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Thursday, 01 May 2014 22:17

Benfica draw in Turin to reach second successive Europa League final

benfica-celebs-turin-20140501.jpgJuventus 0-0 Benfica (agg. 1-2)

Benfica's season is rapidly reaching epic proportions. The Eagles are in the final of the Europa League after holding Juventus to a 0-0 draw in Turin to win the semi-final 2-1 on aggregate, despite finishing the match with nine men after Enzo Pérez was sent off and Garay had to go off injured.

Jorge Jesus' men went into the game buoyed by their weekend win over Porto in the Taça da Liga (Portuguese League Cup) semi-final. Having earlier booked their place in the Portuguese Cup final, Benfica were aiming to make it three finals in 2013/14, and their second successive appearance in the decisive match of the Europa League.

Fejsa was out injured and remarkably Salvio was on the bench (and would enter the fray late on) despite breaking his arm just 11 days ago. Nevertheless, with Ruben Amorim and Markovic in their place, it was an almost full-strength Benfica side that started the match extremely brightly. Rodrigo had a shot charged down in the opening exchanges as the visitors looked unfazed by the frenetic atmosphere.

Luisão to the rescue

But Juventus slowly began to take a tight grip on the game, thanks especially to the outstanding Pogba, albeit without creating anything in the way of clear-cut chances until the verge of half time. Asamoah's cross was met by the diving head of Vidal, and only a last-gasp headed clearance off the line from Luisão prevented a goal.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with Benfica enjoying some bright attacking moments. Rodrigo spurned a great chance to give the Portuguese team the lead in the 50th minute. A poor Chiellini clearance fell right at his feet 12 yards out, but the forward blazed his shot over the bar. Buffon then darted off his line to smother the ball from a swift Benfica break.

With time starting to tick away, Juventus began applying more and more pressure on Benfica, with the visitors failing to resist the temptation to retreat ever deeper into their own half. Pirlo brought a sharp save out of Oblak just after the hour mark with a typically well struck free kick, before Benfica suffered a big blow as Enzo Pérez picked up a second yellow card and took an early bath in the 67th minute.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte brought on a striker Giovinco for a defender Bonucci, but still a hard-working and disciplined Benfica did not crack. One passage of play when Markovic did superbly well to run back to cut out a dangerous cross, with Garay completing the clearance in acrobatic fashion, summed up the spirit of sacrifice and togetherness shown by Benfica all night.

Garay crocked

The hosts finally had the ball in the net, but the whistle had already gone for a Pogba offside in the build-up, and Benfica held on with surprisingly few alarms, especially considering they played the final 10 minutes with nine men after Garay was stretchered off having received a brutal, but unintentional, boot in the face from Pogba.

When over 8 minutes of stoppage time finally came to an end the Benfica delegation exploded in joy, along with 2,000 of their fans in the Juventus Arena. Coach Jorge Jesus brushed aside complaints from his opposite number that the Lisbon club had used time-wasting and anti-sporting tactics, saying he believed the best team over the two legs had won.

Jesus also noted that the only negative aspect from the night was the fact that Benfica will be without Enzo Pérez, Markovic (shown a red card after getting involved in a melee on the substitutes bench) and Salvio (shown an extremely harsh yellow card) who will all be suspended for the final, to be played at the same venue as tonight's match in two weeks' time.

by Tom Kundert

Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci (Sebastian Giovinco, 73), Martín Cáceres, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Kwadwo Asamoah, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal (Claudio Marchisio, 79), Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tévez, Fernando Llorente (Dani Osvaldo, 78)

Jan Oblak, Guillherme Siqueira, Ezequiel Garay, Luisão, Maxi Pereira, Rubén Amorim, Enzo Pérez, Nicolas Gaitán (Salvio, 77), Lazar Markovic (Miralem Sulejmani, 86), Rodrigo (André Almeida, 69), Lima

Comments (24)
Too excited to sleep
24 Wednesday, 14 May 2014 02:21
The start of this game can't come soon enough. Tomorrow we show the rest of Europe how high Eagles dare to fly!
NJ get real...
23 Thursday, 08 May 2014 14:52
Orlando Mac
You deserve the win for your support but let us be clear here.

Benfica loses to Porto this weekend.. and Sporting wins and the gap is fairly narrow at the end.. with double the amount of players to call from.

I stand by my assertion that unless we win the Europa this season is only on par with last, and if we get blown out by Sevilla than it is simply worse PERIOD.

You can add as many Tacas de Merda as you like.

The fact is those trophies have no value except for the cash they provide to the clubs in modern day football.

They both duplicate each other... I would rather you keep the Taca de Portugal.. as it is always good to see some minnows go deep, and instead of the Liga, have expanded Euro play, create a mini league in the Europa that would be open to the Champions League sides as well. So in essence to be brief.. you would have Champions League would become an actual league no playoffs of the top Euro nations and the Europa would become the Taca de Europa in knockout stages. Both champions would be huge.. both trophies would be huge... sure that would mean the likes of Estoril, Nacional, etc would almost never make it into Europe but who cares if they would.. when you could see better Euro games.

The Euro League and Taca would also mean cutting down teams and games in each nation as well to add more to the Champions League games.. but that is a good thing also.. you could also then add some value to the minnows in the FA Cup tournament with an incentive to winning it.

Also no one was discounting beating Juventus in Turin.. that was the highlight of this year and went counter to UEFA's plans.. that was a big feather.. in a lack lustre Euro campaign.. bar Spurs which was a decent result.

I haven't given up hope.. JJ still has a chance.. but we have been here before... and he needs to win this time if he really wants credit. The Liga is a good result... not great.. as I explained.

Should we just be happy with second places and default wins.. or should we strive for more???
Chris-2 Corrections
22 Sunday, 04 May 2014 21:26
It was 3 years of "failure" (if that's what you call second place), not 5. And as we all know, the last 2 years the title was lost in either the last or next to the last game of the season. Once on an offside goal incorrectly allowed to stand, and once on a wonder goal scored in the dying moments of injury time. Not exactly abject failure, in my opinion.

Victor Pereira did well and got a raw deal, but where is he now? Sweating his balls off somewhere in Saudi Arabia.

As for the CL, both teams should have advanced this year, no excuses. But JJ did make the quarterfinals in 2011 and remember that Lyon and Shalke were both very strong and Lyon even made the quarterfinals in 2010. No excuse last year, but remember that Celtic only advanced on a BS penalty in the dying seconds. Barca was the other advancing team in that group... But hey no excuses...

But my real beef is with your assertion that Rui Costa does nothing but PR work. Nothing could be further from the truth! He and LFV have been instrumental in reshaping the culture of this team and his work in the transfer market has been terrific. As a talent evaluator and de-facto General Manager, Costa has consistently found and acquired talented players, developed them and added value, and then sold them off for huge profits. There are always flops, for sure. But you are not being honest if you cannot admit that the entire culture of the team has been overhauled in this regard...

I respect your opinions and the friendly banter. I hope your team comes back strong. Porto need to hire their new coach immediately so he can hit the ground running and be ready for those August CL qualifiers.
Orlando and NJ
21 Sunday, 04 May 2014 14:34
Chris Canada
Orlando, Thanks for the kind words. NJ, I'm not criticizing JJ this season. I'm evaluating his 5 years in charge.

VP is a scrub? Really? Let's look at this simple stat:

Vitor Pereira: 2 years, 2 Portuguese league titles
Jorge Jesus: 5 years, 2 Portuguese league titles

Portistas were crying to have VP back this year. To call him a never was is absolutely ridiculous. He moved on because he was unappreciated.

In fact, that is where the real criticism lies. Benfica fans were more patient and supportive that. Porto fans and we paid for it this year (although I personally never wanted VP to leave).
Stop It
20 Saturday, 03 May 2014 18:50
Are you guys crazy. Granted we've only win the league so far but we're in three more finals. The Taca still means something folks. Europa would be great after playing so well verse Chelsea last year. The Chavena would just add to the tally and look better when it just becomes part of Silverware total.

This is not the campaign to knock JJ. Are we complaining about a European match from which we've advanced?
We may not want to believe it, but Juve has a very good team. We were better. That's GREAT.
It's not Glouriosos eyes, it's a fact, Benfica has been great.

Frankly I don't care that Porto collapsed or Sporting is still learning to walk.
Benfica dominated, DOMINATED, the league.
I just hope we can add more silverware.

What???? Vitor Perreira that's so coveted? Where is he right now? He's a never was never mind is.
Another Paciencia, who will fizzle away.

Benfica failed last campaign. I thought JJ should have left, apparently I was wrong. He's managed a talented squad that's winning.
Please stop it.
Nj.... whaaaa happened?
19 Saturday, 03 May 2014 13:41
Chris Canada
Do you deny that another coach with better credentials would have done better? Everyone craps on Vitor Pereira yet he was able to steal the title both years of his tenure with a lesser team.

Let's think about that for a minute. Would Vitor Pereira have taken back to back titles with SLB? Almost certainly. He kept a lesser Porto IN the champions league last year before Defour became a moron.

So I stand by what I say. JJ gets all the kudos this year but he's been forced into learning the hard way after 5 long years of failure. And Rui Costa? Really? I'm sure he's a nice guy but what doss he really do at the club aside from posing for pictures and kissing babies.

I'm just saying Benfas should be thankful to the real man responsible and that man is LFV as well as the players.
I am with the Portista's
18 Saturday, 03 May 2014 12:27
Orlando Mac
Extremely classy of both of them Chris & Andrew to come on and give their fair opinions as well as Joao from Hollanda.

I am glad the days of hating other teams in Portugal for the sake of it are done.

Like me they share a deep respect for Portuguese soccer no matter the crest on the chest.

We have to work as a unit if Portugal is to reach a higher standing, and they like I do have more lofty goals..

Think about it with a population of 10 million our country has managed to surpass nations all of which have at least 4 times our size.

How Russia with their wealth and population base doesn't dominate I will never know.

NJ the only thing you got right is that Benfica's harshest critics are their own. I probably fit into that category.. and the red glasses don't fog my vision as they do with you.

Chris is spot on.... I really respect him and every word he puts to paper.. because he is objective and looks at things from the outside.. and he is breeding with his comments more Porto fans that are objective. As I have always tried to do in a red shirt. Hats off to you Chris.. you are a man with vision.

I have ridden JJ hard through his whole tenure, and I am still hoping he can prove me wrong, at any point I would like more than anything to proclaim his genius. But the facts don't match the results.

Chris is spot on Benfica has had the best squad 4 out of 5 seasons... clearly.. and the two liga championships we have won by default because Porto had a difficult season.

Last year the teams were closer and JJ totally blew all the big games in the end, not the players, JJ. His direct player rotations, his direct decisions, decided all those matches. His inability to manage cost us as it has cost us every season.

I can appreciate NJ that Benfica winning this season that you want to shine it up, to make everything great, but it is not.

The facts are that Porto had a horrible season and kicking a horse especially such a strong horse when it is down is not cool.

I appreciate I ain't the norm, I want to see Benfica mighty, I want Porto to be strong as F.. and Sporting to be a heavyweight. I also wish that the Braga's, VG's, and Boavista's to pick up their game, and reach that height also.

I want to dominate Europe as Spain is doing with a small population base. The Iberian Pennisula has dominated European football and their trophies for a while, I would just like for us to swap shoes with Spain. I want Porto & Benfica to win the CL repeatedly.. Sporting too... and have Spain pick up the Europa's. I appreciate those are lofty goals.. but they are my own none the less.

My success rate isn't as low as yours NJ, a Liga trophy that I value because Porto has made it so difficult has a lot of lustre, but I want to beat them at their best not worst.

European crowns are my crown jewels and all I aspire to, and have ever wanted.

That is the magic and I want to win them consistently. I would like more than anything a Benfica v Porto CL final.. and a win of course... with Porto smashing every opposition in sight. I want to beat Porto at their best at the highest level.. and I want to do it in dominating fashion, like we saw in Eusebio's day.

I appreciate those goals are far fetched, but I do think we have the clubs to do it. I welcome exchanging CL crowns with Porto every season, pushing each other forward.

Let us jettison to the modern day where Portugal has climbed into 4th on the Euro Liga rankings, no major benefit as it doesn't change much, but with our population base and with the deep results of our national team it says a lot. Hopefully it will lead to more TV Deals as we play such a fire wagon brand of footie.. and we can move from a developmental league to becoming a heavyweight, out and out.

Andrew is spot on UEFA doesn't want to see Benfica win, they want a champion from a more populace nation, better for marketing.. no matter what actually transpires on the pitch. Their dream final would of pitted a Spain side vs the Old Lady in Turin, now I don't think they were cheating as much as it is a cognitive bias, that has a rub on the match... just as we get the rub sometimes in the Liga... as all major clubs do.

So we have to win just as we did against Juve without the rub.. and with a shortened bench. We have the squad to do it, and if anything I think the Portuguese contingent will have a major hand in that.

The fact is this season hasn't been that successful, could barely beat Anderlecht and couldn't get a positive result ever with Olympiakos.. which is a piss poor team at best.

Now Benfica has improved over the season.. and at this point with some favourable draws in the EL are back on par with last seasons team once again on the big stage.

You want to talk about JJ.. well the game in Turin will decide it, Benfica's whole season rests on that one match.

Win and it was a fantastic year, JJ is a great manager, LFV is a scouting genius... etc.. lose and win a few Tacas de Merda.. and for me this season was a fail compared to last season.. where we should've won it all if not for JJ.

Losing in the final of the Europa when you had an extremely favourable draw except for Juve.. and beating Porto when they had a rough season.. is nothing to boast about.

Last season we should've beat Chelsea with a more difficult draw.. and beat Porto with a better team.. in the end JJ cost us all that.

Chris is spot on when he talks about LFV.. the last few seasons he made some class buys.. a few and after the collapse.. he went wild and bought too many.. in the hopes of providing enough bullets in the chamber so that JJ's russian roulette would be successful.

JJ has double the squad he had from last.. and even the scrubs have extreme talent.

But JJ is still woeful at squad selection, he still manages by pay cheque.. and if it was not for the extreme talent he would've lost everything again.

These results aren't from his brilliant management, they are on the back of some extremely talented players, who got together figured each other out.. and don't want to lose.. Porto's demise just fueled their confidence.

JJ doesn't know defence.. at all... now he is supposed to be a defensive genuis.. get real.. zebras have stripes they have always been there.. always...never change.

The players have elevated themselves as a unit.. it is clear as day.

Luisao is having a monstrous season you think JJ taught him that. Amorim had a brutal season last year.. do you think that JJ improved him.. Enzo was crushing last season do you think JJ.. helped him with this..

In the end it comes down to one match.

I would love more than anything to see a perfect game with great decisions.. and we win.

It once again rests on JJ... we have the team.. now can he finally do it....?

I want to hail JJ.. so far I haven't seen it..

Come on JJ.. make me change my words.. I want it to happen.. I have that bias.. make it so.

Win the game JJ...!!!

We want it...

Do it with style..

Prove me wrong.. please.. I am begging you...

I know you smash you car repeatedly in real life.. I know you smashed the Benfica train repeatedly...

Change your stripes.. go outside the box.. and be masterful.. so that I can praise you!! It is all I want.

Fantastic Win, Conte is a jerk
17 Friday, 02 May 2014 20:45
Coach Conte who called Benfica the "Juventus of Portugal". NO, NO, NO Mr Conte, Benfica are nothing like Juventus and here is why;

1. Benfica was never tried and convicted of match fixing and sent to serie B and league titles stripped.

2. Benfica never had their chief doctor convicted of providing EPO (banned blood boosters) to players in the 1990's.

3. Benfica fans are never involved in brawls, riots, causing deaths.

4. No monkey chants in Lisbon, nor banana throwing like the ones directed recently at Kevin Prince Boateng and Balotelli.

Anyhow the better team won. Conte was setting up excuses right from the start, obviously he knew they were in trouble and paved the road for the endless excuses he spouted off before/during and after the matches.

Juventus could not finish, how about blaming the people responsible, the players! NOPE, coach Conte blames everyone not associated with Juventus, classy guy.

As alwys the better team went through and how crazy is this, the classier coach (JJ) goes through as well? What is the world coming too?? HAHA

Hey Old lady, the fat lady has sung.
Thank You & Whaaaaaaaa
16 Friday, 02 May 2014 20:04
I apologize for stating Macedonia, since I clearly knew it was Montenegro. Steve, thanks for the Montenegro/Serbian relations info. I was unaware of it since I thought was more like the Croatian/Serbian mess. Yes, I know, "mess" doesn't give it justice. Incredible ugly stuff.

Chris, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
The harshest critics Benfica has is Benfica fans themselves. While most screamed for JJ's head, LFV and Rui Costa kept their cool and saw the real picture. It was an excruciating end to the campaign, but players were still being developed, bringing in profit and the overall standing of the club was good. LFV deserves all the credit for that.
That being said, you can't deny JJ's touches this campaign. Benfica has played successful attacking, counter attacking and defensive futebol. Most impressive, is how JJ has kept rarely used players focused mentally and ready physically. No matter who was on the field, the squad played as a unit.
This is not the campaign to go after JJ. I'm sorry but this club did not accomplish everything in spite of JJ.

There's still plenty of futebol left to play, and nothing is secured. We've won the league, and I'm very hopeful in our other finals. Hopefully our Silverware cabinet will need a '13/'14 wing.
15 Friday, 02 May 2014 17:39
Firstly, congratulations to Benfica on all that they have achieved this season.

Obviously, as a Porto fan, I am disappointed by our season and wish we had put up a better fight against Benfica domestically, but that wasn't to be.

Credit where it's due, Benfica have bounced back remarkably after last seasons disaster and their resilience has seen them qualify for three finals despite having a numerical disadvantage in all games, for considerable amounts of time.

It's interesting to see Conte complain about Mark Clattenburg's display last night. I think if anyone has the right to complain, it's Benfica. It was clear right from the first minute who he favoured - and it wasn't the away side.

UEFA tried their best to see that Juventus progressed, but they failed, thankfully - and over the two legs, Benfica deserved to progress.

Pogba should have been sent off. This is football, not UFC. If Salvio's unintentional handball was a yellow, then Pogba's challenge was a jail sentence.

Apart from an offside goal and a header late on, Juventus were poor. Sure, Benfica set up to defend, something which Conte also criticised, which is a bit rich coming from an Italian.

Hopefully Benfica can bring the title back to Portugal, but I am sure UEFA will do their best to give the title to Sevilla.

Good luck, Benfica.
Thoughts from a Portista
14 Friday, 02 May 2014 13:51
Chris (Canada)
First things first, congratulations. Well done to the Aguias, and their fans for all the support. Should be a decent final that is Benfica's to lose.

Secondly, and more controversially... Jorge Jesus does not care about Portuguese people. Lol, that's what Pedro Mendes formerly of Sporting and now playing in Italy thinks. But I am just saying that for Kanye West levels of shock value. He's been better using Portugueezers this year. However, my real point: JJ is overrated. Especially by Benfas.

Can we be honest for a second? It's taken the guy 5 years to repeat as national champions, and while it is his 3rd semi-final or final in Europe, these are all Europe leagues, which are still impressive, but with a Champion's League- level team.

The real unsung hero for Benfica is not JJ but LFV who has given JJ the tools to win. Not only did he give the guy the tools, but he even did some "back-seat coaching" when JJ couldn't figure out that left-back was horribly weak, so he stepped in, got rid of Malgarejo, got rid of Bruno Cortez and got Siqueira and Silvio from Spain. He essentially forced JJ to address the left-back issue.

That said, at least JJ has FINALLY learned something adter all these years and has achieved what he should have done anyways since he's had the best team in Portugal the last 4 out of 5 years. I hope Benfas aren't insulted by this, but a better coach would have gotten them a lot further by now.

Anyways, back to the positive. The defending looked good, and I agree with a few on here that Luisao has been the real unsung hero on this team. He's played virtually every game and has been top-class and has stolen the spotlight from guys like Mangala and Maicon who were getting all the plaudits the last few years. Well done.

It was pretty satisfying to see the poor sportsmanship of the Italians (complaining to UEFA, diving non-stop, underestimating Benfica) being rewarded with the loss they deserved. And while I may have often complained of JJ's poor manner's and country-boy etiquette in the past, he looks like a regular gentleman compared to everyone's favourite match-fixing coach, Antonio Conte. What a sore loser and whiner. Glad to see the just desserts.

Best of luck to the Eagles in the final. Keep pushing that coefficient up fellas!

Markovic vs Vucinic
13 Friday, 02 May 2014 12:36
@NJ/USA/SLB - Just to clarify Vucinic is Montenegran which is quite different to Macedonian as firstly the Montenegran language is almost the same as Serbian and they have the closest ties with Serbia historically (WW1) and were the last or should I say latest republic (Kosovo has not been officially recognised yet) to split from Serbia. He has also played a few games for Serbia when they were Serbia and Montenegro.

Anyways, does anyone know what Markovic did to get sent off? The video replays that I have found on the internet doesn't really show anything
NJ Macedonia is tied to the Greeks
12 Friday, 02 May 2014 10:43
Orlando Mac
You meant Montenegro.. I think that is how it is spelt... carry on celebrating tho.. you deserve it...
11 Friday, 02 May 2014 08:35
I keep thinking that this season can't possibly get any better for our club, and every week it just keeps getting to a higher level. Absolutely outstanding season from every player and from JJ. As if beating our great rivals Porto with 10 men for most of the match twice in 3 weeks wasn't enough...we go and beat Juve with 9 players for the last 10 minutes. Simply stunning!

It's amazing how good a defensive unit we are this season, and compared with the last few seasons when defence was our clear weak point. Shows that JJ is a talented coach who has learned from his errors of the past and put special emphasis on improving the defence this year, and boy has it paid dividends.

Yes Juve had more of the ball and we defended for the most part, but firstly they never really had us on the ropes, Oblak wasn't under constant serious pressure...and secondly an Italian team can't complain about their opponent defending, how many times have Italian teams done just that, down the years? My feelings about this semi were pretty accurate, they have the stronger midfield so would likely dominate the ball most of the time, but we had the fire-power necessary to win the tie, and so it proved.

And now for the final. Sevilla will be a tough opponent as all top Spanish teams are, La Liga is unquestionably the strongest league in Europe as the CL final confirms. However Sevilla don't have the strongest defence, they conceded 3 last night against a Valencia team missing their main striker, and also conceded 7 at the Bernabeu earlier this season. We have the fire-power to exploit this. Yes Enzo and Markovic are blows for the final, but the club should appeal against Salvio's rediculous yellow card. Either way I have full confidence that whoever comes in to play in their place in the final will give their all. We've been rotating all the way through to get to the final, so we can do more of it in the final itself. So proud of this team! Forca Sempre!!!!
10 Friday, 02 May 2014 07:28
Absolutely amazing, hats of to JJ and Benfica, they're defensive display was top notch. They do need to improve a bit on going forward though, Buffon had nothing to do for 90 minutes.

Shame about Salvio missing the final, getting a yellow because a ball hits your arm is plain ridiculous.
Great result...
9 Friday, 02 May 2014 04:22
Orlando Mac
Beating the Italians and shutting them out in Turin was an amazing result... which in my eyes finally catapults this Benfica side to the level of last season (JJ's epic collapse removed).

But in the end it is the big games that count.. and winning the Europa League will make this team result better than last season.

JJ choked it all last season, with a deep roster.. with an even deeper roster and having the benefit of already having played at this stadia I think Benfica's chances are good.

Sure it would've been nice to have Perez.. as he has been a monster for us in the last two seasons.. but hopefully.. Benfica can have the yellow against Salvio recinded.. so he can play... Garay makes a full recovery... Markovic was silly but hopefully Andre Gomes who is a star on the rise can fill his boots and do us proud!!! Great time to showcase your talent to the world.

I found it hilarious that the Italians... THE ITALIANS complained about time wasting & negative tactics.. who do you think the world learned that crap from??? 9 men B*tches!!! 9 men!!

It is with great pleasure that with Benfica's result against the Old Bird.. I think we have enough co-efficient points for the Liga to finally surpass Snoria A.

In these parts of the world that is gold... with so many obnoxious Italians living in the GTA... (in all fairness I have many great friends that are Italian..) but the bad outweigh the good out here by a considerable margin.. they like to burn Portuguese flags around here for fun.

Who burned who baby.. hopefully we can pick up a trophy in their park to crown the achievement.

An early exit by Italy in the WC with Portugal going deep.. would just add icing to the cake.

Step back negative blue footie boys.. the talented chops are walking through...

Time for JJ to ice those big game faux paux's.. let's win this thing.. so we can dance in the streets.. !!!

SLB... SLB... SLB.. Glorioso... SLB... Glorioso.. SLB
8 Friday, 02 May 2014 02:25
Incredible run. This Benfica has been everything for everyone. Whether its offensive, counter attacking or defensive futebol, they've excelled.
The backline was incredible all match long. It really was nail biting watching them hold such a highline and yet step up further to catch them offsides. The whole squad worked, once again, as unit that was very well drilled. Lets give JJ some well deserved credit.

Conte/Juve will complain, but plenty of pundits I heard out of England and US sites, have completely praised Benfica.

To be fair, I do want to mention that although there was plenty of chirping coming from Juve before the match, I read plenty of garbage coming from Benfica as well. Expected.

Reaching yet another Final is incredible. I do feel that we'll miss Enzo and his leadership out on the field. Having Markovic and Salvio also unavailable will also be a problem.
On a side note, I wonder how much Vucinic being from Macedonia and Markovic from Serbia had an effect on the altercation between them. Did youthful exuberance/ignorance get the best of Markovic, or elderly stubbornness/ignorance get the best of Vucinic?
Ref was a twit
7 Friday, 02 May 2014 01:53
Rui / Canada
I can't believe Juve has the gall to blame the ref. Benfica surely have the greater gripe against his performance.

The first yellow against Enzo was harsh. A definite foul, but he had coverage from his team mates. The red for Markovic was ridiculous - he was just trying to be a peacemaker, and the booking on Salvio was retarded.

Clattenburg must have gelled his fauxhawk in to too tight of a point...
Amen brother!!!!
6 Friday, 02 May 2014 01:51
No stopping the Benfica express! All Aboard!! Haters can take a back seat, because an unheard of 4 trophy haul is in the cards for this wonderful squad. The suspensions are a bit worrisome, but that's the whole reason for a having a deep, well drilled, and properly rotated squad. Haters are always going to hate, but that's part of the game too. (you know who you are!!!)

Nothing is going to take the shine and luster off of this squad and what they have achieved this year!!!

Viva as Glorioso's

Eu sou o Campeou! Eu sou o Benfiquista!!

Viva as Encarnados!!!!

PdC and BdC: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

So absolutely proud to be a Benfiquista
5 Friday, 02 May 2014 01:05
A Bunch of Thoughts
4 Friday, 02 May 2014 00:39
1) BENFICAAAAA!! I would consider Benfica favorites for all three finals, having already beaten Rio Ave twice this season, and only slightly over Sevilla.

2) Shame that Salvio and Markovic will be out of the final. Maybe Cavaleiro will start with Gaitan.

3) Is la Liga better than Serie A? Overall, I don't think so. However, I think that we managed to beat Juventus, the reigning champions, and Porto beat Napoli, I would say our top teams are better than theirs. But as a league, I don't think so.

4) I feel like Luisao is the reason for our success this year. Perez has been getting a lot of attention, but I feel like Luisao is our years MVP. He's done brilliantly this year, and I am never afraid of him messing up (unlike Artur). He handles his defensive duties very well.

5) I hope Garay will be back soon. He deserves to play in the finals.

6) Overall, this Benfica is better than last years. We had a lot of luck making it to the Europa League final, and our only goal of the game was a penalty. We had a lot of bad luck too, but this year the team puts the fate into their own hands.

All in all, Benfica has had an amazing season. Ironic, that Matic left to go to a bigger club, yet here we are close to winning four trophies, while Chelsea will end up with none.
3 Friday, 02 May 2014 00:36
This season just keeps on getting better and better!

An absolutely extraordinary performance from the boys. Jorge Jesus again proved his credentials with yet another tactical masterclass.

Love this team
2 Friday, 02 May 2014 00:19
Love this team... what more can I say.

I got to work but just couldn't focus as my sleep deprived body (I have been waking up at 3 and 5 am for the past few months to watch the league, Europa and cup games) was full of adrenaline after that amazing performance.

Credit to Jorge Jesus, he got the tactics right and we took our chances in the first league when they came. Conte was scared to gamble and went the safe option of having 3 centre backs and ultimatley when his team tried to come out and score they looked a bit predictable. Still it could have only taken one moment of Pirlo or Tevez magic and it could have been a different story.

Benfica this year

The team has played with so much passion, determination and each player looks like they would die for the other one. Benfica fans suffered so much last season but I believe you must experience the bad to appreciate the good and that is exactly what is happening now. Credit has to go to management for keeping faith with Jorge Jesus. He's proven he is a top manager and also has done wonderful to bond a multi national team together so well. He has also found replacements for stars that have left. I'm particularly excited to see Bernardo Silva make the first team next year

On a side note about of co-efficients (Porto and Sporting), we are now up to 4th as Tom tweeted earlier but it will be a battle next season to keep that place as our ranking was inflated by the 10/11 season when Porto and Braga made the Europa league final. If you take that season away then we are probably 5th. Anyways, it is glad to see Sporting back at the top and continuing to improve. I also hope Porto can regroup as we need a strong season to maintain 4th in the European league rankings. I know Porto fans might now agree with me but I think their team has not been terrible but rather it is a combination of poor play, poor coaching and the others i.e. Benfica and Sporting getting better.

On a final note, we need a strong showing in Europe next year from the other teams like Estoril and Nacional etc.. Braga have let us down this year but hopefully they can turn it around next year and the other top sides outside the big 3 like Guimaraes, Boavista and possible Belenenses (I think they will stay up) can stabilise and start making Europe more often. To maintain our country club ranking, we need everyone to pull their weight in Europe and not just the big 3
Unheard of season
1 Friday, 02 May 2014 00:04
Just an outstanding season. I don't think I've ever heard of any club in the world clinch 3 back to back finals with 10 men. I think it was over 200mins with 10men.

We'll be without Salvio, Markovic, and Enzo for the final. While we won't be at our strongest, since JJ has rotated so much we have quality options.

Those Italians had so much trash talking and dirty tactics before the game, love the fact that we knocked them out and in the process overtook SerieA as a better and stronger league.

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