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Thursday, 13 March 2014 17:16

Porto and Benfica win on memorable night for Portuguese football

Eagles beat Tottenham convincingly, Porto edge past Napoli

Porto-ok.gifBenfica badge.jpgeuropa-league-logo.jpgIt was a positive night for Portuguese football in the Europa League. FC Porto gained a narrow but deserved advantage over Napoli with a 1-0 victory thanks to a Jackson Martínez goal. Benfica continued their incredible run of form (now 22 wins, 2 draws in 24 matches) with a thrilling 3-1 win away at Tottenham Hotspur to all but book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.


Porto 1-0 Napoli

Jackson gives improving Porto advantage going into second leg

Luís Castro was looking to build on his good start to life as the new FC Porto coach. The Dragons had beaten Arouca 4-1 in the League on Sunday, and the players certainly looked more confident as the home team started brightly.

Quaresma, Carlos Eduardo and Jackson Martínez were causing plenty of problems for Napoli. The latter two combined well in the 12th minute, with Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina producing an astonishing reaction save to keep out Jackson's shot from point-blank range.

Porto goal wrongly ruled out

On 20 minutes the two combined again, Eduardo heading in Jackson's cross, but the goal was ruled out for offside, erroneously as TV replays would show. Napoli's game plan was evidently to soak up pressure and hit Porto on the break, but as the half wore on the Italian outfit saw more of the ball, often near the Porto box, albeit without manufacturing clear chances.

Porto came out of the blocks quickly once again in the second half, Fernando's 30-yard strike bringing another sharp save out of Reina, diving full length to his left.

Napoli then came desperately close to pinching an away goal on three occasions in quick succession. Behrami, Higuaín, Callejón all were within inches of scoring from close range, a mixture of excellent goalkeeping for Helton and some poor finishing saving Porto.

Deadly Jackson

In Napoli's best spell it would be Porto who scored. A corner went across the box and Jackson Martínez showed tremendous technique to hit a volleyed cross-shot through a sea of legs low into the corner of the net.

The goal settled Porto, and Castro sent out the message to keep going forward with attacking substitutions, Quintero and Ghilas entering the fray. Quintero so nearly made it 2-0 in the 82nd minute, his bundled effort beating Reina but coming back off the post.

But Zapato nearly grabbed a late equaliser on two occasions in an exciting end to the match. Porto will be happy with the result but know the tie is far from over. The second leg is played in Naples next Thursday.

by Tom Kundert
FC Porto:
Helton, Danilo, Maicon, Mangala, Alex Sandro, Fernando, Defour, Carlos Eduardo, Quaresma, Jackson, Varela

Napoli:
Reina, Réveillère, Albiol, Britos, Ghoulam, Henrique, Behrami, Callejón, Hamsik, Insigne, Higuaín


Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Benfica

Ruthless Benfica claim Europa advantage

A rare Luisão brace helped the Eagles to a 2-goal advantage in their Europa League last 16 tie against English side Tottenham.
 
Benfica, who are seven points clear of their nearest rivals atop the Primeira Liga, were helped on their way by a Rodrigo strike as well as the Luisão double either side of a Christian Eriksen free-kick to put themselves in a commanding position in the tie.
 
Coach Jorge Jesus rotated the XI a little less than has been his norm in Europe this season with Lima, Nico Gaitán and Enzo Perez taking their place on the bench, Cardozo leading the line with Rodrigo. 
 
They were changes that took time to reap results as their hosts, who were coming off the back of a 4-0 defeat at rivals Chelsea last weekend, had the bulk of the early possession with Benfica happy to keep their shape. It took nearly a half hour for Benfica to have their first sight of goal, but they were clinical with the opportunity.
 

Clinical 

After a Tottenham attack faltered the ball broke to Ruben Amorim in midfield who sliced the high-line of Tottenham and set Rodrigo clear who took two touches before coolly placing it in the far corner for a 28th-minute lead to stun their hosts.
 
The goal saw the home fans quickly grow frustrated with their side’s efforts as Benfica began to play at their own pace and gradually got on top of their hosts as the half drew to a close.
 
The 2nd half started similarly to the first as Tottenham came out of the traps quickest and could have drawn level after a Eriksen break played in Adebayor who horribly scuffed his shot harmlessly wide in what proved to be as close as the Togo striker would get on the night.
 
Benfica’s condensed defensive shape forced errors from a ever-increasingly nervy Tottenham and it was that nervy side which presented Benfica with their second of the night. 
 

Amorim assist again

The bright Amorim dispossessed Harry Kane before seeing his driven effort tipped over the bar by Lloris after a quick one-two with Cardozo. It was Amorim who took the inswinging corner which was met perfectly by an unmarked Luisão at the near post, who nodded it in past Lloris and sent the near 4,000 Benfica support into delirium.
 
With a sparkling defensive record in recent weeks it was going to take something special to beat the under-worked Jan Oblak in the Benfica goal – and that was exactly what happened. After Sílvio tripped Harry Kane, picking up a booking in the process, Christian Eriksen stepped up and curled a peach of a free-kick over the wall and in with Oblak beaten all ends up. It was a fantastic strike from the Dane and lifted the subdued home support briefly.
 
Jesus rang the changes with Enzo and Gaitán coming on for Sulejmani and Cardozo, and Benfica’s control of the game never wavered. A Lloris miss-read of a long punt upfield nearly saw Rodrigo in for his second, but the keeper recovered just in time to claw it behind for a corner. 
 
As the home fans urged their side forward in search of an equaliser, it was the Eagles who restored their two-goal advantage.
 

Luisão lashes in goal number three

After another Spurs attack broke down, Markovic surged forward twenty yards with ease before playing an over-hit ball to Gaitán who was clumsily upended in the left corner for a free-kick. From the free-kick taken by the diminutive no.20, Garay forced a smart low save by Lloris, but the ball fell to Luisão who thundered it home to make it 3-1 and put the Portuguese league leaders in a good position to make the quarter-final.
 
It was nearly four in the dying embers as Gaitán played in Siqueira who tried to chip Lloris unsuccessfully. The referee bought the game to a close as touchline relations disappeared with no handshake forthcoming between the managers. Jesus’ gesture following his side’s third angered his opposite number. Tim Sherwood made no qualms about his dislike for Jesus’ conduct, with the Portuguese coach attempting to downplay the incident.
 
The controversy failed to take the shine of (another) superb Benfica display, who became the first Portuguese team to win at White Hart Lane. It would require a truly remarkable turnaround for the Eagles not to complete the job next Thursday in Lisbon.
 
by Stuart Court, at White Hart Lane
 

Tottenham:
Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Naughton, Kyle Walker (Danny Rose, 76), Younes Kaboul, Sandro (Nabil Bentaleb, 82), Christian Eriksen, Paulinho, Aaron Lennon, Harry Kane (Roberto Soldado, 75), Emmanuel Adebayor

Benfica:
Jan Oblak, Ezequiel Garay, Guillherme Siqueira, Silvio, Luisão, Miralem Sulejmani (Enzo Pérez, 66), Rubén Amorim, Lubomir Fejsa, Rodrigo (Lima, 87), Lazar Markovic, Cardozo (Nicolas Gaitán, 65)

Goals:
[0-2] Rodrigo, 29'
[0-2] Luisão, 58'
[1-2] Eriksen, 64'
[1-3] Luisão, 83'



Comments (30)
An Iberia Liga would be an awful idea
30 Tuesday, 18 March 2014 12:20
NJ/USA/SLB
A quick comment on the mentioned Iberia League.
Horrible idea.

How Portuguese teams do people see being in the first division of that league?
Our mid to lower league teams are woeful. Granted Spain's aren't much better.
Spain's economy is in the sh*ter, so two bad economies don't make a great one. There's plenty of successful La Liga clubs without a jersey sponsor. Sevilla comes to mind.
If anything, it would actually mean more revenue, a lot more, for Portugals big three. Benfica's TV revenue will increase duque to facing Real and Barca at the very least twice a year.
The minnows will continue to earn little.

As a Benfica fan, I should want an Iberia Liga, but as futebol fan I think its a horrible idea.
@ (NJ/USA/SLB)
29 Monday, 17 March 2014 18:03
Val/Canada
Good points NJ but lets not forget Pacos was gutted last season. If they went into this season with that same squad intact they could of done something in Europa. All their top players sold, coach gone and they replaced everybody with cheap bargin bin knock offs and cast aways (Bebe).

Also the 2 goals they scored on Guimaraes were crazy, watch the video of those goals, Bebe and Sergio Oliverira goals were = WoW!

Guimaraes is the biggest example of what bad owners/directors can do to a team. These guys should be challenging for 3rd to 5th every year and playing Europa all the time, yet they sit mid table, floundering. The best thing about Guimaraes are the cheerleaders/exotic dancers they got going there. haha
RE: Merging Leagues
28 Sunday, 16 March 2014 16:57
Dan DaSilva/ United States
I'm not trying to spread negativity here, only solutions. So here it goes...why not merge the Primeira Liga with La Liga? Similar solutions have worked before, look at American football's AFL-NFL.
just a view
27 Sunday, 16 March 2014 12:41
brad messado (england)
no question Quaresma has been in great form and he still would not quite in his peak of match fitness. By the time the season has finished he will be physically and technically at his best and then it is just a case of deciding if he has done enough to prove that he is worthy of a spot in the national team. His work rate has been top notch since returning and we all know his ability so lets just see how he finishes up. He looks like a man on a mission to make the world cup and who could blame him for having that mentality. Bare in mind that when him and Ronaldo play together it seems to work as you cannot leave either one on one.

As for the selling league debate there is so much that would need to be done that is unreal. Only if the Iberian league, which was talked about a couple of years ago became a reality would the big clubs be able to hold on to there players and the smaller clubs have a chance to develop slightly by keeping their best youth players. The money lost from a lack of TV revenue is so crucial and only a repackaging would help the Portuguese league along side with fans actually turning up without this nothing can change.
Big clubs underachieving
26 Sunday, 16 March 2014 12:29
Golden/Porto
You hit the nail on the head, NJ/USA/SLB.

Estoril and Nacional situated in front of Braga, Guimaraes and Academica is, quite frankly, detrimental to the league. What happens when the likes of Estoril, Nacional, Pacos and clubs of similar size come out in Europe and are supposed to perform? They're getting shattered – simply because the aforementioned clubs' objectives aren't pompous enough to deliver in Europe.

Take this season to illustrate. Guimaraes was, as I knew was going to happen, the only club of Pacos, Estoril and namely Guimaraes who actually delivered in the EL group stages. In addition to landing the toughest group, Guimaraes managed a positive goal difference as well as exhibiting solid, point-worthy performances against Lyon and Betis. Estoril were playing well to a certain extent, yes – though mainly due to their brilliant coach – but ended up with a negative goal difference of three in a more manageable group than Guimaraes. No point in discussing Pacos.

I accordingly believe inconsistency among the top is what has held us back from sniffing the top three leagues. One consistently performing elite of 7-9 clubs with, say, Porto, Benfica, Sporting, Braga, Guimaraes, Academica, Boavista, Belenenses and Setubal would see our great clubs outside the top three perform far better in Europe.

Or does anyone want to see our lesser clubs alternately stumbling in Europe over and over?
Sagres
25 Sunday, 16 March 2014 01:08
NJ/USA/SLB
Oops, meant to say P Fereira.
Had Gil Vicente on the brain since I'm pulling for them.
Guimaraes lost to P Fereira at home.
Shameful.

Who ever is in charge of Guimaraes should be arrested. Somebody has pocketed a lot of money. Plenty of it came from the Bebe swindle.
Ding Ding Ding
24 Sunday, 16 March 2014 00:05
NJ/USA/SLB
Just in time to prove my point;
How exactly does Guimaraes lose to Rio Ave at home?

You can argue that Rio Ave is actually being run to capacity and they should be proud, while Guimaraes is an absolute joke.
Defeatist? More like reality.
23 Saturday, 15 March 2014 15:39
NJ/USA/SLB
"NJ, that defeatist attitude is typical Portuguese"

I'm a realist.
I may agree that the FPF is a joke, but our league can't come anywhere near others in revenue, which lessens quality.
We can't change the fact that Portugal only has 11 million people. That's just not enough to draw TV revenue, and by all accounts, stadium revenue.
Yes the Portuguese League has some quality teams and players, and for the most part plays some attractive futebol. I'm just saying that they can't generate enough revenue to remain relevant, hence all the inconsistency throughout the league.
After our Big Three (two the last few campaigns, and I guess I should give Braga some credit as well) how has the rest of the league done. Where's last campaigns Europa League qualifiers? Did they even sniff advancing?

Big transfers may weaken our big squads, but it also draws eyes to the teams and league. Those eyes brings revenue to the clubs and league. It also helps in recruiting the necessary talent from abroad.
If Benfica and Porto didn't have the transfer revenue, they would fall off the world stage. Take a look at Sportings finances.
Lastly, I may agree that clubs are horribly run. Guimaraes has a loyal fan base, but they've been run into the ground. I also believe that there's clubs that have done nothing towards bringing in revenue. Setubal comes to mind.

As for Benfica, Porto, etc... maintaining their players, it's not possible. We just can't match other leagues wages.
I for one, am thrilled that Portugal is able to obtain so much world class talent. If you take a look at the players that have gone through our league, it's incredible. I take pride on that fact.
Victor and Val
22 Saturday, 15 March 2014 15:05
Justin/rochester
I hear you. Like I said I understand the criticism in the past I really do. I've wanted to throw the remote at the tv plenty of times when quaresma did something stupid. To be honest though, with only nani potentially being more impactful than quaresma...its hard to not have him on the team in my opinion. I really think nani plays the same way as quaresma for the most part anyways. We're splitting hairs when you compare the two. So it comes down to form and quaresma is playing regularly and nani isn't and won't in England. Valencia, Ashley young and the Belgian kid and mata will play over nani. Let's say just for the sake of numbers that nani starts 5 more games the rest of the year which I doubt. Quaresma will play every single game. I think victor said something about connecting with players. I totally agree with you but I think where we view things differently is their aren't any better wingers that bento will call up better than quaresma. I mean honestly who is actually better at connecting than quaresma anyways? All Portuguese wingers have the dribble first mentality its in our blood. Maybe machado for olympiacos is more generic in his game but even still. Our Portuguese game is predicated on counters and attacking football and that is quaresma. I can't tell you how many times I watch portugal play and I wish someone other than ronaldo would take a defender on one and one. Nani does but he won't be in form like quaresma will be. Look at the best teams in the world, every major club or country has wingers who will attack outside defenders and draw fouls and attack the goal line. Quaresma is the only guy now who is capable of doing that. Last thing I have to say because I'm sure I'm annoying you guys right now! Quaresma still has the name quaresma. What I mean by that is players still respect him especially defenders. I have no way of knowing this but I would wager a good amount of money that if you ask outside full backs around the world who they fear more they won't say machado, vierinha, caveliero over quaresma. He still has that world class despite his struggles in Italy. Players know him and its a mental aspect to the game as well.
@Justin
21 Saturday, 15 March 2014 03:42
Victor/Cali
It has never been about Quaresma's skills, its about his work ethic and attitude. I think the only reason he changed was because he woke up one day and was like what the f*ck am i doing in Dubai? and decided he wanted to actually play and not be a cancer to every team he is on. Im happy that he is enjoying his football but i think we have a chance to go far in this world cup and we dont need him around in my opinion. I dont think we need a possession winger. I feel like we could do much better having a guy who can connect with others.
@ jonathan/Canada + justin/rochester
20 Saturday, 15 March 2014 01:57
Val/Canada
Just to echo what Johnathan/Canada said, i watched the entire Porto game at a friends house today and yes that was a clear goal called offside. Lets hope that 1 goal doesnt make the difference.

Also what was that madness with the ball hitting the post, bouncing all over the place, Porto could of had 3 but Pipito also missed a chance he should of buried.

Justin - Quaresma does that to everyone who watches him play. I think alot of the posters here are old enough to remember watching Quaresma run circles around people when he won the U17 championships, he was rated higher than Ronaldo back then believe it or not.......i am still not sold on our loveable cigano but you do make a good case.

Oh and one last thing great news out of Man U today, Nani is training with the team, he is just about ready to go and lets hope he finishes the season strong and continues that into the WC.
Selling
19 Saturday, 15 March 2014 01:15
William/USA
Hey, @NJ/USA/SLB, I've got a few points on your comment for Chris.

You're mentioning marketing/sponsorship revenue. These are external conditions you get more of from reaching far in Europe and building your club. Selling top players year after year doesn't really the marketing revenue when Porto and Benfica are selling a lot of quality players. This results in both less quality in the squads to go far in European competitions and less top players that sponsors can get attracted to pay more for.

Look at Benfica. Only sold Matic in the last two seasons and Witsel and Garcia going further two years back, suddenly they're looking like one of the best teams in Europe. Porto on the other hand have sold players like Falcao, Hulk, Moutinho, Rodriguez and Gonzalez, and Benfica just seem to be on a whole different level than Porto.

What if Porto and Benfica actually tried to keep hold of their players and build their teams to go further in European competitions and consequently get more lucrative sponsorship deals?

Off topic, but it never stops to surprise me how the comment fields on PortuGOAL are so factual. (Probably because the comments are getting checked by mods before they're published.) Love the site, a forum would be superb to have.
Selling league/schmelling league
18 Saturday, 15 March 2014 01:14
Chris(Canada)
NJ, that defeatist attitude is typical Portuguese my friend. How about some accountability from our Liga president? Some reinvestment in the product? Some advertising for crying out loud.

You know there was a time when the English league was crap and the Dutch was the bees knees. The point is that for the league to gain quality, the clowns who run it must do some proper work.

Also, the atmosphere must improve in stadiums. That being said, there is some hope for optimism.

As for the English underestimation of all other non-english and non-spanish teams, you'd think they would have learned from the Germans by now. But not yet. It's OK, let them keep underestimating. Fine by me.

We need Sporting and Braga in it next year to really push those coefficient points.
Quaresma
17 Friday, 14 March 2014 20:24
justin/rochester
I taped the porto and napoli game and watched it last night. I'll tell you what. It's not that I am biased but if anyone really noticed during that game...quaresma was the best attacking player on that field. Even the announcers were saying how quaresma on his day still has a skill set that only a hand ful of people can match. Napoli is a world class team they arent a 20 dollar team like some of the portuguese league teams either. Callejon for napoli was a starter sometimes when mourinho magaged madrid and quaresma was 100x better than he was last night.

Alright so the point that everyone makes is he is not consistent. I understand that but heres the deal. If you have noticed ever since quaresma joined back up with porto he has tried his ass off every game. I couldnt believe when I saw him get back on defense over and over a few games ago. He has that FIRE back again that he lost when he went to inter. He never lost that skill and ability though and he showed it in besiktas but nobody cares about that league. Whats my point?

The point is with Nani hurt/not in form, bruma hurt and caveliero not a proven commidity, their is nobody in portugal better on the wing than quaresma. In my opinion he is better than the other 3 right now even if health wasnt an issue when he plays his best game. If he plays half as good as he did against napoli we're all set. He brings a different element to the wing for portugal that nobody else can match. He was twice the player as Varela was last night and lets face it if it wasnt for Varelas late goal in the euros he wouldnt be such a big name on the bench for us. Varela is not as good as quaresma is and thats a fact. I think quaresma is finally figuring it out that he has to play the ball in early and not hang on to it as much too. Quite frankly I like it sometimes when he hangs on to the ball because he draws fouls. The more fouls he draws around the box the more freekicks ronaldo takes. The more fouls quaresma receives the more indirect kicks that moutinho can put in the box for ronaldo, pepe, bruno, eder etc to get ahold of. Before this gets to long maybe I'm just a crazy quaresma fan like most of you guys might think. But in all honesty I have played soccer my whole lift and watched my whole life and when quaresma plays like he did their is nobody in portugal that can even touch him other than ronaldo. I think if quaresma gets called up and gets bento to believe in him like porto did in the past you will see a player in quaresma that will make a difference. He's 30 years old which is not very old when you think about Robben and Ribery playing the same positions and still better than kids at 20-25 years old. So his age is not a limiting factor especially when you think about he has no injuries and sat out for almost a year so hes fresh.
officiating
16 Friday, 14 March 2014 18:55
jonathan/Canada
Portista here, decent job done by Porto wining without conceding which is what is most important. However the ref ruined it Porto had a clear goal called back. It should have been 2-0. Hopefully that does not ruin our chances in the next leg. You know Napoli will go on the offensive next week and try and put a few away. Pretty impressed by Porto' s effort, just dont get defensive next week or you will loose i guarntee that. Good job done by Benfica as well, as painful as it is to say that.
More
15 Friday, 14 March 2014 17:57
Andre/UK
Interesting comments here. Regarding the JJ celebration, I suppose only JJ himself knows what he was doing with the 3 finger gesture. He said that it was in reference to Luisao (which may well be true, who knows, Luisao did in fact score 3 goals in the space of 5 days, which is rare for a centre-back!). Only JJ knows, but it also seems that Sherwood was just frustrated at his team's display and lost his cool somewhat. Regardless, this incident shouldn't detract the attention from the fact that SLB totally outplayed one of the top teams from the richest league in the world in their own backyard.

In regard to the English tendency to over blow the strength of their football and to always under-estimate Portuguese football, I definitely agree with Steve, Chris and others. They always under-estimate Portuguese football and teams, even though their national team hasn't beaten the Selecao since, when? 1966? To be fair to him, Sherwood did say before the match that he was looking forward to playing "one of Europe's top teams"....but the English press will never make comments like that regarding our clubs. I also remember last season Alan Pardew saying something like "Benfica are a good team, they'd finish in the top half of the Premier League". Lol! So fine, let them keep under-estimating, but the performances of their clubs in Europe this season speaks the loudest!
Add ons
14 Friday, 14 March 2014 14:28
Steve/Australia
@Val/Canada - thanks mate and yes it is so true what you said about the other countries. I for one don't care that EPL teams underestimate us because it just means that they don't prepare and do there homework properly.

I was actually thinking that I might have underestimated the quality of Olympiacos. They have a bunch of players that have for some reason or another did not make it at bigger clubs but at Olympiacos they are getting the best out of themselves and are really working for eachother as a solid unit. I'll be barracking for them in the return league at old Trafford

Jesus vs Sherwood

English press:

Another issue hyped up by the English press. There is always some excuse or controversy when they loose these big European games by the reality is often they are just beaten by a better team and this match was no exception.

After the incident these were the comments from both coaches.

Jorge Jesus;

"It was just a chat"

This was the comment from Sherwood;

"He don't mind himself" and "he lacks class"

My opinion of the incident:

I actually thought Jesus handled himself in a mature and dignified manner. He has every right to celebrate the goal in any way he wants as long as it is in the rules and it was. He also has the right to tell Tim Sherwood to move out of the vacinity of his technical area. The situation could have been worse but when two Benfica staff members came over to stick up for Jorge Jesus and argue with Tim Sherwood he sent them away in an attempt to defuse the situation and resolve it one on one. He also looked like he was trying to reconcile the situation with Tim and downplay the incident.

Hidden Message:

Whilst Benfica staff were rushing to the aid of Jorge Jesus you would have noticed that no one came to the aid of Tim Sherwood. This is a clear hidden message that the Tottenham staff and or players are not behind him and that the Benfica staff are behind Jorge Jesus. In the heat of the moment people react from emotion and how they are feeling. I'm just saying that when that time came, Benfica staff came to defend Jesus whilst Tottenham staff were probably looking around feeling embarrassed as to why their coach needed to react angrily and stand over the opposition coach once he knew the tie was effectively over. That act in itself could be determined as "a classless act". Ultimately, to the victor go the spoils and if you cannot accept that then you should not be coaching as you clearly cannot handle the pressure.

The press can overhype and over dramatise the incident all the want but it was blown out of proportion by Tim Sherwood who to be honest looks to be worn out by the stress and pressure of coaching.

Perspective

To put this in perspective when Porto Drew 1:1 with Man Utd at old trafford and then went on the win the Champions league final, Jose Mourinho left the ground with two one finger salutes.
Add Ons
13 Friday, 14 March 2014 13:36
NJ/USA/SLB
The following is precious;

http://balls.ie/football/gif-weird-jorge-jesus-celebration-after-rodrigo-goal-vs-spurs/

As for the match, I thought we did exactly what we were supposed to do. I'm happy the squad just played and let the outcome figure itself out. Like it's been mentioned, the scoreline could have been much worse for the Spurs.
To be fair most of the pundits that I heard from the press, in England and abroad, thought that Benfica were most likely to go through.

Sherwood was very boisterous when he took over the club, but hasn't done much. He basically floods the middle of the field with attacking mids and hopes for something to come. He'll be out of a job, come next campaign.

Chris, I understand what you say but please realize that we're a selling league/club. The Portuguese League can't bring in the huge TV revenue other leagues could. It's actually quite incredible that Benfica can be ranked so high in revenue (Top 20), with the limited TV and stadium revenue. In order to be able to compete in the world stage, needed for marketing/sponsorship revenue, Benfica needs transfer revenue.
Which brings me to our league. I'm sorry, but the drop off in talent in the Portuguese League is huge. The mid and lower level clubs just don't have the resources to be competitive. Whether we care to admit it or not, those clubs wouldn't make in the EPL and have a rough go in other top European leagues as well.
It is what it is, but that doesn't stop me from following and hoping for continued growth across the board.

Oh yeah, really happy for Porto and I hope that they can go through. It would be great for our coefficient, which is lagging way behind Italy this campaign.
Napoli has been struggling. If anyone saw their match verse Roma would have seen how fortunate they were. Roma hammered them and should have won, never mind draw.
Impressive wins
12 Friday, 14 March 2014 13:20
jon/usa
I managed to catch both games yesterday.

Porto looked far more organized and cohesive when playing their traditional 4-3-3. They more than matched a fantastic Napoli side and deserved to get the three points. The tie, however is far from over considering how much quality Napoli has in the final third.

Jorge Jesus, yet again, got his tactics to perfection. We defended and pressed as a unit and were ruthless with our counter-attacks. Garay and Luisao were magnificent (Luisao has been absolutely immense all season long). Fejsa and Amorim were also superb in the midfield.

I honestly couldn't have asked for a better performance. It's just a shame that JJ had to embarrass the club with his antics. Absolutely no need for that, JJ.
@ Steve/Australia
11 Friday, 14 March 2014 12:43
Val/Canada
Steve it is all so true, I made some money yesterday as i also thought the betting line of Spurs was ridiculous and i was right again.

As i am sure you have noticed, when a Portuguese club plays any other countries team and Portugoal has those fantastic write ups from the experts living and breathing that countries footy, they are all so respectful and full of fair words EXCEPT when we play a 'Premier League' team..........then its just 'Premier League' team vs some third rate club. Anyhow, thats a small thing that bothers me and honestly, all this easy money will help retirement so i should bite the ignorant hand that feeds me.

To the games, Porto was the early game and I could not watch it but I had the radio playing at work and I also have the stats up on my smart phone. Positive result for Porto and being able to stop that fantastic Napoli attack is not something to sneer at, especially considering Porto form coming in. Another week my respect for Luis Castro grows and grows!!

I did watch the late Benfica game however and it could of been worse for Spurs. I would say they escaped with a 3-1 lose and heading back to a luz having to score 4 for a team that cant score is daunting. Really curious about the line for the next game, could be some more easy money!

Forca Portugal!
Great day for both teams
10 Friday, 14 March 2014 10:46
Aaron Lin
As i predicted, Porto was the better team today. I was hoping that Porto at least scored 2-0 to be safe. Porto dominated the possession the first half and created lots of chances in the second half. Napoli players had 3 chances to score but failed.

As for Benfica, I am happy for them. I believe Benfica are people's favorite after Juventus. They are guaranteed to make it to the next round. My prediction is that Benfica will face Juventus which will be an interesting match. This match would be wonderful and eye catching for the audiences wouldn't you guys agree?
Great day to be Portuguese
9 Friday, 14 March 2014 09:35
Steve/Australia
It was a Great day to be Portuguese.

The games:

I sleep through my alarm and missed the Porto game :( but Napoli are a Champions league team and keeping them scoreless was a great result. The return match will be hard though but if Porto can score they are huge favorites. Napoli are a lot better at home though and will be tough.

I watched Benfica smashing Tottenham. In my opinion, we were much better and could have won by more. Everyone worked as a team and Tottenham hardly even looked at the goal. Luisao owned Adebayor

English Football opinions

On another note, I am always amazed at the world view of the English press, fans, coaches and anyone associated with football there when it comes to Portuguese Football. The commentator was saying that no one would have predicted the scoreline and all I kept thinking was no-body in England but I'm guessing Vasco Mata Pereira was not surprised. In fact, he pretty much dictated what was going to happen in the last pod. A team like Tottenham might have money but they do not have a clear style, direction, playing philosophy or team chemistry whereas Benfica is the exact opposite. If you compare the money and budget that Tottenham has compared to Benfica then it is obvious at how much better run Benfica and the other big Portuguese teams are. We are streets ahead in terms of youth development, coaching, tactics, scouting, developing players and getting the potential out of players. I'm happy that they keep underestimating us.

For me, I remember Sir Alex telling Mourinhos Porto that they won their championship in a supermarket (or something like that). We all know, that Porto team had the last laugh by winning the Champions league :)

AVB factor

On a personal note I'd like to thank chairman Levi because by sacking AVB he pretty much handed this tie to Benfica.

Tim Sherwood:

In my opinion, he is out of his depth and has lost the plot. He looks stressed, worried, lost and has visibly aged in the short time he has been in the role.
Awesome
8 Friday, 14 March 2014 09:27
Andre/UK
Quite simply that was the perfect approach and performance for an away match in Europe from Benfica. In the first 30 mins of the game we did exactly what was needed, played a solid, compact and organised game, with every player pressing as a unit, and not allowing Spurs to take command of the game. We are always a threat in attack though and once we got the first goal, we quickly started to become the dominant team. It's no exaggeration to say that in the end we could've scored 5 goals. In the second half, every single time we came forward we looked dangerous. And against a team that is fighting for the top 4 in England, very impressive!

What has happened with JJ and his defensive strategy? Lol! For all these years we've criticised him for his lack of attention to defensive detail, and all of a sudden we are a brick wall at the back, easily one of the best defences in Europe at this moment. Good to see he has learned from his mistakes. To me Fejsa has been one the main reasons for this. He was excellent again last night, always in the right place to prevent attacks from the centre and tough tackling all over the show. We are not missing Matic nearly as much as was feared.

The great thing with this result is that we can really rotate next week, rest 5 or 6 key players (even Luisao) and keep them fresh for the Liga. Players who haven't played much, like Gomes, Djuricic and Salvio can get their chance next week.

I didn't see the Porto game, but that is a good result for them to take to Napoli next week. 1-0 is usually a better result than it appears because it really puts pressure on the opponent not to concede again at home. Napoli will be a different proposition playing at home of course, but Porto have a good chance to progress. Will be good for our Liga's coefficient to get some good results in the EL this season after the disappointing CL performances.
Ms j. Jesus is a douche bag
7 Friday, 14 March 2014 05:08
Joe
As a Portuguese Canadian I am happy benfica won but Jorge Jesus and his 3 finger provocation was low life. This guy embarrasses the benfica brand which does have some class and dignity. I'd fire him on the spot. He cheapened the win.
?
6 Friday, 14 March 2014 01:14
Joao/Canada
Didn't get to see the match. What did JJ do exactly to get so much attention for it? LOL

I heard Tottenham had a players only meeting the other day for a few hours. Guess it didn't work. Great job Benfica.

Congrats to Porto too for pulling out the win. Although I would have liked a bigger result, I am loving the fact Napoli couldn't put one past us.

Keep these results coming guys!
Hope for coefficient
5 Friday, 14 March 2014 00:45
SupremoGino
Very proud of Benfica to come away with a commanding 3-1 victory at WHL. Spurs has some quality personnel but we played the counter attack to perfection.

Porto's 1-0 victory could've gone either way though a slim margin is better than none. I expect Benfica to go through and rooting for Porto as well.
Coefficients
4 Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:51
Golden/Porto
Watch out, Italy. Your 4th is reeling more than ever.
Great work
3 Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:13
Chris(Canada)
Classy. Jorge Jesus was all class tonight, lol. I don't mind his showing off to all the Englanders because they're always so cocky whenever they play foreign teams that aren't from Spain, but Tim Sherwood seems like a pretty nice guy, even if he isn't a great coach (at the moment).

I feel bad for Tim, because replacing the Ginger Judas was never going to be easy work. It seems like there are some fundamental issues of chemistry at Spurs. Their defence is atrocious.

On the flip side, Benfica were majestic. Luisao was easily man of the match. And I agree with Tom that Garay was also good. But I am annoyed that Garay has anything to prove to Man Utd. He is a Benfica player, just as Carvalho is a Sporting player, I'm really tired of all this "selling" talk, probably because as a Portista, I am sick of seeing all our stars sold off.

The Portuguese teams need to focus on retaining players, as Benfica have done well for the last 2 seasons, only selling when really need be.

As for Porto, job well done. I think we will see a totally different tactical display from Naples in the next game, but I still fancy our chances. The defensive weaknesses are much improved than under Fonseca. The team seems more balanced, not relying solely on Quaresma for magic. We also have to consider they played a great offensive team (tied for 12 points with Dortmund in CL group stage), not some piddly team.

Overall, it was a good result, considering they actually won 2-0 but were wrongly penalized by poor officiating. Really happy for both teams, and I hope they both carry this forward to the next games and progress.

Cheers.
benfica win
2 Thursday, 13 March 2014 22:30
antonio/orlando
excellent game by benfica today
Yes
1 Thursday, 13 March 2014 21:59
NJ/USA/SLB
Another tidy win.

From Tom;
"Commentators gushing (understandably) over Luisão, but Garay abosolutely outstanding. If this display dosen't convince ManUtd, nothing will."

This is David Moyes we're talking about.
He's a disaster.

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