SL Benfica 1-2 FC Porto
FC Porto have completed the league and cup double after defeating Benfica 2-1 in the Taça de Portugal final in Coimbra, this Saturday, despite a first-half Luís Diaz red card.
The Dragons were forced to face the Eagles with just ten men after Diaz’s dismissal, in addition to Sérgio Conceição’s sending off, leaving Porto with a tall order going into the break, still locked at 0-0.
An early second-half double from Chancel Mbemba turned the tide for the Blue & Whites, however, standing strong in the face of a late Carlos Vinícius penalty to secure the club's first Taça de Portugal trophy since 2011 with a 2-1 win.
In the build-up to the clash, there was a welcome return to action for Porto’s Mateus Uribe after last week’s injury scare, whereas Haris Seferovic was able to fight off competition from Vinícius to spearhead Benfica’s attack for the season’s curtain-caller.
The first chance of the showdown fell Porto’s way after Jesús Corona found a route past Julian Weigl inside the box before forcing a low save out of Odisseas Vlachodimos, four minutes in.
Despite the early promise, the game soon transcended itself into a cagey affair, ultimately spelling trouble for the Dragons in the 38th minute. Already on a yellow card, Luís Diaz was pulled up for an obvious studs-up foul on André Almeida, leaving Sergio Conceição’s men to tackle the rest of the final down to ten men.
As tempers flared, ill-discipline extended itself to the dugout after the Porto boss himself was shown out to the dressing room, meanwhile both sides called time on the first half locked at 0-0.
The Primeira Liga champions were quick to place Benfica in a spot of bother soon after the restart after Vlachodimos flapped at an Alex Telles set-piece, allowing Mbemba to nod into an empty net with a measured header and give Porto a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.
Porto continued to find ways to deter the disadvantage of being down to ten men, again through a set-piece, with Mbemba popping up alone once more to double the northern outfit’s lead in the 57th minute.
Following a quick free-kick, Benfica almost encountered some set-piece joy of their own after André Almeida spotted Vinícius with a cross, wasted by the Brazilian striker with a downwards header bouncing over.
The Eagles were offered the chance to ramp up the pressure on Porto after earning a penalty in the 83rd minute, converted by Vinícius in Pizzi’s absence.
Nélson Veríssimo’s team came inches away from attaining a much-desired equaliser as the ball fell perfectly for Jota to volley at goal from the edge of the box, with the young winger denied only by the post in the 91st minute.
Waves of Benfica pressure kept coming Porto’s way, but the league champions resisted en route to their 17th Portuguese Cup, equaling Sporting in the history books after a hard-earned 2-1 victory.
By Patrick Ribeiro
FC Porto XI: Diogo Costa - Alex Telles, Pepe, Chancel Mbemba, Wilson Manafá - Danilo Pereira, Mateus Uribe (Mamadou Loum, 88’), Otávio (Diogo Leite, 72’) - Luís Diaz, Jesús Corona (Sérgio Oliveira, 80’), Moussa Marega
Benfica XI: Odisseas Vlachodimos - Nuno Tavares, Jardel, Rubén Dias, André Almeida - Julian Weigl (Adel Taarabt, 58’), Gabriel - Franco Cervi (Rafa Silva, 45’), Chiquinho (Carlos Vinícius, 58’), Pizzi (Jota, 77’) - Haris Seferovic (Dyego Sousa, 77’)
[0-1] - Chancel Mbemba (47’)
[0-2] - Chancel Mbemba (57’)
[1-2] - Carlos Vinícius (83’)