FC Porto 1-1 Benfica

Both FC Porto and Benfica have missed the chance to cut the gap at the top down to two points after sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Estádio do Dragão, this Friday night.

Following Sporting’s 1-1 draw to Rio Ave earlier in the evening, the Dragons and the Eagles were handed the opportunity to make second place their own and close in on the league leaders, providing a victory for either side.

Alex Grimaldo’s opener set Benfica’s plan in motion in the first half before Moussa Marega’s subtle touch from Mehdi Taremi’s strike equalled matters before the break.

A reckless Taremi challenge, later in the second period, left Porto to fend off Jorge Jesus’ side with just ten men in the final 20 minutes, but the visitors failed to make their numerical advantage count en route to a 1-1 stalemate in the ‘Clássico’.

Otávio served as the main absentee on Porto’s side, paving way for Jesús Corona to push up the right wing and for Nanu to fill in, meanwhile Nuno Tavares, starting at left-back, was Jorge Jesus’ big surprise.

The first half-chance fell Benfica’s way as Julian Weigl’s transportation of the ball opened up the avenue to spot Darwin Nuñez running the channels, with the latter aiming to feed Haris Seferovic at the near-post before the Swiss striker’s inaccurate finish, eight minutes in.

In their second visit to Augustin Marchesín’s goal, Benfica found a way through via Grimaldo’s 17th-minute opener, latching onto Seferovic’s first-time lay-off to lift the ball over the Porto goalkeeper and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

No less than seven minutes later, Porto we’re celebrating an equaliser after Corona, up against Gilberto, earned himself a yard to pick out Taremi inside the box prior to the Iranian's shot at goal being helped on in by Marega.

The visitors almost found their way back in front in the 29th minute, courtesy of good work from Pizzi to set Darwin up with a cut back, but the latter would have little luck with a strike hitting the post square on.

Porto attacked through Luis Diaz in the 37th minute, in search of an angle to shoot from that led to the Colombian curling the ball wide past Odisseas Vlachodimos’ goal, rather dangerously.

The battle in the second period intensified, promoting much of the habitual hustle and bustle that comes with derby games before Marega’s saved header from a set-piece, deep in the 68th minute of the game, drew eyes back onto the football.

Porto’s night was about the complicate itself moments later, however, as Taremi’s tackle on Nicolas Otamendi, initially met by a yellow card, was overruled by VAR to send the striker off and leave the hosts reduced to ten man in the final 20 minutes.

Despite this, Sérgio Conceição’s men still found the bodies to trouble Benfica in the eternal search for an advantage, as Marega attacked Diaz’s looping header, aimed at the back post, with a tame chested effort, saved by Odisseas.

The visitors proceeded to enjoy their fair share of possession in the latter stages of the game but would fail to pick Porto’s lock, taking us into full-time with a 1-1 draw and a point apiece for both title hopefuls, locked on 32 points.

By Patrick Ribeiro

FC Porto XI: Augustin Marchesín - Nanú, Chancel Mbemba, Pepe, Zaidu Sanusi (Diogo Leite, 82’) - Jesús Corona, Sérgio Oliveira (Marko Grujic, 97’), Matheus Uribe, Luis Diaz (João Mário, 82’) - Moussa Marega, Mehdi Taremi

Benfica XI: Odisseas Vlachodimos - Gilberto, Nicolas Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen, Nuno Tavares - Rafa Silva, Julian Weigl, Pizzi (Chiquinho, 77’), Alex Grimaldo (Everton Cebolinha, 83’) - Darwin Nuñez, Haris Seferovic

Goals:

[0-1] - Alex Grimaldo (17’)

[1-1] - Moussa Marega (24’)

Comments (7)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

What a game.

Pizzi using beautiful leg kicks on Corona, Zaidu stomping Rafa, Sergio Oliveira eating his shoe, Porto's waterboy getting a red card.

As usual, some tense moments with a bit of MMA sprinkled in. The classico almost always has...

What a game.

Pizzi using beautiful leg kicks on Corona, Zaidu stomping Rafa, Sergio Oliveira eating his shoe, Porto's waterboy getting a red card.

As usual, some tense moments with a bit of MMA sprinkled in. The classico almost always has drama.

Overall, Porto underperformed and Benfica perfomed better than usual. The red card on Taremi was deserved, has to be said. Marega was complaining about a red card he thought Pizzi should've gotten in the first half, probably right as well.

It is what it is folks, the draw really benefitted Sporting who, it has to be said, missed a big chance here to gain points and widen the lead.

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Chris
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I was really pleased with Benfica's performance last night. Dominated the play and the ball for practically the whole match, and I agree entirely with JJ: that was clearly two points lost when you consider the overall performance. A great...

I was really pleased with Benfica's performance last night. Dominated the play and the ball for practically the whole match, and I agree entirely with JJ: that was clearly two points lost when you consider the overall performance. A great response from the team to all the criticism and melodrama from the press in recent weeks. That recent article on this site for example, which effectively served as a post mortem for Benfica's ENTIRE season IN EARLY JANUARY (lol!)...well that was rather premature now, wasn't it? I think Benfica showed last night, that certainly in terms of maximum potential, they are the strongest team in the league. The problem so far has been the time it's taking for a new look team to gel and to find consistency. Hopefully we see many more performances like that from now on.

It was a good clasico, played at a frenetic pace and intensity and every player gave everything. For once Benfica gave a total 100% into a clasico, the way Porto always do in the clasicos, and we dominated the open play and really should have won the match. I think Jesus totally overwhelmed Conceicao last night in a tactical sense. Conceicao did what he normally does, and played totally direct, loads of long balls to Marega up front and looking to profit from set pieces (their goal unsurprisingly came from a set piece, a throw in). But Benfica dominated the open play, way before the red card. Porto are very solid though, and in Pepe they have a beast at the back, who at 37 is still one of the top CBs in the world, and it was this solidity that won them a point last night.

But this was the Benfica i was hoping to see since the start of the season under JJ. Attractive, attacking play with high intensity and organisation. I was happy with the performance of every single player last night, even with some of the players who have so far underwhelmed this season like Seferovic (what an assist!), Otamendi (super solid) and Nuno Tavares (by far his best performance in a Benfica shirt). And look how much better the central midfield looked with Taraabt out of it. So much more intensity and organisation without him. Hopefully that's the last we have seen of him in the starting 11. Great performances too from Weigl, Rafa, Grimaldo and Verthongen. On the whole, very encouraging for the team to have produced their best performance of the season so far in the biggest match we've played so far. JJ has to somehow find a way to get the team to play to that sort of level in every game. If he can manage to do so, then I would be confident that we will end up as champions. Let's see what happens, a long way to go still...

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Andre/UK
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Andre, I enjoy talking to you and comparing notes, so I hope you don't get offended when I ask you this; were we watching the same game?

The game was pretty close in the first half. Benfica scored and Porto tied almost immediately. Porto were...

Andre, I enjoy talking to you and comparing notes, so I hope you don't get offended when I ask you this; were we watching the same game?

The game was pretty close in the first half. Benfica scored and Porto tied almost immediately. Porto were bombing the Benfica goal towards the end of the first half, and Benfica clearly had the better display in the first 20 mins of the 2nd half.

Oddly, after Porto got the red card, they were way more dangerous and flooded the Benfica defence looking for a win. In fact, Conceicao showed he has more balls than brains and threw on 2 attackers with a man down, looking for a win. Jesus, "o Cerebro" clearly told Benfica to hold on for the draw. It was pretty obvious.

You say Benfica lost 2 points? I say Marega lost Porto the two points. He had an easy tap in from a Luiz Diaz cross-header but decided at that moment that he wanted to begin his career as a Yoga instructor and try to score with his downward dog position. Honestly, I love the guy but sometimes he's an idiot in front of goal.

I think the game was much more balanced than you seem to have seen it bud. Both teams had decent chances. Benfica played better than usual and their goal was beautiful but let's not pretend that this was a Barcelona in 2006 display.

You keep talking about the team gelling and coming together and referencing the article. I think the whole point of the article was that LFV took a big gamble wanting that consistency you speak of right from the get-go. That's why he and Jorgey were talking so big right fr the start of the season. If their first display that shows they're competitive comes in mid-January, than it has to be said that it's a bit of a let down, no?

Anyways, I hope we can have a good discussion because I like chatting with you and you're reasonable. Hopefully you can take my points with a grain of salt and not get upset with me. Cheers.

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Chris
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I watched the game and have to completely agree with Andre. Benfica was clearly the better team. Absolute brilliance from JJ, I hope he doesn't keep it up. As for Porto, par the usual an uninteresting team and display.

Danny
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Yesterday was a interesting day of football for the league, it shows that Sporting can and will lose points when they underperform which they certainly did, I was really annoyed at the draw and even more so that Porto and Benfica's game ended as...

Yesterday was a interesting day of football for the league, it shows that Sporting can and will lose points when they underperform which they certainly did, I was really annoyed at the draw and even more so that Porto and Benfica's game ended as a draw. But Sporting really did no deserve to win that game.

Also as Benfica were the slightly stronger side against Porto, I'm not as confident as I was given Sporting's last few games that we can beat Benfica at the end of the month.

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Joao
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Agreed that Benfica were slightly the better side, but even that was short-lived as Porto basically overwhelmed them with a man down looking for the W.

Sporting should have capitalized even though Rio Ave are always a tough game. I think the...

Agreed that Benfica were slightly the better side, but even that was short-lived as Porto basically overwhelmed them with a man down looking for the W.

Sporting should have capitalized even though Rio Ave are always a tough game. I think the real advantage for them comes into play in February, when Porto and Benfica have their European games.

Sporting will also have to beat either or both Benfica and Porto to really solidify their chance at winning the title this season. Either way, it's great to see them back competing for the crown.

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Chris
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Sporting was missing 4 key players out due to COVID-19/suspension - Nuno Mendes, Neto, Sporar, and Feddal.

The squad is thin on depth. Usually their offside trap is amazing, if they had their usual defenders I doubt Rio Ave would have scored.

I...

Sporting was missing 4 key players out due to COVID-19/suspension - Nuno Mendes, Neto, Sporar, and Feddal.

The squad is thin on depth. Usually their offside trap is amazing, if they had their usual defenders I doubt Rio Ave would have scored.

I note that this is already the second COVID out break that has inflicted sporting this season. Strangely, the virus has mutated and infects key players on Sporting, but only marginal ones for Porto.

Porto - Benfica was an entertaining match during the first half. Unfortunately, the second half descended into the savage thuggery and gamesmanship that these two clubs have become famous for over the years. Taremi is one of the biggest divers I’ve seen in our league.

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