FC Porto 1-2 Benfica

Benfica have risen to the top of the Primeira Liga table after coming back from a goal down to defeat FC Porto 2-1 at the Estádio do Dragão, this Saturday.

Porto took the lead midway through the first half via Adrián López - an effort cancelled out by João Félix’s equaliser before the half-time break.

Rafa Silva’s finish in the 52nd minute completed the turnaround for Benfica, pushing the Eagles two points clear at the top of the table, who were forced to battle through the final exchanges of the encounter reduced to 10 men following Gabriel’s red card.

The big news in the hosts’ corner saw the previously-injured Moussa Marega make his way back into the Porto XI, unlike the benched Éder Militão, meanwhile Bruno Lage placed his bets on a tried and trusted line-up, led by João Félix and Haris Seferovic in attack.

Porto sought directness very early in the encounter, firing from range through Alex Telles' left foot, forcing Odisseas Vlachodimos into the first save of the game inside half a minute.

Yacine Brahimi earned his side another prime opportunity to strike at goal after being brought down in his venture down the left-hand side by Rúben Dias, earning his side a free-kick in the 18th minute.

Rather than having the Algerian step up to the set-piece, it was Adrián who took the measurements before letting fly against the wall on his right foot, making amends on the rebound with a side-footed volley into the far corner to place Sérgio Conceição’s side 1-0 up. 

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

Benfica responded through Pizzi in the 22nd minute, nipping in with the ball inside the box before opening his body up and taking aim at goal, where Casillas would stand tall to deny the midfielder. 

The openings kept coming for the Eagles, however, who by the 27th minute made sure one of them would count as João Félix collected a cross from strike partner Seferovic from the left before picking his spot inside the box, subsequently levelling the encounter.

Seferovic was handed the opportunity to extend his rich vein of form in front of goal and put Benfica ahead on the brink of half-time, receiving Pizzi’s through ball before firing on his left coming into the area, but the Swiss striker was unable to direct his effort away from Casillas, who blocked his shot.

The two XIs came out intact for the second period but the dynamic of the contest soon changed after a give-and-go between Rafa and Pizzi unlocked the Porto defence before the winger could find the bottom corner in the 53rd minute.

Brahimi led the charge for an equaliser almost immediately, cutting in from the left and firing a fierce strike just over Vlachodimos’ goal.

From Wilson Manafá, Porto almost found a way in for the leveler after the full-back’s run up the right flank was spotted and the ex-Portimonense man was able to pull a cross back for Herrera to strike, just as Samaris burst onto the scene to crucially rob the Mexican of a prime opportunity.

Gabriel see red

At the other end, Rafa came close to picking out the same corner that had brought joy to the away end early in the second half, just moments before a rush of blood from Gabriel saw him pick up a red card for an altercation with Otávio, as Benfica played out the final ten minutes with a numerical inferiority.

The Dragons turned to a set-piece to edge themselves closer to an equaliser, with Felipe grazing the top of the bar with a header after rising highest from Alex Telles’ corner.

Two big saves from Vlachodimos late on safeguarded Benfica’s lead, firstly denying Felipe’s effort from range before Marega could find no way through from the subsequent corner.

The title holders were kept out throughout the final exchanges, consequently surrendering top spot to Benfica, who are now two points clear of Porto with ten league games to go.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Line-ups

FC Porto: Iker Casillas - Alex Telles, Pepe, Felipe, Wilson Manafá - Yacine Brahimi, Héctor Herrera, Óliver (Danilo Pereira, 81’), Jesús Corona (Otávio, 61’)- Adrián López (Tiquinho Soares, 61’), Moussa Marega

Benfica: Odisseas Vlachodimos - Alejandro Grimaldo, Ferro, Rúben Dias, André Almeida - Rafa Silva (Sebastian Corchia, 87’), Andreas Samaris, Gabriel, Pizzi (Gedson Fernandes, 71’) - João Félix, Haris Seferovic

 

Goals:

[1-0] - Adrian Lopez, (18’)

[1-1] - João Félix, (27’)

[1-2] - Rafa Silva (52’)

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Well done to benfica!
To go to the Dragão is never easy, Porto’s home record speaks for itself and Benfixas head to head vs Porto also speaks loudly in portos favour in recent years.

It was fantastic to see Benfica try to play their game away...

Well done to benfica!
To go to the Dragão is never easy, Porto’s home record speaks for itself and Benfixas head to head vs Porto also speaks loudly in portos favour in recent years.

It was fantastic to see Benfica try to play their game away from home against Porto, something the previous managers would never do.

It was a hotly contested game, and fortunately benfica did manage to come on top.

Who would have thought Rafa of all players would score, normally it takes him several tries haha.

10 more games to go, many difficult fixtures left for both teams. Let’s see where this league takes us!


Good luck to Porto and benfica in their European fixtures this week!

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One word to describe Lage's impact since taking charge of the team in the last couple of months: outstanding! How this is the exact same group of players to earlier in the season is amazing, just shows the impact a coach has on things. The...

One word to describe Lage's impact since taking charge of the team in the last couple of months: outstanding! How this is the exact same group of players to earlier in the season is amazing, just shows the impact a coach has on things. The general level of play, the effort and determination shown and the self-belief in the players, is unrecognisable in these last couple of months compared to earlier in the season under Vitoria.

An excellent display overall last night to achieve a deserved victory. Not even Porto's early goal nor Gabriel's red card affected the players' belief that they would win this game. I think that apart from the first 10-15 mins and the last 15 mins (due to the red card), we were the better team, more organised and more threatening in our attacks, and deserved the 3 points.

Special mentions to: Ferro and Dias in central defence. The pair were simply imperial at the back. Porto's goal came from a direct set piece, but from open play they hardly threatened our backline. Ferro surely has to be called up to the next Selecao squad, and him and Dias are looking like the definite Selecao CB pairing in the near future. Also to Gabriel, who has been immense in CM since Lage took charge, once again last night, arguably the man of the match despite the red card. And to João Felix, that kid just looks better and better every match he plays and is pure class. Took his goal superbly well and was a constant threat throughout. I think overall it was good to see the team that started with SIX Portuguese players (including three recent Seixal graduates) prevail over a team that started with ZERO Portuguese players. Porto would do well to start utilising their youth academy a little more, as this would also contribute talent to the selecao.

Anyway a top result for Benfica, and one that puts everything in our own hands now. But saying that, we have to keep our feet on the ground and things in perspective. We are still in early March and there's still a long way to go in the title race. A two point lead is nothing with 10 games still left to play and surely Porto are going to give everything until the end of the season. Benfica just have to continue with humility, hard work and focus, and jogo a jogo. But the impact Lage has made has been really exciting up to now!

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That was perhaps the best Benfica performance away at the Dragao I have ever seen. Everyone played well, but Samaris, Ferro, and Rafa were particularly impressive. Bruno Lage ...what else is there to say. What he has managed to accomplish in just...

That was perhaps the best Benfica performance away at the Dragao I have ever seen. Everyone played well, but Samaris, Ferro, and Rafa were particularly impressive. Bruno Lage ...what else is there to say. What he has managed to accomplish in just a short amount of time is nothing short of extraordinary! It's still far too early to reserve the Marques, but we've got all of the momentum on our side and we're clearly peaking at the perfect time.

I'd love to see us win the Europa League, but the Liga will undoubtedly continue to be our #1 priority. I expect to see a heavily rotated squad in Croatia on Thursday, so that our starting 11 can get plenty of time to recuperate for a potentially tricky match against Belenenses.

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