession. Nolito in particular was excellent throughout with his passing down the line and he frequently caught out Barcelona's right-back Montoya.
Nolito (Off 63') - 7 | Matic - 6.5 | Andre Gomes - 6.5
What a different story it might have been for Benfica had Rodrigo not made an absolutely shocking decision early in the game. Played onside by a beautiful reverse pass from John, the forward fired his shot wide when all he needed to do was roll the ball to an open Lima for the tap-in.
There were positives, though, as Lima and John had solid outings resulting in good chances created but overall Benfica's wasteful finishing did not do their build up play justice.
Lima (Off 74') - 7 | Rodrigo (Off 74') - 5.5 | John - 7
Benfica's Oscar Cardozo will want to forget this game in a hurry as he could've been the hero had his first touch been better. Played through on goal late in the match, the Benfica striker's poor touch allowed the Barca defence to regroup and snuff out the danger.
Andre Almeida (On 74') - 6 | Bruno Cesar (On 63') - 6 | Oscar Cardozo (On 74') - 5.5
Barcelona may be widely regarded as the best team in Europe over the past few seasons but it has been noted that they lack quality in depth in the goalkeeping position. Pinto is not going to be challenging Victor Valdes for a first team position anytime soon, but the back-up keeper did do well on Wednesday. He started out a bit dodgy in the first 10 minutes but then produced a wonderful one handed save to deny Lima's goal bound shot from close range.
Pinto wasn't given much protection as his full-backs in Montoya (right) and Planas (left) left him exposed on both flanks - therefore for him to keep a clean sheet is a testament to his display.
Emergency centre-back Adriano did not help either by being caught out of position on a number of occasions.
Pinto - 7.5 | Puyol - 7 | Montoya - 5.5 | Adriano (Off 66') - 5.5 | Planas - 5
Barcelona had Song deployed in midfield to protect the back-four and he played a key role in helping his team achieve 72% possession over Benfica. His midfield partners in Thiago Alcantara and Sergi Roberto were not so good. The pair did show plenty of drive and eagerness to make things happen but they lacked any real cutting edge. It actually turned out to be a relatively easy day at the back for Benfica as the home side only created 9 attempts to the visitors' own tally of 18.
Thiago Alcantara - 6 | Song - 6.5 | Sergi Roberto - 6
It's hard to rate Barcelona's front three because they got into a lot of dangerous positions which is good - the problem was none of them could provide that final killer ball to create a clear cut goal scoring opportunity.
Rafinha was the worst out of the lot - he found it difficult to settle after some poor touches and passes early on. Tello, on the other hand, grew in confidence as the game progressed and in the second half he stretched Benfica.
Villa was disappointing. He looked lost playing in what was a second string Barca team and many of his runs were not picked out by team-mates.
Rafinha - 5.5 | Villa - 6.5 | Tello - 6.5
All eyes were on Messi prior to kick-off as the Argentinean star was just one goal away from matching Gerd Muller's all-time scoring record of 85 goals in a calendar year. It was a disappointment not to see him start but he eventually did get the call in the 58th minute and immediately Barcelona looked like a better team. His arrival forced Benfica to focus their marking on him and this allowed Villa and Tello the space they needed to make things happen offensively.
On a sour note, though, Messi limped off injured after contact from Artur as he tried to round the Benfica goalkeeper.
Pique (On 66') - 6.5 | Messi (On 58') - 7 | Deulofeu (On 78') - 6.5