Benfica Porto Hector HerreraBenfica 0-1 FC Porto

FC Porto have returned to the top of the Primeira Liga table after a late Héctor Herrera goal powered the Dragons past Benfica with a 1-0 victory at the Estádio da Luz, this evening.

The two title contenders looked poised for a share of the spoils before the Mexican's strike from range stole the show in the 90th minute, moving the Dragons back above second-placed Benfica with a two-point lead.

With both clubs sweating until the final minute over the fitness of their main goal-grabbers, Jonas' absence opened up the opportunity for Raúl Jiménez to prolong his recent patch of good form at the pinnacle of Benfica's attack, meanwhile Moussa Marega provided the visitors a boost with his return to the starting line-up.

Despite a lively start to proceedings, the two rivals could do no more than a shot against the outside of the post within the first 20 minutes, as Rafa Silva eyed up a cross directed at Franco Cervi from the right.

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

In an attempt to tip the balance in Benfica's favour, Cervi mirrored Rafa's work on the opposite flank by wriggling his way into the box and letting rip at Iker Casillas from close range, just moments before Tiquinho Soares was able to register Porto's first strike at goal, albeit way wide of the mark.

With best use of possession remaining with the hosts, two chances apiece led the sides into the break locked at 0-0, as Pizzi, one-on-one with goalkeeper, failed to guide a close-range volley past Casillas prior to Marega steering Ricardo's cross wide in the 44th minute.

Porto picked up where they left off in the second period, seeking the Malian in attack once more before a heavy touch inside the box took the forward into Bruno Varela's orbit. The Eagles replied through Jardel, attacking Pizzi's corner in the 54th minute to hook a volley wide of Casillas' far post, as the game began to open up.

Brahimi edged the Dragons closer to the opener in the 66th minute, led by Ricardo's counter, as the Algerian playmaker performed his habitual cut infield to curl a shot just wide of the target.

The warnings sent from the visitors induced caution into Rui Vitória's plans, as Benfica turned to the likes of Andreas Samaris and Eduardo Salvio to help nullify their opponents' new-found appetite for attack.

With the two sides staring at a goalless draw, Herrera was able to stun the home side with a venemous strike from the edge of the box to place Porto in front in the 90th minute, leaving Benfica just four minutes to conjure up a response.

The added time was enough to squeeze in a penalty shout on Andrija Zivkovic, floored in a collision with Ricardo prior to the referee's snub, as Sérgio Conceição's men held on to secure a valuable victory over their rivals.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Benfica XI: Bruno Varela - André Almeida, Ruben Dias, Jardel, Alejandro Grimaldo - Ljubomir Fejsa, Pizzi (Haris Seferovic, 86'), Andrija Zivkovic - Rafa Silva (Eduardo Salvio, 66'), Franco Cervi (Andreas Samaris, 74'), Raúl Jiménez

FC Porto XI: Iker Casillas - Ricardo Pereira, Felipe, Ivan Marcano, Alex Telles - Héctor Herrera, Sérgio Oliveira (Oliver Torres, 74'), Otávio (Jesús Corona, 79') - Moussa Marega, Yacine Brahimi, Tiquinho Soares (Vincent Aboubakar, 83')

 

Goals:

[0-1] Héctor Herrera, 90'

 

 

Comments (23)

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Big goal

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Great game, could have gone either way. Benfica definitely needed more spark in second half.

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2 red cards and a penalty not given... I guess the referee forgot to show up.
Well, porto really know how to bribe them and they are experts at it

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Jessica, did you need some cheese to go with those sour grapes? How many non-calls were awarded for Benfica all season?

Draw against Rio Ave, a fantom penalty awarded to Jonas.

Benfica losing 1-0 to Portimonense, Salvio dives in the box, and I...

Jessica, did you need some cheese to go with those sour grapes? How many non-calls were awarded for Benfica all season?

Draw against Rio Ave, a fantom penalty awarded to Jonas.

Benfica losing 1-0 to Portimonense, Salvio dives in the box, and I mean dives, penalty awarded to Benfica.

Draw against Belenenses in January, Benfica losing 1-0, given 8 minutes stoppage time and finally equalize.

Last week against Setubal, Benfica tied, Salvio takes yet another Olympic dive in the box in 92nd minute, penalty!

By the way, penalty not given today, as you say... you must mean when Ruben Dias dragged Marega down in the box, right?

While we're on the topic of bribing officials, care to talk about Paulo Goncalves, the Benfica administrator who was offering gifts to league officials? No?

How about penalties, since you seem so interested in the topic?

2017-18 Liga NOS Penalty kicks awarded:

FC Porto- 1

Sporting- 3

Benfica- 7

Interesting isn't it? So, please, tell us again how Porto bribed officials today.

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Chris, just because benfica have had more penalties than porto, doesn't mean the refs are helping benfica.

have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, small teams can't contain benfica as well as they can against sporting porto? Thats why they...

Chris, just because benfica have had more penalties than porto, doesn't mean the refs are helping benfica.

have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, small teams can't contain benfica as well as they can against sporting porto? Thats why they need to foul so much more often against benfica.

Even porto in this Classico played absolutely disgusting, constantly resorting to ugly fouls to stop them, and not just fouling but pretty much trying to hurt benfica players.

the foul that Sergio did on Rafa t get a yellow card was repeated multiple times. The exact same foul later on though was no longer a card. please explain how its only a yellow card sometimes.

Also, zivkovic is in the box at the end, gets pushed with hands on him, apparently legal, ok...

And as if porto never get anything there way is complete bs. Of course all teams have calls go their way and against them, but it definitely favours porto way more than any other team

Lastly, I guess you didn't actually see the other penalties, but they were not dives.

With proper officiating, porto down to at least 10 men in first half. After that, porto would have played a much different game. who knows if they would have still won or not, and of course all second half fouls probably would have been different. But there is no denying that the ref COMPLETELY bailed out porto in this match. And this was not just any match, a potentially title winning match.

So take of this what you will, but I think benfica were robbed in the most important match of the season, and I still think justice will be served when porto slip up in their remaining tough matches and benfica hammer all remaining teams to become, and remain as, Portugals best team.

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First of all, as Portugal's best team, Benfica certainly proved it. As my buddy who is a Benfiquista said, they went 100% in the Champions League. 100% losses. A new record for a Portuguese team. I think if you watched this season, you would...

First of all, as Portugal's best team, Benfica certainly proved it. As my buddy who is a Benfiquista said, they went 100% in the Champions League. 100% losses. A new record for a Portuguese team. I think if you watched this season, you would be hard pressed to say Benfica have been the best team. They could still win the title, but up to this point, the best team? Not in my opinion.

With respect to opportunities, and small teams unable to "contain" Benfica, let's take a look at that shall we?

Porto- goals for 73/ penalties awarded 3

Braga- goals for 70/ penalties awarded 1 (that is not a typo)

Benfica- goals for 75/ penalties awarded 7

If you look at leading assists (an indicator of chances created), the top 5 players, two are from Porto (Telles and Brahimi), one is from Sporting (Bruno Fernandes), and the earliest Benfica entrant is in in 7th spot with Andre Almeida.

Finally, let's take a look at total shots taken:

Braga- 427 shots taken

Benfica- 495 shots taken

Porto- 520 shots taken.

So thank you for making an argument that further reinforces my point, and let's give Braga some credit for scoring 69 goals on their own to Benfica's 68 without penalties!

So your argument is completely baseless. Benfica do not pose a more difficult question of "containment" than Porto or even Braga. They simply get special treatment.

By the way, I completely agree that Porto get preferential treatment. If you've read any of my posts on this site, you will have seen I have a long-standing issue with the Liga that Porto, Sporting and Benfica always get special treatment over the rest of the league and it isn't right.

But the fact is, of the big 3, Benfica get the best treatment of all. The fact that you think all calls should be made in Benfica's favour and completely ignored my question about Ruben Dias body slamming Marega just speaks to the ingrained bias of yourself and many Benfica fans.

If you were willing to just admit that the game was fair to both teams, and Porto was simply the better team over 90 minutes, I might let your statements go. But the fact that you excuse everything Benfica do and want the ref to help you out says it all.

By the way, as a Portista, I have no problem saying that Benfica have deserved their last 4 titles. They have definitely gotten officiating help in those seasons as well, but they also played exceptionally well, especially considering the scrubs that LFV signed for Rui Vitoria. But this season, before the slump, there is no question who the best team in Portugal has been.

Porto could, as you say, go on to lose points and Benfica could slaughter everyone and win the penta, sure. But that does not change the fact that you are moaning about nonsense with respect to yesterday's Classico.

Cheers.

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I need to correct myself:

Both Porto and Braga only had 1 penalty each called for them all season:

Braga- 70 goals/1 penalty awarded

Porto- 73 goals/1 penalty awarded

Benfica- 75 goals/7 penalties awarded

Benfica was given 85% more penalties...

I need to correct myself:

Both Porto and Braga only had 1 penalty each called for them all season:

Braga- 70 goals/1 penalty awarded

Porto- 73 goals/1 penalty awarded

Benfica- 75 goals/7 penalties awarded

Benfica was given 85% more penalties for roughly the same number of goals.

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And since I'm here may as well comment on your statistics shown.

when I said "Portugals best team", I didn't mean based off this season.I meant in recent history, as well as in all of history. I know this wasn't their best season, but a team is...

And since I'm here may as well comment on your statistics shown.

when I said "Portugals best team", I didn't mean based off this season.I meant in recent history, as well as in all of history. I know this wasn't their best season, but a team is not good for only one season, you have to look at the whole picture to state a team as one of the best.

Also, more shots for porto doesn't really mean more chances.

Think of it this way, a team could have 10 shots all in one play, for example, a bunch of rebounds coming back, but in this example, they did not deserve 10 goals in the match because if any of the 10 shots went in, the rest wouldn't have happened. (I hope you understand my point here)

Also they probably have many more shots from outside the box, which, lets be honest, are not real chances. I don't know how often Porto shoot outside the box, but I do know Benfica rarely do it.

Also, I would argue that your stats that you showed actually prove Benfica to be a better offensive side. I say this because, they score more goals with less chances. Benfica are more clinical than Porto. Porto need to constantly shoot from wherever they can to score some goals, while Benfica take their shots when they actually make sense.

Just a side note here, If Benfica weren't as clinical as they are, or if they were more ruthless, they would have more shots than any other team without a doubt. I say this because usually when Benfica get a 1 goal lead, they play defensive almost, trying to secure the lead rather than extend it.
This is especially evident in the first half of the season, and this is the exact reason Benfica have dropped so many points in the beginning.
They get the lead, try to defend it without attacking, then the other team takes advantage of Benfica's poor defending, and then its usually too late for Benfica to do something.
If Benfica were ruthless, this wouldn't happen. Also, if they were less clinical, they wouldn't get leads so quickly and would therefore attack a lot more.

Lastly, it is true Benfica have had many more penalties, there is no denying it. But if they weren't constantly fouled in the box, then they would have just had more open play goals.
Some of Benfica's penalties come from fouls in the middle of the box, which means if they weren't taken down, they would have probably scored anyways.

So sure, they have less open play goals then the other teams, but if they weren't fouled on those 7 occasions, I can guarantee at least 4 or 5 of them would have resulted in open play goals anyways. This would of course result in more goals without penalties.

And I agree, Braga are having one heck of a season, but my previous point means Benfica would have had more goals without penalties if if weren't for the constant fouls on Benfica.

Before I finish here, I just want to ask this: Does it really matter how a team score a goal? long shots, bicycle kicks, tap ins, free kicks or penalties all count the same, so who cares? More penalties means they still made a good chance to score but just weren't allowed to shoot because the other team fouled them. A goal is a goal, doesn't matter how it goes in, and I think penalties deserve more credit than they get because a team still has to earn them, right?

Overall, saying Porto had more shots doesn't tell the whole story.

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"but if they weren't fouled on those 7 occasions, I can guarantee at least 4 or 5 of them would have resulted in open play goals anyways."

The issue here is that you wish to speak in absolutes, and when the argument falls flat against actual...

"but if they weren't fouled on those 7 occasions, I can guarantee at least 4 or 5 of them would have resulted in open play goals anyways."

The issue here is that you wish to speak in absolutes, and when the argument falls flat against actual statistics, you want to redefine the discussion again.

You are acting like it's no big deal that Benfica got 6 times more penalties than Braga or Porto. But if it was the other way around, would you be okay with Porto having 6 times more penalties awarded than Benfica? I suspect you would not. Fairness, that is what is at the base of this discussion, and it seems that you are all for fairness as long as it is fairer for your team versus everyone else.

The statistics are statistics. Sure, let's say Benfica are more clinical. Does that also not mean that penalties can help increase efficiency, since it's the best possible advantage one can be given in a game? In every case of this argument, you should be willing to say "this is what's right and this is what's wrong", but you seem to be saying "this is what's right and wrong for everyone else, but for my team, there isn't really a wrong". Sorry, that doesn't hold up. Maybe next time you should stick to commenting on the game and leave your accusations at the door.

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I wouldn't be mad if other teams have more penalties, its part of the game.

if Porto got 20 penalties, then they probably deserved 20 penalties. What would there be to argue?

But be honest, if a player is in the middle of the box, you expect a...

I wouldn't be mad if other teams have more penalties, its part of the game.

if Porto got 20 penalties, then they probably deserved 20 penalties. What would there be to argue?

But be honest, if a player is in the middle of the box, you expect a goal, right?
but instead of getting that goal, they get a penalty, which is also an expected goal.
So my point there was that it most likely would have been a goal either way.

also, I'm pretty sure Benfica missed few penalties this season.

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Hey Jessica,

Some very interesting news out of Lisbon this morning. Thought I would share it with you since Porto are experts at bribing officials.

As you know, the Criminal Court in Lisbon is currently investigating the Benfica e-mail...

Hey Jessica,

Some very interesting news out of Lisbon this morning. Thought I would share it with you since Porto are experts at bribing officials.

As you know, the Criminal Court in Lisbon is currently investigating the Benfica e-mail scandal. Some news today speaks of an internal e-mail referencing a powerpoint presentation given at a meeting of the Benfica administration. Some of the topics of the presentation?

"Define and implement a coherent 5-year strategy, based on a diagnosis of internal and external involvers (federative, political, communication and judicial); Reinforcement of control / influence in different areas of industry power; increase influence / control over power: federation and respective arbitration councils; political power; media / media; judicial."

Thought you might like to know.

Enjoy!

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Ok, since you don't want to let this go, lets look back a little while ago.

Boavista were caught bribing the refs, and you know what happened? They were kicked straight out of the league. (I don't remember exactly what division they were dropped...

Ok, since you don't want to let this go, lets look back a little while ago.

Boavista were caught bribing the refs, and you know what happened? They were kicked straight out of the league. (I don't remember exactly what division they were dropped to, but I believe it was just to the second division). Just keep their punishment in mind while reading this next part.

After this incident, Porto were eventually caught bribing the refs as well, and do you remember their terrible, horrible and cruel punishment? It was so harsh that its spooky, an entire few points were taken away from them! wow, they really punished Porto for their illegal actions!! (Once again, I don't remember exactly how many points were removed but I believe it was 6, correct me if I'm wrong.)

Also, they didn't just lose some points, they lost just enough points to still win the league. At the end of the day, this is literally the same as having not lost any points at all, which means they basically weren't even punished.

Now, explain how two teams do the exact same illegal action (bribing the refs), and get completely different punishments. And, of course, by "different punishments", I mean one team is kicked out of the league and the other team basically had no punishment.

Also, I also remember reading that Boavista were given a larger fine to pay than Porto. This is a minor difference that I might be getting completely wrong, but if its true please explain why this is the case.

If I am wrong about anything then I apologize and please correct me, but if this is correct, then please let me know how this is fair and how this isn't one of clearest examples in history of a league completely helping out a team.

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Well Jessica,

I was expecting you would bring up Apito Dourado, which is totally within your rights. And it may shock you to read this but I agree (crazy right?)

Boavista were absolutely the sacrificial lamb in that situation and Porto were...

Well Jessica,

I was expecting you would bring up Apito Dourado, which is totally within your rights. And it may shock you to read this but I agree (crazy right?)

Boavista were absolutely the sacrificial lamb in that situation and Porto were given a very slight slap on the wrist for the corrupt practice of attempting and/or succeeding to bribe a referee. It is absolutely illegal and morally wrong to try and cheat by influencing officials. Porto still won the league that year, so you could say they were never really punished.

But please tell me, does that, in your mind, make what Benfica stands accused of, alright? One illegal action justifies the other? This started with your comment that Porto are experts in bribing officials. If this was 2008-09, I would share your outrage, not argue against it.

But what it seems like, is that in this period of time, it is actually Benfica who are experts at bribing officials, both with blatant gift-giving, donations and now even in powerpoint presentations at meetings!

Make no mistake, what's wrong is wrong, regardless of club.

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I completely agree, and of course Benfica are at fault at the moment for what they are doing, and quite honestly it is disgusting.

I'm just not happy after this Classico, but of course no fan is happy when their team loses lol.

Wouldn't it be...

I completely agree, and of course Benfica are at fault at the moment for what they are doing, and quite honestly it is disgusting.

I'm just not happy after this Classico, but of course no fan is happy when their team loses lol.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was just no corruption and the sport was just pure passion? Obviously that will never happen but we can always dream.

Anyways, at the end of the day: all big teams are favoured, refs are human and can make mistakes.

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I am happy that we can at least agree that no fan is happy when their team loses to a rival and that corruption has no place in the sport.

If my responses came across a little snarky, I apologize, but as you can understand, these are issues...

I am happy that we can at least agree that no fan is happy when their team loses to a rival and that corruption has no place in the sport.

If my responses came across a little snarky, I apologize, but as you can understand, these are issues close to a fan's heart.

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Not the best Classico. Porto came out second half and meant business. I've always been critical of Casillas and Herrera, but these guys are so often clutch. Herrera especially, how many times has he scored clutch goals the last 3 seasons?

Stil...

Not the best Classico. Porto came out second half and meant business. I've always been critical of Casillas and Herrera, but these guys are so often clutch. Herrera especially, how many times has he scored clutch goals the last 3 seasons?

Still not over yet, Porto in advantageous position, but Benfica playing excellently 2nd half of season and fully deserve to be in the title fight. The subs made the big difference today and I feel that Benfica's lack of depth and quality cost them. If Rui V remains Benfica manager, which he deserves, he also deserves some reinforcements.

Sporting game today was also fun. Braga also in the fight. Interesting end to the season. Let's all enjoy.

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Poor. A draw would have been a fairer result, but Porto were better in the second half.
Still in the title chase, but dropping into third not acceptable.

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Ouch, always tough to take losing in the last minute, especially since its the fourth time we've lost to Porto in the last few minutes since 2012! I think there wasn't much in the match and a draw would've been a fairer result, as Benfica had the...

Ouch, always tough to take losing in the last minute, especially since its the fourth time we've lost to Porto in the last few minutes since 2012! I think there wasn't much in the match and a draw would've been a fairer result, as Benfica had the better of the first half and Porto the better of the second.

Still I didn't like Vitoria's tactic and approach in the second half, the longer it went on the more he seemed happy with a draw. But being content with a draw you run the risk of losing, and so it proved. He should have been more ambitious in general in that second half considering we were playing at home. But then he was also inconsistent because then with 7 mins left, and at this point, more caution was needed to make sure we didn't lose the game, he brought on Seferovic (a player who doesn't make any defensive contribution) for Pizzi, thus offering Porto more space in the midfield and they duly took advantage of that extra space. Really dumb substitution and it totally backfired.

Well its certainly not over yet with 12 points still left to fight for. But for sure we missed a big opportunity last night and Porto are big favorites now. Our only chance is to win all 4 remaining games and hope Porto lose one or draw 2. They do have two tough away games in Madeira and Guimaraes to come, so its still possible. Benfica just have to win their games and see what happens.

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I'm surprised Porto didn't get a red card. On multiple occasions they initially fouled Benfica players by grabbing them by the neck or face. Porto was the bigger team and wanted a physical game. Not sure how that wasn't a penalty at the end of...

I'm surprised Porto didn't get a red card. On multiple occasions they initially fouled Benfica players by grabbing them by the neck or face. Porto was the bigger team and wanted a physical game. Not sure how that wasn't a penalty at the end of the game as the Porto player sticks his hands out to stop the benfica player after the ball is knocked passed him.

Porto were the much better team in the second half. Benfica need to score in the first half before they were warn down by Porto's physical play. Benfica relied to much on their wingers and played very wide, but not of their crosses hit the mark.

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@ Nelson, if you are whining about the Ricardo Pereira clean tackle on Zivkovic, I suggest you take a look at the replays again without your red goggles on. It was a 50/50 challenge and Ricardo Pereira was actually ahead of Zivkovic, and the...

@ Nelson, if you are whining about the Ricardo Pereira clean tackle on Zivkovic, I suggest you take a look at the replays again without your red goggles on. It was a 50/50 challenge and Ricardo Pereira was actually ahead of Zivkovic, and the ball had not knocked the ball "past him".

I suppose then that the Ruben Dias tackle on Marega should also have been a foul, since he was beaten, did not even try to play the ball and clattered into Marega from behind. But you don't see me or other Porto fans whining. It is what it is. A non-call. The game was generally not the highest quality but Porto wanted the victory more and they got it. Simple as. If anything, this makes the remainder of the season competitive and exciting for neutrals.

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Just a few add-ons from what I took from the match. Some debating going on here about the ref's performance. I don't think it was a penalty at the end with Zivkovic. I've seen those given before, but it would have been a very soft penalty. So I...

Just a few add-ons from what I took from the match. Some debating going on here about the ref's performance. I don't think it was a penalty at the end with Zivkovic. I've seen those given before, but it would have been a very soft penalty. So I won't complain about that, but the ref definitely got it wrong regarding Sergio Oliveira's deserved second yellow. He clearly should have been given a second yellow for taking out the Benfica player in an attacking position. And had Porto been down to 10 men in the second half the result clearly might have been different.

Nevertheless I'm not going to complain too much because at the end of the day Benfica were just too cautious and passive in the second half and paid for it in the end. In a way the best thing that could've happened was Porto scoring in the first half, because Benfica would have had to go for it second half. I blame this fully on Vitoria, he didn't show enough desire to win this game and consequently get the title in real sight.

I haven't been totally sold on Vitoria these last few years in truth. I like him as a personality, he's respectful and humble, which I admire. But what we saw on Sunday has too often been the case in the big matches, too much caution and not enough "going for it". His record in the big matches this season has been abysmal, really there have been 9 " big matches" so far: 6 CL matches and 3 Classicos with Porto and Sporting, and we've failed to win even one. That's simply not good enough for a club with the dimension of SLB. I said it back in December after our humiliating CL campaign and exit from the Taca: Vitoria has to win the Liga now for me to still consider him the best man for the job, and this remains the case. Yes he doesn't have the strongest of squads this season compared with Benfica squads of the past, but there's still enough quality in the squad to have done a lot better than what we saw across the various competitions. If we end the season empty handed it'll be very hard not to think there are better coaching options out there (i.e Marco Silva, Paulo Fonseca etc)

Nevertheless Vitoria still has a chance to win the Liga and prove he's the right man for the job, as nothing is finished yet at this point. Porto are odds on favorites to win now, probably as high as a 75% chance. But there's still 4 matches left and as we've seen recently a lot can change in the space of a month. It's not inconceivable that Porto could lose against either Maritimo away or against Guimaraes away (or draw both) and that Benfica win all four remaining games. Let's see how it pans out.

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Random thoughts:

Benfica were clearly superior in first half; Porto seemed to be just holding on. Porto was better in the second, as Benfica could not keep up their manic pace, but the quality in the final third was sorely lacking until the goal.
...

Random thoughts:

Benfica were clearly superior in first half; Porto seemed to be just holding on. Porto was better in the second, as Benfica could not keep up their manic pace, but the quality in the final third was sorely lacking until the goal.

Rui Vitoria's subs were terrible. Why take off Rafa when Porto was struggling to contain him and half the team was on yellows? Completely baffling.

The Ricardo tackle in the box was a good non-call. Sergio could have seen a second red. But, Benfica also got a couple phantom corners before that. When considering everything, I think the ref tried his best to call the game fair.

Sergio O. should have been taken out after that first yellow. He doesn't have the pace or defensive IQ for a game of that caliber. That sloppy challenge was predictable but he got lucky the ref didn't give him the second yellow.

Herrera scoring that goal is a nice story. He has humbly toiled away without due recognition while Porto has been second best for years. If anyone deserved to score it, it was him.

Everything is still up in the air. Benfica have three easy matches and one hard one, Porto have two easy matches and two moderately difficult ones. Whoever slips up once probably loses the trophy.

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Just my 2 cents. Porto's FB's played exceptionally well-both Pereira and Telles blocked multiple crosses and played great D. Rui V, as usual, made no adjustmments in the second half, while Conceicao had a great game plan and did make...

Just my 2 cents. Porto's FB's played exceptionally well-both Pereira and Telles blocked multiple crosses and played great D. Rui V, as usual, made no adjustmments in the second half, while Conceicao had a great game plan and did make adjustments. Porto pressed defensively on both wings and prevented Benfica from their usual strategy of moving the ball in small passing triangles on the wings.

Porto's pressing and game plan forced Benfica to attack through the middle of the park and they just couldn't get it done. Pizzi simply not up to the task.

Lastly, Benfica's sub-par roster and lack of quality depth left them with virtually no solutions off the bench for this game (or any other for that matter). The preparations for this season were a disaster (Gabigol, Douglas, etc.). We were screaming for MF help in January and what did we get? Nothing. I kow Jonas was a big loss, but our bench for this game was Samaris, a recovering Salvio, Severovic, and a green Joao Carvalho. You can argue Salvio is a legitimate game winner, but our depth is terrible and we had no real solutions off the bench.

Benfica seems to be loaded with young talent, which is a plus, but how many will actually become good enough to play for the first team. Both Joao Carvalho and Diogo Goncalves were totally wasted this year in terms of development. Both should have been loaned out in January, if not in August.

Lastly, I am really disappointed with some of the loan moves made by the club the past couple of years, and especially the price of the buy options. Talisca's loan terms were somewhat reasonable, but Jovic for 12 mil on a 2 yr loan and Christante with only a 4 mil buy option were both terrible moves. No more multi year loans! Just my 2 cents.

Porto were the better team most of the year, and SG had basically the same roster NES had last year, with virtually no reinforcements. That alone tells you what a great jod Conceicao did this season.

Now, my worst fears are close to coming true. RV deserves to be fired, and we need to clean house and cut a lot of dead weight from this roster. However, assuming we hold on to second place (a big IF), that will mean a new coach coming in trying to put a roster together and implement a new system with the prospect of CL qualification games being played in August.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Diogo played very well. I think it was a solid performance – you could see his potential. He’s a 19-year-old with more than 10 years to play for Manchester United."

José Mourinho
(The Portuguese coach comments on the Manchester United debut of compatriot Diogo Dalot, against Young Boys in the Champions League)

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