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Monday, 21 February 2011 22:18

Ten-man Benfica beat Sporting

Sporting 0-2 Benfica

Nico GaitanFifteen. Fifteen successive wins in all competitions for Benfica. Not even a fiery atmosphere at the Alvalade, a red card for Sidnei on the stroke of half time or a Sporting side desperate to put a dent in Benfica’s title aspirations could stop the Eagles from registering a deserved win.
A goal in each half from Salvio and man-of-the-match Gaitan gave all three points to Jorge Jesus’ side.

The two historical foes went into the match in diametrically opposite moments of form. While Benfica have swept all before them in the past two months, Sporting have stumbled from one poor result to another. However, a positive showing at Rangers last Thursday and a chance to end their city rivals’ hopes of renewing their domestic title gave Sporting’s supporters some grounds for optimism that they could be in for a rare bright night in a very dark season.
That optimism was shaken before kick-off with the news that captain Daniel Carrico had to pull out of the squad with a late injury. And the way Benfica took hold of proceedings in the opening half hour it appeared there would be only one result.

Crowd disturbances

Disregarding an unfortunate backdrop of a running battle between the police and Sporting’s supporters in the North Stand during much of the opening forty-five minutes, Benfica piled on early pressure in a game played at a frenetic pace, propelled forward by the brilliant Nico Gaitan.
The silky skilled and startlingly sturdy little Argentine gave Joao Pereira a torrid time all night. Gaitan has hit incomparably greater heights in his first season at the Estadio da Luz than a certain Angel Di Maria did in his first two years in Lisbon.
Salvio gave Benfica an early lead as Gaitan’s cross evaded a clutch of players and the Atletico Madrid loanee was faster to the ball than Grimi, controlling first-time, taking a few steps forward and coolly stroking past Rui Patricio.
The game was being played at a furious speed with tackles flying in thick and fast. It made for absorbing viewing, and Sporting gradually began to turn the tide and exert pressure of their own. Matias Fernandez had the ball in the net on 39 minutes, but the offside flag had already been raised.

Sidnei sees red

Sporting were given a boost just before the interval as Sidnei’s foul on Yannick Djalo earned him a second yellow card and consequent red. The hosts were close to an equaliser shortly after half time as Roberto saved well from Matias Fernandez, and Yannick was unable to find the net with the follow-up.
A nasty clash of heads between Jardel and Cristiano then led to lengthy treatment for both players and with Benfica’s substitute centre-back still off the pitch, Postiga headed narrowly wide.
Benfica scored a killer second goal on 63 minutes. Carlos Martins’ free-kick spun to Javi Garcia in the box, who cleverly set free Maxi Pereira on the overlap, and when the full-back crossed back into the middle Gaitan was on hand to fire into the net with the aid of a big deflection off Polga.

Benfica keep up Porto chase

Sporting visibly wilted and Benfica were able to play down the clock without undue alarm to cut Porto’s lead at the top of the table back down to eight points, with ten matches remaining. The Lions, on the other hand, must now focus on holding onto third place in the Liga ZON Sagres, which will not be easy given their current form, with Vitoria Guimaraes just one point back.
It remains to be seen how tonight’s exertions will affect both Lisbon teams as they attempt to make progress in the Europa League on Thursday. Benfica take a 2-1 lead to Stuttgart while Sporting will start their second leg at the Alvalade in a useful position having gained a 1-1 draw at Rangers last week.
[0-1] Salvio, 15
[0-2] Gaitan, 63
by Tom Kundert

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Comments (14)
14 Wednesday, 23 February 2011 00:53
forca sporting betis saint ettienne werder bremen panatianikos bursaspor green brothers
Props to Bryan
13 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 18:19
Bryan SCB I applaud your enthusiasm for promoting the top Liga teams in Europe..

It is definitely something I ascribe to also..

I always like to see the top 4 do very well... off years like this one for Sporting do not leave a great taste in my mouth.. as a Benfica fan first then Liga fan.. I love to see great games with great passion and amazing skill.

I am just as upset as most Sporting fans.. who are calling for change.. I don't like to see the Lions down.. the same is true for Braga I was hoping they would continue on the pace they were last year.. I am a big fan of Paciencia and wish the Magico all the best.

I pray that all of the Liga teams go as far as possible in Europa.. an all Portuguese Semi-Final would be a God send.. although I don't believe it is possible because of the structure of the tournament.

Forca Portugal
Stupidity in the stands
12 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 13:38
There was nothing funny about the fans fighting with police or throwing objects on the field.
The same stupidity took place in Porto.
It's sad and pathetic when you see a golf ball rolling past Roberto.
What's it going to take for these idiots to stop or true fans to stop them. Is a player going to have to get knocked unconscious and sent to the hospital.
Those types of actions makes us look "Third Worldish". Pathetic.
Sadly I see retaliation taking place at The Luz. I hope that it doesn't happen, but there's idiots everywhere.

I would also like to mention that it's great that Liedson is coring at will in Brazil instead of against Benfica. Then again, I doubt he could have done much with the awful crossing done by Sporting.

I due agree in Luisao being our "rock" at the back. He always shows his quality and is a great captain/leader.

Martins still makes me very nervous. Although Aimar had an awful game last time, Martins is better coming off the bench. Aimar holds possession better, and isn't apt to lose his mind and make the stupid foul.
Focus on Europa League now...
11 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:25
Well done SLB, that guarantees us the champions league (qualifiers) for next season. In almost all likelihood we will finish 2nd now...it's still mathematically possible to catch Porto, but is very unlikely even if we beat them in April. So i think the emphasis must now shift fully to the Europa League, i think last season we had a good chance to win it, but we messed up in that second leg at Anfield. The situation is the same this year, Benfica on paper and on current form, are as good as any team left in the Europa league, but of course we still have a lot to do in Germany. For thursday's game at Stuttgart we go into it in an identical situation to Liverpool last year...2-1 up which is a dangerous score... an advantage but still a lot of work to do.

JJ must learn from the mistakes he made at Anfield last year, both with team selection and approach. In Germany we must not start the match at fulll throttle going for a win, and taking big risks to be hit on the break. We must play with intelligence and calm, keep things tight and hold onto possetion for the opening period of the match. If we can do that and not concede early, I'm confident that we have a better team than Stuttgart, and can get the job done over the 90 mins. The key is possetion, keeping hold of the ball and not letting Stuttgart break and cross the ball into the box.

I think Martins will be a better option than Aimar, because he offers more "steel" and energy to the midfield, and steel is what is needed when playing a German team in Germany because they will, no doubt, try to play at a blistering tempo. Jara did very well in the first leg, but i think Saviola should get the nod to partner Cardozo, because I trust Saviola's ability to get goals in big matches like this. It's about time SLB got a good result in Germany...im not even being greedy to ask for a win, I'll be more than happy with a draw and qualification!!! Lets see what happens...
Big Win
10 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 04:10
Sporting could have won? Really?
Please, eventhough the "Maca Podres" held possession, they never really created great chances. Nevermind someone finishing, they also need better deliveries. Over and over the passing/crossing/deliveries were awful. The talent just isn't there.
As for Benfica, they deserved the win. Even after being down to 10 men, they still had more chances to score than Sporting.
Although I agreed with Sidney's second yellow, the first one was pathetic. Postiga actually put his hands to his face when Sidney's arm went across his chest.
Don't get me wrong, some of the yellows were deserved, but it was almost as if the ref was trying to get control of a match that really didn't need controlling. It wasn't a very chippy match at all.
As for Sidney's performance, he was shaky at times once again. He makes plays, but still gets caught out of position too many times, for a center back.
Jardel actually showed well.
Since he gets killed plenty, let me also give credit to JJ's substitutions. Once the second goal was netted, it was very smart to bring on Airton and go with two defensive mids. He was also able to rest Cardozo a bit.
Talking about people getting killed, let's finally give credit to Roberto for the great save he had. He made the big stop when needed. Yes, he almost had a huge gaffe when he came far out for the ball and let it go by. Work in progress.
Gaitan played really well, but I would have given my Man of the Match to Coentrao. He attacked and played really strong defense.
Just because I happen to be critical of my team;
I thought that Martins should have crossed the ball in instead of shooting it on his two free kick opportunities. He once again bombs away, and by now everyone must realize that's it's luck when its on target, nevermind in the goal.
Salvio also looks good going on goal. Good positioning. What concerns me with him is that he uses his pace up the side, but if the defender is with him, he really has no ideas. He just tries to bully through to no avail. Especially if he can't get around the corner. Dare I say he looks as bad as Djalo at times. I would like to see a bit more patience and movement with the ball. Against better competition his pace won't be enough. Stuttgart shut him down.

As for Sporting Grimi and Polga will get killed, but the offense wasn't any better.
What do you say about a team when their Captain (Carrico) goes down, and the person that becomes Captain is the guy that has been sitting on the bench behind Carrico. You mean nobody else is able to lead. That decision alone, says a lot about that team.
Sporting just needs to make sure they get 3rd so they don't have to go through qualifiers in Europa. That will be crazy since they will playing ball in early July.

As for Europa this week;
Porto is sitting pretty.
Benfica has the win under their belt, but that away goal could really hurt. Hopefully Stuttgart will be more concern with staying up in the Bundes, instead of advancing in Europa.
Sporting is also in great shape with the away goal draw, but with this squad who knows.
Speaking of strugling squads, Braga just doesn't look.
I really hope that all four advance, but I wouldn't be shocked if only one did.
Great win
9 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 03:23
Another amazing performance by Benfica. We know who our two CL teams next year. Sporting have put them selves in a hard place at the moment with the likes of Giumaraes, Ferreira, and U.Leria just 1 to 5 points back. I'm still hopeful Porto will slip up on just two games so that Benfica can capitalize in April.
great win
8 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 03:14
lol the fans fighting against the police was a bit amusing...

on topic: this was a great win, sindei deserved the 2nd yellow, but the first is comical...as for most of the yellows we got...

how come no one here mentioned pedro mendes getting a red? he pulls one of our guys on a counter for the 1st yellow, and on the 2nd foul he just tackles saviola from behind and falls over him on the 35th or so minute but doesn't see the second yellow? what a lucky guy he must be... LOL

as for performances, everyone played exceptional, roberto.... god someone please sell or loan him out already...and happy birthday on airton on turning 21 yrs old.

i can't wait to see how 3rd-5th place will be considering 3rd-10th place are sperated by very few points!!!
Sporting v. Benfica
7 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 01:16
Sporting could have one the game. They had a lot of chances to score and didn't use them. With Benfica's Sidnei reciving a red card around half time sporting had a great chance to win the game. But they couldn't score and later Gatain's shot went in, I knew that the game will go to Benfica. I beleive Braga can make 3rd place if they continue to play better. But when Benfica plays Porto, they will loose 5-0!! Because Porto is the best!!!!!
Very Impressive
6 Tuesday, 22 February 2011 00:12
We were excellent today.

Gaitan, Coentrao, Garcia, and Luisao were extremely impressive today. Sidnei was doing ok, but he shouldn't have made such a reckless tackle when he already had a yellow card. However Jardel came in and he was fantastic. Fabio and Maxi worked tirelessly in attack and defense. Garcia did a great job disrupting Sporting's passing game, and Gaitan was brilliant.

I was a little worried after Sidnei got sent off, but Luisao organized our defense and put in another spectacular performance. In my opinion, he has been our best player this season.

I agree with Bryan about Polga, he just isn't good enough. Torsiglieri wasn't great, but I think that he is a better option than Polga. Grimi had a bad game as well. Joao Pereira is an excellent right back, but he had a very hard time against the 2 headed monster on the left wing(Coentrao and Gaitan). He didn't get any help at all.

Mendes and Santos were ok. Matias Fernandez was Sporting's best player. Cristiano was terrible and Djalo had a very typical performance. He had some moments of great skill and his speed caused some problems, but his passing/final ball was usually terrible. Postiga had a decent game, but he didn't really have much support

That awful start to the season is really driving me crazy. If we won those winnable games, we wouldn't be 8 points back. JJ was right when he said that we were the best in Portugal based on current form, but I still doubt that Porto will drop 8 points...
I agree with Arnaldo
5 Monday, 21 February 2011 23:40
Sporting couldn't finish, simply put. Yannick was a bright spot for Sporting but it became clear that Sporting lacked Carrico from the on-set. Polga is a horrible central defender.

I believe Braga can make it to third now if they display a run of solid results. Hopefully Braga can take out Lech and make everyone see that Braga is still the MAGICO.

Forca Porto,
Forca Glorioso,
Forca Lions,
and Forca Magico.

We all need to band together in support of our league. We have the 6th place spot but let's be brave and go for 5! Forca LIGA SAGRES
Sporting could have won
4 Monday, 21 February 2011 23:14
Sporting could have won if they had anyone that could finish an attack.
3 Monday, 21 February 2011 23:10
Another impressive 2-0 away win. SLB controlled the game from start to finish. We were by no means dominant, but we handled Sporting well. We attacked well, took our chances well, but overall defended well even with ten men. Don't understand why the referees love to wrongfully send off our players in big matches like these, but we showed against Porto and today against Sporting that we can defend as a unite. 15 game winning streak, 17 domestically game winning streak, 10 league game winning streak, and still undefeated in 2011. It gets no better then this.

2 Monday, 21 February 2011 22:42
Great win over our inner city rivals on their own turf. The referee gave a alot of yellow cards this game and I think Sidnei's sent off was stupid (the first yellow). Benfica dominated the first half and did well to maintain the lead throughout the whole game. Watch out Sporting! Guimaraes is only a point behind!

Nico Gaitan deserves Man of the Match IMO. He is turning out to be a great player for us.

Now we prepare for Sttugart! I would like to see Benfica become the first Portuguese club to beat a German club in Germany.
1 Monday, 21 February 2011 22:35
What a great game Benfica was great i feel like we had a good first half but the referee was horrible to both sides giving a card ever ytime there was a foul.Other then that salvio's goal was very nice gaitan was GREAT.Saviola didnt show up at all and we had chances to score a few more.The sidnei red card some would say well deserved others would say it shouldnt have been.That had an effect on Benfica but we did the same thing we did vs Porto just hold back and wait for the counter attack the foul that we got for the free kick i dont think its a foul but thats not an easy one for the ref because both players are going full speed and the ref was behind them.Other then that it was a well deserved victory by Benfica our defense was simply amazing WELL DONE BENFICA

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