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Monday, 15 March 2010 14:37

Video: Superb Paulo Machado denies Marseille, tips Benfica to go through

Toulouse 1-1 Marseille

Benfica’s Europa League opponents Marseille missed out on the chance to make up ground in the Ligue 1 title race, after Portuguese midfielder Paulo Machado earned Toulouse a point at the Stadium Municipal last night.

With just three points separating the top six teams in France, this year’s title race looks set to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. For Marseille, fresh from snatching a 1-1 draw with Benfica on Thursday, there was extra motivation heading into their trip to Toulouse, with four of their five rivals dropping points over the weekend.

Marseille fielded a largely full strength side, although captain Mamadou Niang was rested for Thursday’s return leg with the Eagles at the Velodrome. Brazilian striker Brandao gave Didier Deschamps’ side the lead on the half hour mark, converting a corner at the near post.

Former Porto midfielder Machado had the hosts level before half time, and it was a typically spectacular goal from the 23-year-old. Known for his long-range shooting, Machado took aim from just outside the penalty area and sent a shot soaring past Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for what proved to be the game’s last goal.

“It was the nicest goal I have scored in the French league,” said Machado, who now has four goals in his last ten matches. “I have started 2010 scoring goals. I am doing well here and if I have the chance to go to the World Cup, why not? I am playing in an important and competitive championship and I will seize the opportunity should it arise.”

Machado then gave his prediction for Benfica’s clash with Marseille. “I saw the game at the Estadio da Luz and it was good, although Benfica were not at the usual level. Marseille will look to start strong, but Benfica must be the same because they can score goals. For me, it will be 1-0 to Benfica, which will be enough.”

By Sean Gillen

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Comments (5)
5 Monday, 15 March 2010 19:13
I would be happy seeing Benfica take priority of the Europa league over the cup at this time. In addition they beat Porto with their B team earlier this season. At this point Porto is playing even worse then they were earlier this season. Not really worried there.

As you said in 2 weeks is the next league game. Lots of time to rest up. They face Braga at the Luz. They should at the least get a draw (I would expect a win). That would put them 6 points clear and after that there will only be 6 games remaining. Porto are no longer a contender and Benfica will have the benefit of a nice lead in the league which will give them more flexibility in Europe. Anything can happen, but when compared to Marseille, Benfica are in a good position.
4 Monday, 15 March 2010 18:34
With a marginal Tiago, a washed-up Deco, and a patethitc excuse for an international player (Raul I miss the net by forty yards every time I shoot Meireles) all expected to contribute in South Africa. It would be great to see CQ. use a midfielder who can open up the game for players like Simao, Nani and Ronaldo.
3 Monday, 15 March 2010 17:21
good lead in the league...? lol 3pts with the second place team coming up in 2 weeks and a cup semi next week against porto? um ok if you say so smart guy..
Should help Benfica
2 Monday, 15 March 2010 15:22
Even former Porto players are calling for Benfica to take this game. With Benfica having a good lead in the league they can go all out on Marseille this week and play a B team on the weekend. Marseille on the other hand has to keep in mind the league hopes and this could cause some problems for them if they try to rest any players. I hope Benfica score early to give them some extra pressure. I hope both Lisbon teams make it to the next stage.
1 Monday, 15 March 2010 14:48
this guy should be competing for the starting 11 not a call up


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