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Friday, 23 September 2011 21:28

FC Porto 2-2 Benfica

Late Gaitan strike snatches point for Eagles

An emphatic finish from Nico Gaitan saw Benfica peg Porto back at the Dragao tonight, as the first Classico of the 2011/12 season finished a 2-2 draw. Porto had the better of the first half and were good value for their lead (which came though a Kleber header), but Cardozo equalised early on in the second half. However, Benfica’s joy was short-lived: some slack marking and quick thinking from Varela set up Otamendi for a simple tap-in. The Dragons appeared set for a three-point lead at the top of the table, but Gaitan’s late strike ensured that the two rivals remain neck and neck. 

Both coaches opted for their strongest, most attack-minded line-ups, with the rumblings that Jorge Jesus might opt for Ruben Amorim over Nolito proving wide of the mark. The veteran coach went for his big game 4-2-3-1 formation, with Axel Witsel supporting both Javi Garcia and Pablo Aimar, who took up his usual role just behind Oscar Cardozo.

Vitor Pereira selected Fernando ahead of Souza in the defensive midfield role, with the unflappable Brazilian expected to provide a more experienced presence than his younger compatriot.

The home side got off to a rapid start, with Hulk skinning Emerson, cutting inside and firing over the bar before the game was a minute old. Both defences seemed a little tentative during the early moments, with Aimar piercing Porto’s high line to release Nolito, though Cardozo couldn’t connect with the Spaniard’s cross.

Porto’s pressing soon emerged as a key feature of the game, with Guarin, Varela, Hulk and Kleber all firmly committed to harrying Benfica’s back line, with Emerson in particular forced to utilise some deft (though somewhat nerve-wracking for those of a red persuasion) footwork in order to get himself out of trouble.

Nolito and Gaitan were expected to be crucial for Benfica, and so it proved, with the latter forcing Otamendi into a foul, which saw the Argentine cautioned by referee Jorge Sousa. Porto went on the break moments later and almost scored the opener: Hulk once again cutting inside and sashaying towards the backpedalling Benfica defence, before letting fly with a fierce low drive that was tipped round the post by Artur. Fernando hooked an effort over soon after, as the game settled into a pattern, with Porto smothering their opponents in central areas, and looking to break quickly down both wings.

This being a Classico, there were a number of moments where the significance of the occasion manifested itself in, well, flared tempers. Copa America teammates Alvaro and Maxi tangled by the corner flag, but all that was forgotten when their fellow Uruguayan Fucile almost gave Porto the lead on 28 minutes. Varela received the ball wide in the area, and instead of shooting sent a low cross at his teammate, who looked certain to score but was denied by a superb stop from Artur.

However, the Benfica goalkeeper was left stranded for Porto’s opener eight minutes before half time. Kleber, who up until that moment had been fairly anonymous, rose high above his marker (Maxi Pereira) and flicked home beyond Artur from Guarin’s free kick. It was a deserved lead for the Dragons, and left Jorge Jesus with much to ponder during the interval.

Whatever the Benfica coach said to his players had a swift effect, because no sooner had the second half begun than the Eagles were level through Cardozo. Aimar finally managed to manufacture some space for himself and found Nolito, who quickly laid the ball off to Cardozo, who was arriving on the diagonal. The Paraguayan was moving at speed but kept his composure in smoothly dragging the ball away from Helton and slotting home.

If that was the perfect response to a sluggish first half display from Benfica, then what followed was perhaps even better. Four minutes after being pegged back, the Dragons re-took the lead through Otamendi. The Argentine tapped home from close range, but great credit must go to Silvestre Varela, who caught the Benfica defence napping from a short corner and rapidly sent his cross into the danger zone.

For much of the second half, it seemed as if Otamendi’s goal would prove to be the decisive moment, as the game degenerated into a fragmented, ill-tempered contest. Jorge Sousa issued a total of nine yellow cards, and it was something of a surprise that both teams reached the full time whistle with a full compliment of players.

There were moments of inspiration – Guarin had Artur scrambling with a clipped lob, whilst Helton’s trailing leg denied Cardozo a second – but as the end neared, the levels of gamesmanship on display, as well as a host of changes from both coaches, impacted severely on the flow of the game. Then, Benfica struck.

Substitute Saviola received the ball as Benfica pressed forward, on the right hand side of the field. The Argentine, who has noticeably lost his goalscoring touch of late, somehow found his compatriot Gaitan on the opposite side of the area with a sublime pass; and the Benfica number 20 lashed home with Helton helpless. It was a devastatingly rapid goal, and the Eagles’ exuberant celebrations suggested that its significance was lost on none of them. On the touchline, Vitor Pereira continued to brood.

In the final eight minutes both sides made sporadic raids forward, but with Benfica more than content to take the point, and Porto tired and disjointed by a trio of substitutions, a fifth goal never looked likely; and full time arrived without a great deal of incident. The result leaves Porto and Benfica locked together on 14 points, though they could be joined at the top by Braga should Os Arsenalistas overcome Nacional tomorrow evening.

Porto: Helton; Fucile, Otamendi, Rolando, Alvaro Pereira; Fernando, Moutinho, Guarin (Belluschi, 77’); Hulk , Kleber (Cristian Rodriguez, 80’), Varela (Walter, 86’).

Benfica: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Emerson; Javi Garcia, Witsel; Nolito (Bruno Cesar, 68’), Aimar (Saviola, 68’), Gaitan; Cardozo (Matic, 90’).

[1-0] Kleber, 37’
[1-1] Cardozo, 47’
[2-1] Otamendi, 51
[2-2] Gaitan, 82’

Ben Shave

Comments (28)
Thanks Manny...
28 Monday, 26 September 2011 23:58
I know in the Liga they review blatant fouls after the fact and hand out suspensions after review. I think the same should be true for the divers. Just imagine hot great the game would be without the rolling around..
Apologies to Orlando Mac...
27 Monday, 26 September 2011 20:44
Ok, so i read your comments a second time and maybe I jumped to conclusions too fast :).... My bad...

As for the diving, if FIFA or UEFA with Platini as the president try to correct the diving in sport they will have to start with Barcelona the "Beast" team in the world, and we all know that Platini will never do that...

And if I'm not wrong they can't review plays after the game and access cards, a fine or suspension, just like the ones handed to Lisandro Lopez and I believe Aimar last year should be handed out regularly...
26 Monday, 26 September 2011 17:46
Forgot to post link of simulation.

You blew the argument
25 Monday, 26 September 2011 17:38
The comments sicken you joeg london?
Even crazy Porto fans that are family, agreed with me in regards to Fucile simulation. If you go back and watch teh replay, Fucile even grabs for the wrong body part when he starts rolling.
Now, if you want to say that Cardozo should have gotten a red for intent, that's different. There you have a case to argue. The problem is that you just go overboard in your argument a blow it.

I've calling for video review of games for a long time. The problem is that most FA's, especially Portugals, are very weak. Even when they act decidely, they usually get it wrong.

Below is a great video of simulation. Please look closely at the feet, because Spahic, steps on Aduriz first. Now, Aduriz deserves the red for stupidity, but if they reviewed the tape Spahic should be punished.
A large fine and a three game suspension would alert the league, teams and players. Bloody murder would be screamed do to others getting away with it, but somebody has to be the first.
@Orlando Mac
24 Monday, 26 September 2011 05:54
I 100% agree with reviewing every game after the match is over and issuing yellow cards for simulation. It is truly the only way you will eradicate it from the game. Living in a country where 90% of people grow up playing the sport at one time or another and most of those call it a sport for women. I find myself defending it and it seems just as I am someone looks like they took a bullet from the leg or face. It's a blatant disrespect to the integrity of the game. Officials have a hard enough time blowing the whistle on calls they're suppose to make and in my honest opinion that is a direct reflection of the effect simulation is having on the game. Simulation is the equivalent of cancer. We've got to cut it out and drown it yellow cards and fines.

Força Benfica
Manny my friend you are getting me all wrong...
23 Sunday, 25 September 2011 00:50
I know you got heated up by my comments but you did not read my full post.

I quote:

"This is not a dig at Porto at all.. ******as I was not referring to their wins at all.. they were well deserved.. ****** or the Man U's that win consistently and don't have to resort to cheating either."

end quote.

Clearly you misunderstood me.. I never was discussing any Porto trophy as stained even though some others would say so and might have reason to. As for SaladBarz I don't care about any BS before I was born. So you can talk about hitting the SaladBarz all you want. I suggest the pickled sausage.

The stained that I was referring to was Spain and Italy and their trophies in international play.

Also I am on record stating that I didn't even watch this match and my comments weren't directed at this match and my references to Hulk were from his flagrant past of diving. Which no one can deny. They just point at others as a way of comforting themselves.

My comments are totally directed at improving the game for everyone not at Porto and as I stated many times before on this subject of diving.. we all complain about the Refs but when you have 22 players around one man simulating and diving it doesn't help him in any way to do his job.

I believe FIFA & UEFA drop the ball hugely in helping the ref officials in carrying out their jobs at a high level.

Every sport besides football/soccer use technology to help their officials only in our game isit not used.

There are systems that could indicate whether the ball crosses the line clearly allowing the linesman to concentrate on other tasks. It happened a few times in the last WC as goals crossed the lines and weren't rewarded goals.

It is impossible for the officials to do their job properly with their hands tied in fast real time.

I personally think that all major league games/internationals are reviewed extremely.. ad nauseum for the rest of the week.

They already give out suspensions for players that are deemed to foul after the fact why not do the same for divers. First off the opposing team will produce every bit of video that exposes a cheat...

and I am all for it.

Time to flush out the rats.

I would like to see it first adopted for Internationals when a player is found to be simulating or diving on video after the game they are given a yellow for it, an accumulation of yellows means a bench seat for important games.

Then they are added to a cheat list that can be broadcast to the world just like goal leaders that way we shame them and their families. They are a disgrace to the game and should be held accountable. We can call it the Biggest Douche Bag List and the amount of yellows can be counted. This way the Ref can already know who to keep an eye on throughout.. and to punish accordingly in real time.

Time to return futebol back to its tag line of "the beautiful game" unfortunately it has been pretty ugly for some time and champions of late.

This would help the Refs out immensely because the players will not be attempting as much or at least will vastly improve their play acting.

I personally believe it would change the game for the better.

I hate cheats.. I have always worked hard for everything I have got and tried to play sports/life the right way.. even as a tough winger in hockey.. that went to the net hard.. I manned up, unfortunately most of these players don't and take the easy route instead of the fair one.

Again this isn't a shot at any specific team this is a shot at the highest level of the game.. and one that the FPF, UEFA, & FIFA should clean up. But we all know how dirty each one of those Feds are.

I invite everyone to write to all three and make your voice heard.

I do on a yearly basis, the louder the chorus the more we can make those cheats cringe. I want to empty my Blatter.. lol

Anyways Manny if you re-read my comments you will see I was not offending your Porto at all.. even though Hulk is by far one of the worst on the planet.. from past experience.

The Portuguese League has inproved across many other technical ways through complaints over the last few years.. the high head kicks were a sham for a long time.. this is just the next step in improving the game.

High level games need the best technology around to help the officials do their job, hey if it means appointing a video judge that watches every player in international games then I am all for it. F.. the cheats. Let the best team win.

Grosso tripping on an already prone player on the ground in their World Cup win still sticks in my mind.. Australia was the better team that day and destroyed the Italians.. yet the Ref helped them win that game and every subsequent one all the way to a WC.

I hope that clarified my standing on the subject.
22 Saturday, 24 September 2011 20:00
Orlando Mac I ask you to please show some piece of paper or video, not recordings because LFV was also on those same recording that show Porto paying refs. Please just once and then you can call Portos' trophies "Stained" all you wasn't. Otherwise I would ask that you stop using that word or I'll start using "Salazar years"...

Now I agree with the theatrical work Fucile did, I don't like it... But some of you fail to remeber the yellow card Otamendi got for a clean tackle on I believe was Gaitan 5 minutes in... This ref never had control of the game, he tried to gain it by giving out yellows at random, he also missed the elbow to Garin by Garcia....
No Big
21 Saturday, 24 September 2011 17:38
No worries over here. Porto is still adjusting to a new coach and losing their most prolific scorer (perhaps in their history) and Benfica still can't get the upper hand. Sure, the ref played his part but I have no doubt that, just like last year, Porto will gain maximum points on the return leg at Luz and walk off with yet another Liga title.
about the game
20 Saturday, 24 September 2011 16:29
you can try defend benfica all you want but did you not see jorge jesus signal for bruno cesar to foul alvaro perreira? well obviousely you guys didnt because its always porto being the cheaters isnt it? and dont try defend cardozo when he was kicking fucile . dont try say it was light because he obviousely was meaning to hurt him. some of the comments actually sicken me
Classico Indeed
19 Saturday, 24 September 2011 14:30
By "Classico" standards this was a great match, since they tend to be more messy than anything else.

Porto dominated the 1st half. They looked much more lively, and Hulk played great. Emerson had a tough time, but who doesn't. I thought he could have used more help. Kleber was non-existant except for his goal, and Maxi had to do much better on the goal. I was surprised that Fucile went on the attack as much as he did, but it didn't hurt them.
I was surprised by seeing Nolito out right and Nico left. Especially since Nolito has tracked back much better than Nico, and Hulk was on that side.
The game was more balanced in the second half. I didn't think that Nico had a particularly good match. He held the ball too long on a couple of occasions, when movement was needed. Fernando for Porto had an outstanding match, and had a lot to do with Aimar not touching the ball. Javi always seems a bit late on balls. I know that he will get criticized, but he's our "hammer" and I get it. Porto's second goal really frustrated me, since all it took was one lapse in concentration. The backline should have gobbled up the pass.

I don't know if anyone else noticed, but I thought that Benfica had a tough time adjusting to the field. On away matches, clubs tend to leave the grass a bit higher to slow us down, and that wasn't the case here. More than a few touches by Benfica players got away from them, especially knocking it forward.

I thought that the ref did a good job. Let me add that being a Benfica fan, I almost expect our team to flop about here and there due to their style of play.
It will be hard for any Porto fan not to see how much flopping Fucile, Alvo, Guarin and Kleber did. Let me say that I may despise Alvo and Fucile as Porto players, but I would love them on my team. Both are very smart and chippy, which I don't mind in tough matches.
Fucile dove a ton on the defenssive end, and if you go take a look, Cardozo didn't kick him three times. Fucile actually dove while heading the ball away from Nico, which should have been a corner, yet it became a free kick out their area.
Alvo also dove a ton runing up the line. I know that players expect contact, but on more than one occasion he just went down.
The one player that nobody has mentioned is Kleber. Everytime he went down, he grabbed his head. It was pathetic, since the replays clearly showed he wasn't hit on the head. The only time he had gripe was when Luisao came over the top of him on a header, but Kleber stayed down as if he was shot.

Let me add, that I understand players commiting "professional fouls" and trying to get what they can from a call. The problem is that when they do it in such a "charged" match, the fans go crazy and scream bloody murder. It just enflames the crowd and sometimes the players, when nothing should have been made of it.

All in all, a much better result for Benfica than Porto. For me the big match will be in Romania on Tuesday, where Benfica needs to get all 3 points.
What a shame and disgrace.
18 Saturday, 24 September 2011 13:47
Porto needs to grow up. These simulations are getting frequent and the first foal that was scored by Porto was from a dive. Anyone could see that clearly. What's happening this year gentlemen is that Porto is playing that same '' great'' game with all the theatrics. But the other teams this year seam to be playing a better game this year than Porto. This is causing Porto to loose points in the last two games in a row. Other clubs already know what Porto is selling as well as UEFA and frankly nobody is in the mood to by that crap.
Viva o Benfica!!!!!
Fantastic result
17 Saturday, 24 September 2011 12:41
Fantastic result for us Benfiquistas!! True Porto were probably the better team over the 90 minutes, but they were at home, and looked content to defend their 2-1 advantage in the second half...so in the end Benfica deserved a draw for their determnination. To come back twice from being behind is fabulous and indicative that we are the real deal this season. The title fight will go the long haul this year.

JJ is impressing me so far this season, he has clearly learned from the mistakes of last season, and looks capable of securing draws in tough matches (e.g away to Twente, against Man United and now away to Porto- all 3 being great results) as opposed to last season when it was literally either win or lose every match.

His tactics and substitutions were spot on. First half he didn't go all out attack which was important, as it stopped Porto hurting us on the counter attack. Second half he was more bold, the substitutions were excellent and just at the right time. Saviola's brilliant assist will give him great confidence and the more I see of Bruno Cesar, the more impressed I am. Great to have two quality options for playmaker.

In the end Porto could only score us from set-pieces and this means our defence has improved, even though i still think it has to get a lot more solid. Artur's save in the first half was unbelievable! Yet another great contribution from Nolito, this time as a provider/assist. What a capture he's been for us! And Cardozo just seems to be getting more and more confident. Overall we just look so much stronger in all departments than last year, and it's going to be an exciting fight for the title this year.

Unlike a lot of other people's views, i believe it will be a two-horse race in the end. Despite their good start, i don't think Braga are as strong as last season, and Sporting have too much change to deal with (i expect them to challenge properly next season). Sporting and Braga do have a lot to play for though, as 3rd place means a Champs League spot. But I think towards the end of the season it'll be the top 2 fighting for the title...which is an improvement on last season at least, when it was a one-horse race, and that's never good for the game at large. This season will be a lot more exciting!!
Mateus is totally on point...
16 Saturday, 24 September 2011 12:29
I might disagree with him & Mdot from time to time but they are both totally on point about diving.

I too think it needs to be stamped out of the game as soon as possible it takes away from great matches and great teams.

Let's face it Porto is a great team there is no need for any of that. Same with Barca.. that is why I despise them so much (Barca).

Look at Spain they used to be one of my favourite National Teams with a great midfield and with such a talent rich squad they began diving en mass.. it took total enjoyment out of their deserved wins in the Euro and WC and left a bad stench in my mouth that like the Italian's I can't stomach to watch.

Like Italy all their trophies are stained with cheating and really there was no need for it. Both countries have talented players to call from.

Anyways at some point I will turn off and won't watch if FIFA and UEFA don't do anything about it. It is really that distasteful to me.

On a yearly basis I write a letter to both and I recommend you all do. If enough of us get together and constantly badger them it just might save the beautiful game, as it has been ugly with only cheats winning the big trophies.

This is not a dig at Porto at all.. as I was not referring to their wins at all.. they were well deserved.. or the Man U's that win consistently and don't have to resort to cheating either.
@ Jorge agree with you
15 Saturday, 24 September 2011 11:20
I'm a Benfica fan but i totally agree with you that Porto were the better team and that Cardozo should have got a red card. That was obvious. The point i want to make is that the referee makes his decisions on the context of the game. The Porto players especially Guarin were overeacting on every occassion possible. Guarin was looking at the referee before the tackle even came in. If you dont beleive me then watch replays of the game. Everytime he was tackled he was calling for a card. There was a tackle were Javi put his elbow on Klebers chest and yes it was a foul but Kleber fell to the ground clutching his face like he had been shot. This happened right in front of the referee and the referee clearly saw that Kleber had not been hit in the face. This made the referee sceptical everytime Porto players feel to the ground as the referee could sense play acting was going on. The player from Porto who was not acting and just playing was Hulk. He was strong at the start of the game and lead his team and did not overeact and yes he should have been given a free kick just before Otamdendi got booked for a foul on Gaitan. Porto won last year because they played great football but this team was intent on trying to win by getting players sent off and that is why they did not win.
Decent game & @(jorge london)
14 Saturday, 24 September 2011 11:01
As a Benfica fan, I have to admit Porto played much better than us in the first half, Hulk was a huge threat coming from the right side! Benfica looked sloopy in the passing in the first half, second half Benfica improved, and the passing was sooooo much better from Benfica, Porto was still as strong but definitely not as strong as they were in the first half, Benfica's counter attacks were great, that goal by Gaitan was quality and what a power slide by Gaitan to celebrate his goal! lool
@(jorge london) yes good game, but the ref made most of the time the right decisions, and when a Porto player was getting a yellow for reckless tackle, a Benfica player would be given a yellow card too, so he was fair!! Yes Cardozo did little kick, but not enough for Fucille to act like he got shot by a shot gun, come on how many times was Fucille making a fool of him self!!!
Yes every player in mordern football takes a tumble! But Fucille was anoying, someone needs to tell him to stop acting like an idiot! But on a good note, Porto played well, Benfica didnt play as well as they could, but we still got the 2-2 draw so a decent point!!!
From the second half...
13 Saturday, 24 September 2011 10:40
I didn't watch the first half which is agreed by everyone to have been Porto's half, but I thought Benfica did very well in the second half, playing very composed and calmly and waiting for the right moment to pounce.Two goals scored in the Dragão in 45 minutes is testimony to this.
I thought the team simply carried on playing their game even when behind twice, passing and probing, and even though I was surprised at the subs by JJ they worked like a charm that pass by Saviola was genius, not to take away from Gaitan's finish, I have often thought especially in the Rui Costa years, that a great pass is half a goal, Saviola did that yesterday, Gaitan did that Wednesday against Manchester United.
Like I said yesterday a draw is a better result for Benfica than Porto, and it'll be interesting for the league if Braga manage to win and have the same points.
tired of hypocricy around here
12 Saturday, 24 September 2011 10:09
i agree that it was a great game but i realy dont like is benfica fans calling porto divers and cheats when yesterday cardozo was the one kicking fucile in the back three times and only got a yellow. how far is this hypocricy going to go? how can people be so blind? always making critics of the others but never seeing it in their own team. its sad. because i saw plenty of times where benfica had decisions in their favour where it should not have been
Decent match
11 Friday, 23 September 2011 23:56
My 2-2 prediction was right on the money! Wish I had a bit of money bet on that game.

The draw keeps things tight at the top of the table, which is good. It will be interesting it see if Braga can take 3 points from their next match.

The diving has already been covered by others. It's a pity, but at least the referee didn't fall for it, and it didn't directly taint the scoreline in the end.

If Braga can pull into the lead, maybe they (and dare I hope Sporting?) can keep things interesting at the top of the table this season and prevent the Liga from just being a "two horse race" between SLB and FCP.

And as always, I must say that I am hopeful that ALL Liga sides playing in the CL and EL play to their full potential, to increase the Coefficient and pump more qualifying money into the Liga.
Prayers answered
10 Friday, 23 September 2011 23:49
Looks like Nossa Senhorra was listening today when she answered my prayer of watching a game minus all that semantics that usually take away what I always look forward to in a derby. The match was passionate and hard fought. Porto certainly looked the better team for much of the game. Although like the Match against Man U Os Glorrioso's made the most of their opportunities. This appears to be JJ's new approach going forward in big matches.

I'd like to see him experiment with replacing Javi with Axel and going back to original formation in games where defense doesn't have to be the focus. Moving with Nico and on the wings and Aimar and Cesar in the middle with Cardozo the striker. Just a curiosity more than anything else.

What a refreshing match to watch today, wonder if the UEFA officials at the game had anything to do with it. Hats off to Jorge Sousa he maintained complete control of the match and never let anything to carried away.

Força SLB
Couldn't say it better
9 Friday, 23 September 2011 23:23
^^^ John/USA i couldn't have said it better. ^^^

Decent match
8 Friday, 23 September 2011 23:16
My 2-2 prediction was right on the money! Wish I had a bit of money bet on that game.

The draw keeps things tight at the top of the table, which is good. It will be interesting it see if Braga can take 3 points from their next match.

The diving has already been covered by others. It's a pity, but at least the referee didn't fall for it, and it didn't directly taint the scoreline in the end.

If Braga can pull into the lead, maybe they (and dare I hope Sporting?) can keep things interesting at the top of the table this season and prevent the Liga from just being a "two horse race" between SLB and FCP.

And as always, I must say that I am hopeful that ALL Liga sides playing in the CL and EL play to their full potential, to increase the Coefficient and pump more qualifying money into the Liga.
Classic game
7 Friday, 23 September 2011 22:48
Very back and forth game, both of these teams are very strong and it's understand why most people figured the title race would be between these two. If Braga gets the win this weekend it'll keep things interesting.

As for the diving, it's getting sad how bad it is. I expect a bit around the box but shit they were diving in their own end, anytime someone was near them they would flop on the floor.
I didn't know Porto had a dive team!
6 Friday, 23 September 2011 22:17
I'm just calling it as I saw it. Fucile should have been sent off for simulation. The official's jobs are hard enough as it is and these clowns (all divers) just make it even worse. FPF needs to make a stand and issue heavy fines (to whatever player or team) to make it stop. I know this is an old issue but it is magnified in these big games and makes the Liga look bad.

Overall, Porto had the edge. The midfield dominated at times. Maxi was beat too many times and the Benfica defense was flat footed on the second Porto goal. Benfica played well on the counter attack.
great result
5 Friday, 23 September 2011 22:15
As a Benfiquista, I must admit that Porto was the better team. Their midfield and front 3 worked tirelessly throughout the game, preventing Benfica from getting into any rhythm. For most of the match, Benfica only threatened on the occasional counter-attack. Javi Garcia was, yet again, terrible in possession. He lost the ball constantly in Benfica's half of the field. Witsel was ok, but definitely not at his best. Aimar didn't see much of the ball, but when he did, he didn't do much with it.

Nolito, Gaitan, and Cardozo all had good games, but Cardozo could have scored another goal. Gaitan can be frustrating at times, but every once and a while he has a moment of brilliance which changes everything.

Emerson makes me more and more nervous every time he plays. He was beaten constantly be Hulk. Luisao and Garay weren't perfect, but they weren't too bad either. Maxi was also sub-par. Artur, again, made some crucial saves.

My men of the match are Fernando and Moutinho. They were both brilliant off the ball and clever on it. Because of their relentless pressing and tackling, Benfica could never really get into the game.
Silence the home supporters
4 Friday, 23 September 2011 22:15
Unstoppable goal by Gaitan but it was a bit lucky. Porto controlled the first half and they deserved the lead. I wasn't happy with my team's passing and they didn't have any good chances but the second half they redeemed themselves. I wanted Benfica with the three points but when Gaitan scored I was relieved and we have to look forward to Tuesday's game.

Forca Benfica!
Didnt see whole game
3 Friday, 23 September 2011 21:58
But it looked pretty even and as the comentador on Antena 1 thought Benfica looked more organized. The title race will be alot closer this year. Cardozo is alot better than Kleber and Luisao was a rock in defence once again.
Great game
2 Friday, 23 September 2011 21:56
wow that was a great game, glad i got up early (5 AM in Australia) On the balance of play Porto deserved to win but Benfica defended well and were extremely dangerous on the counter attack. For Porto i thought Fucile, Hulk and Guarin had great games although i think at times Guarins diving and constantly trying to drew the yellow card lets him down. For Benfica i was impressed with all the players but emerson constant running was a highlight for me. he is far from a world class in attack and defence but he never stops running and getting into good positions down the left. Hope he can improve his defences covering. Although Porto fans might disagree but i though the referee was outstanding. He was strict but resisted the temptation to produce the red card and controlled a potentially heated game. Great goal by Gaitan at the end to sneak a draw.
Porto players
1 Friday, 23 September 2011 21:46
Porto players should spend less time diving and play acting and more time on the attack. Who do they think they are, Barcelona?

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