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Thursday, 24 April 2014 22:45

Lima rocket gives Benfica lead to take to Turin

lima-juventus-20140424.jpgBenfica 2-1 Juventus

In a predictably tight game at the Estádio da Luz tonight Benfica earned a narrow lead to take to Italy in the second leg against an impressive Juventus side.

The hosts made a dream start as Garay rose well to head in Sulejmani's 2nd-minute corner. The goal clearly boosted the Eagles' confidence and had the crowd in full voice, with Sulejmani spurning a clear opening to double the lead.

A couple of lung-busting Siqueira runs and Markovic's lightning raids had Juve back-peddling, although Tevez was a constant menace at the other end, and it needed a timely Pérez interception to prevent the stocky striker from scoring a superb individual goal.

It was a different story in the second half, with the two-time (soon to be three-time) Italian champions bossing large portions of the match. It was little surprise when the irrepressible Tevez equalised, showing deft control to dribble past Luisão and calmly stroke into the net from close range in the 73rd minute.

Benfica were struggling to create chances, but ten minutes later the Portuguese champions re-took the lead with a wonderful goal. A swift move saw the ball worked to the edge of the box, with a clever Cavaleiro dummy creating a shooting chance for fellow substitute Lima. The Brazilian made no mistake with a thumping drive into the roof of the net.

Juventus pushed hard for a second equaliser in the closing minutes, with goalkeeper Artur making two fine saves to ensure Jorge Jesus' men go into the second leg with a lead. 

Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach:
"It was important to win, although 1-0 would have been better than 2-1. It was the first defeat for Juventus in the Europa League, but they showed what a strong team they are, like we did. We had to be defensively perfect not to concede, and we almost were. It was a great individual goal by Tevez. I knew nothing would be decided tonight, but we go into the second leg in a good position because we are winning."

Antonio Conte, Juventus coach:
"It's an unjust result. We conceded a preventable goal after two minutes and it boosted Benfica. After Tevez equalised they were struggling, but we went to sleep for their second goal. We're satisfied, it's wide open and we will do everything to get to the final."

by Tom Kundert

Artur, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Siqueira, André Gomes (Cavaleiro, 82), Markovic, Enzo Pérez, Sulejmani (André Almeida, 60), Rodrigo, Cardozo (Lima, 62)

Buffon, Chiellini, Cáceres, Bonucci, Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah, Vucinic (Giovinco, 66), Tévez (Osvaldo, 83)

[1-0] Garay, 2'
[1-1] Tevez, 73'
[2-1] Lima, 84'

Comments (9)
EL thoughts
9 Monday, 28 April 2014 20:27
I've been too busy lately to come on to this site, so here's some late thoughts on the match and tie. A good game to watch and a game of two halves with a result that leaves the tie in the balance and with everything to play for.

Benfica played a good first half and could've gone into the break with even more of a lead. Our second half display was mostly poor though as Juve really started to find their gears. Their central midfield is stronger than ours and they bossed the middle of the park in that second half. Thankfully we have such fire-power in this squad that we were able to steal the win in the closing minutes with a great goal. What a signing for the club Lima has been, a very consistent striker.

Anything could happen in the second leg in Torino and both teams will feel confident of making the final. Juve just need a 1-0 win to make it, and if there's any experts at getting 1-0 wins, it's Italian teams! Having said that, it's difficult for any team to stop Benfica scoring a goal on any ground, and indeed few opponents have stopped us from scoring in the last few years. An away goal in Italy would put us in a good position and I'm confident we can score there, we have the pace with players like Markovic and Rodrigo, to hurt them on the break. Too close to call the overall winner at this point, but whoever makes it will be worthy finalists.
8 Saturday, 26 April 2014 20:33
Another European powerhouse finds that a trip to Portugal can be a tough mission. Juve were overconfident and got bitten. Now they are on their heals. Turin will be tough though, and Benfica has to go there with a full and rested team. JJ has already announced that he will play his subs against Porto tomorrow, so Benica will have a full and well rested team against Juve next week. I love JJ's focus this year. If the subs can get up for this one and beat Porto, good on them, it can be a huge learning experience for some of these guys who have sat most of the year. If not, who cares, the real focus now is Europe.
Great game
7 Saturday, 26 April 2014 03:29
That was a very exciting game. I missed the early goal, but I greatly enjoyed the rest of the match. Even though Juventus had attacked more than Benfica did, I thought that for most of the game they were't dangerous.
The worst period of the game for Benfica was the time between Sulejmani's exit and Cavaleiro's entrance. That's when he had the most pressure and suffered. However, for the rest of the game, it was very exciting.

The second leg will be awesome. There will be goals to be seen! I hope Benfica progresses, but it's going to be tough!
Great Win
6 Friday, 25 April 2014 14:43
I really happy with the win. Juve is a quality team, which like Benfica, was very disappointed in their CL outcome.
We did miss Nico, since Sulejmani missed on a wonderful opportunity. His first touch failed him a couple of times.

We have all to play for at Juve. It won't be easy, but we never thought it would have been. The clean sheet would have been better, but I think that we can score anywhere, so the win could suffice.

I see Benfica concentrating on Europa, since we have the Chavena de Cha coming up. Porto should be going hard after it, since it's their last hope for Silverware, while we have Europa and the Taca.
That being said, I would love to see a great effort by our backups. We have enough quality to beat this Porto.
Funny that Rio Ave sits as a finalist for both the Chavena and Taca, while sitting 11th at the Table.

Mdot, I believe that the biggest difference in the rankings is that we'll sit comfortably in the CL Playoff spot for 3rd. Qualifiers have become harder and harder, so being able to play in the Playoff Round on about August 20 is better than starting Mid July.
Fortunate win
5 Friday, 25 April 2014 07:13
Benfica only stringed one attack together and that lead to Lima's great goal. A draw or even a loss would have been a fairer result.

I hope Jorge Jesus at least starts Lima next week, and switches his rotation so that the Liga team plays in the EL rather still in the Liga. That would be the only for Benfica to get a result in Turin.
Good result
4 Friday, 25 April 2014 03:46
Antonio Conte thinks that Juventus honoured Italian football today against Benfica. As a benfiquista, I think it's us who honoured Portuguese football.. after all, we the "underdogs" did take the win.

I'm so proud of this team for what they have accomplished and how they continue to put our league on the European map.

Benfica has the upper-hand (on paper) but I will say Juve dominated proceedings and we can't let that happen in Turin.

Here's hoping that Gaitan, Fejsa, and the rest our squad will be healthy come next Thursday and that we press them harder, and get that vital away goal.

They did outwork us today, no doubt.
3 Friday, 25 April 2014 01:57
Benfica are just on an amazing role. On a side note, if Benfica knockout Juvi, Portugal will over take Serie A as the 4th ranked league by UEFA.


You have to click 2015 to see that as of next season we will start the year ahead of Serie A as long as we knock them out! The next big jump to be a top 3 league with 4CL spots seems too far away but the idea that Portugal will likely have 3 CL spots for several years to come is great news for our Liga.

As for Benfica, lets see them win 4 titles!!!
Huge win!
2 Thursday, 24 April 2014 23:40
I was very impressed with how well we played, especially considering that we were missing two incredibly important players in Gaitan and Fejsa.

Garay and Luisao were both brilliant; Enzo and Gomes covered every blade of grass; and both Lima and Cavaleiro were fantastic off the bench.

It'll be fascinating to see how JJ approaches the second leg. Lima MUST get the start over Cardozo since he is much better suited to JJ's preferred tactical set-up. Lima's work-rate, pace, clever movement are crucial to the success of JJ's fluid 4-4-2.

Hopefully both Gaitan and Fejsa will be fit in time for the first leg. We really missed Nico's creativity and Fejsa's ball-winning ability.

Juve, however, was far from their best today and are more than capable of turning this around in Turin. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that we have more than enough quality to give them another great fight.

good result
1 Thursday, 24 April 2014 23:35
Alvaro Magalhaes - London, England
i can now keep dreaming for nearly a week that the jinx can be broken. anything is possible now. proud of this team.

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