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Thursday, 03 January 2013 10:09

Benfica annihilate Aves

Braga take step towards Taça da Liga semi-finals

Oscar CardozoThe first matches of 2013 in Portugal took place yesterday, with two delayed games in the domestic cup competitions. Benfica thrashed Desportivo das Aves 6-0 at the Estádio da Luz to reach the quarter-finals of the Portuguese Cup. Earlier in the day Braga came from behind to win 2-1 at Naval and nudge towards a semi-final berth in the League Cup.

Benfica 6-0 Desportivo das Aves

Aves came into the match touted as tough opposition for the Eagles. The second division side currently occupy a promotion position and had won 5 and drawn 2 of their previous seven games.
So it was something of a surprise to see the northerners completely freeze as a dreadful defensive display was duly punished by Benfica, themselves in a rich vein of form having won 10 and drawn 2 of their 12 games before yesterday.
No player better exemplifies Benfica’s rude health than Oscar Cardozo. The Paraguayan cannot stop scoring at the moment, and goals in the 18th, 22nd, and 32nd minutes gave Cardozo another hat-trick yesterday – his third in 5 games! Cardozo has again reached 20 goals in a season, this time with the campaign at the halfway stage.
Rodrigo had set the ball rolling in the 5th minute. Throughout the opening 45 minutes tidy play by Benfica combined with abject defending from Aves resulted in practically every Benfica attack leading to a clear goalscoring opportunity. It is no exaggeration to say Aves could count their blessings to be leaving the pitch at the interval just 4-0 down.

Red-hot forward line

The Eagles took their foot off the pedal in the second half. Even so, further goals followed as Rodrigo grabbed his second after showing good footwork, and Lima rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot. The match was further evidence that Benfica have an enviable amount of firepower up front – all six goals were scored by forwards.
Jorge Jesus’ side will face a far tougher test in the next round as they travel to Coimbra to take on the holders of the Portuguese Cup, Académica, on 16 January.
Artur, Maxi, Jardel (Matic, 45), Garay, Luisinho, André Gomes, Bruno César, Gaitán, Nolito, Cardozo (Lima, 61), Rodrigo (Salvio, 75)
[1-0] Rodrigo, 5’
[2-0] Cardozo, 18’
[3-0] Cardozo, 22’
[4-0] Cardozo, 32’
[5-0] Rodrigo, 57’
[6-0] Lima (pen), 73’

Portuguese Cup quarter-final line up:

V. Guimarães v Braga
Arouca v Belenenses
Académica v Benfica
P. Ferreira v Gil Vicente

Naval 1-2 Braga

Braga were made to work hard by second-division outfit Naval in the Taça da Liga yesterday. The Figueira da Foz side took the lead in the 4th minute as Paulo Regula made no mistake from the penalty spot, and only some sharp goalkeeping by Quim coupled with wayward finishing prevented Naval from extending their lead.
Braga levelled the scores midway through the first half as German defender Haas turned in a corner, and a late Custódio penalty gave the Arsenalistas a somewhat fortunate win, as recognised by coach José Peseiro.
“We have lost 8 games this season, and of these eight I’d say we only truly deserved to lose three of them. Today was different. We were the lucky ones as we were second best for much of the game. The result was much better than the performance.”
The three points put Braga on top of Group B and on course to win the section and secure a semi-final spot, which is likely to be a home tie against Benfica.
Braga 2 1 1 0 2 1 4
Vitória Guimarães 2 0 2 0 2 2 2
Beira-Mar 2 0 2 0 2 2 2
Naval 2 0 1 1 1 2 1
 by Tom Kundert

Comments (4)
On a roll at the mo..
4 Thursday, 03 January 2013 23:16
Yes as others have pointed out, Aves were not much of an opposition in truth, and that was about as one-sided a match as you will ever see. I had a big feeling that some team was bound to get a pasting real soon given the form SLB has been in over the last couple of months...and unfortunately for Aves it was them last night. But as Orlando has pointed out, hats off to them for not parking the bus...I will always respect that much more than playing anti-football.

As for Benfica, well they really are on a roll at the mo. Should've won at Nou Camp and qualified in the CL, the breaks just didn't come our way on that night...but it may well turn out to be a good thing, cos the Liga title is what we really have to win this season and now we must fully focus on doing just that.

Cardozo, what a monster of a centre-forward, agree totally with Orlando's points...such an under-rated forward, but when he gets on a roll, he can be simply unplayable. 10 goals in the last 4 matches now.. I've said it a million times, all Tacuara needs is good service into the box and the goals are a guarantee. I too hope he ends his career at the Luz, where he is already a legend at this club.

Andre Gomes was top class yet again, I would like to see him in the Seleccao first team sooner than later. Luisinho showed clearly how he's the best option for LB in the squad, while Matic showed what a valuable and versatile asset he is to the team. Good to see Rodrigo getting back to form, his second goal was simply world class. Nolito and Gaitan did really well in their rare starts from the wing. I really hope Nolito stays this month, and Gaitan showed that when he does put in some effort, he is also a talent without question. So yeah all positives last night really, and they're a joy to watch at the minute...
Comfortable victory
3 Thursday, 03 January 2013 16:41
I wasn't expecting anything less than a win, but I was a little surprised with just how easy it was. Aves supposedly have one of the best teams in the second division so I was expecting them to put up more of a fight. With all the calamitous defensive mistakes, it seemed like we were playing my local high school team!

Orlando, I couldn't agree more with your descriptions of Artur, Garay, Matic, and Cardozo. They have been consistently brilliant throughout the season so we should do as much as possible to keep them in Lisbon.

I'm also pleased to see the likes of Gaitan, Nolito, Luisinho, and even the usually disappointing Bruno Cesar play very well. We are currently contenders in 4 competitions so it would be wise for JJ to take advantage of our rediculously deep squad.

Finally, I'd like to heap some more praise on Andre Gomes. The more I watch of him, the more impressed I get. He was playing one hell of a game as a deep-lying playmaker: Spreading the play beautifully and even making some sublime passes over Aves' defense. He still needs to work on his defensive positioning, but at the moment, we've got a really bright talent on our hands. It's incredible to see such a young kid exhibit such class and composure.
Benfica's subs and depth only getting stronger!!
2 Thursday, 03 January 2013 15:35
I have heard a lot of comments about how poorly Aves played.. their only mistake is they didn't park the bus, any team that doesn't against Benfica will get crushed if we are in a 4-4-2 with Cardozo at the front.

Benfica took apart Aves yesterday.. and really could've scored more if not for some fine saves.

I appreciate that Lima & Rod are amazing players but anyone who questioned Cardozo and his foot speed has to shake their head right now. Talk now would be of crushing Juventus in the CL and not Europa League action if he had started more than once.

Thing about Cardozo is he makes hard goals look easy and after he gets two he gets over-excited and misses easy opportunities.. well who says an old dog can't learn new tricks.. he is taking the 3rd real easy this season..

JJ still is not fully sold.. he had to be prodded to even comment on the CarGoalDozer, same thing for Luisinho & Nolito who had good games.

Is it coincidence that every time Luisinho plays they score 3 or more goals.. and almost always we have a clean sheet? I think not.. he defends exceptionally, supports his winger and midfielders.. and attacks with the best of them on the squad.

Gaitan too has lined up 3 matches that he has played exceptionally in.. and he assisted on a couple yesterday that normally he would've shot and missed on. Great news because Salvio plays at a high pace.. and will tire again.. if we are to win some trophies.. Gaitan has to be ready to step in and provide cover.. same is true for Nolito with Ola who too runs all game..

Nolito is still a bit rusty since he hasn't had any serious playing time but considering he has been sitting for a full calendar year.. that is expected.

I was extremely happy with JJ's line-up and formation.. thought it was great to have Gomes as a deep lying playmaker.. and feel that fluidity between the wings and the mid is what led to Aves destruction.

What can you say about Matic.. dude comes in at CB and plays a phenomenal game.. looked like Garay out there.. Javi for a bit played CB to cover.. never did he look anywhere near as comfortable or competent.. NJ & I told you so.. last season... when he had splinters in his butt from the bench. I will remind folks he is a box to box.. this DM awesomeness and super stellar CB play is only a bonus..

Which brings me to the point.. there are a few players Benfica has to re-sign.. and up their buy-out clause... namely:

Artur - 50 mil so no one goes near him and at his age should be naturalized to play for Portugal.. come on Bento!!! Lima & Artur would be sick...

Garay- teams low balling at 18.5 mil.. get serious this guy is a stud.. and with no coverage from Malgarejo.. he covers an amazing amount of ground.. 30 mil... you want him get serious...

Matic- arguably the best player this season.. his vision and work ethic are incredible.. such a good deep playmaker.. that too has to cover both Never Backs Mal & Maxi.. he runs 13 kms a game.. I saw a fan with a poster that said Matic I want to have your baby.. I want his too... come on girls take one for the team.. we need a Matic baby for the Seleccao! 40 mil...

Cardozo - There has been no better striker in the Liga in the last 10 years.. bar Falcao who was a specimen.. and he is headed into some heady territory with some of the most elite ever.. in the Liga... because of his big frame.. many a manager hasn't appreciated this gem.. and Benfica should tie him up so that he finishes his career.. at the Luz. All offers for him are low.. time for LFV to show respect.. and up him to 40 mil buyout.. if someone wants to takeaway one of the most consistent strikers in the world.. they should have to pay through the teeth for him.. same as Artur.. Luisao too has been low balled over the years.. but they have more value to the club.. than most others.. screw it 75 mil for CarGoalDozer... I want to see him flying the eagle till the days where he comes off the bench and still crushes.

As for yesterdays game too many to list.. who played well.. and this squad is starting to believe as I have always done.. so much strength off the bench that you better earn your place.. have to say PDC is a legend at buying good players.. phenomenal job.. but LFV is starting to come into his own.. the bench is stacked.. with hungry players.. the B team has some monsters. This year he gets the top spot for stacking his team.

JJ has done well with the depth.. could still rotate more.. but if he doesn't win this year.. then it is all on him. The BIG games are coming... if he doesn't crush it will come down to his failing and not the squad that LFV has assembled.

Although he did well yesterday I have to give him some grief over the sideline screaming and embarrassment of Nolito on the PK.. clearly a lack of communication because I never fault a player for being hungry and wanting to take opportunities.. a technical master plots out all set pieces.. and clearly with Benfica's strength in the air.. set pieces have been our weakness.. corners.. free-kicks.. etc.. everyone looks disorganized.. good teams win titles on set pieces.. I just have to remind folks about the Celtic match.. where Artur was marked.. and the Greek scored a free header at the far post... I could see it from 8000 miles away.. Garay was not marking their most lethal striker.. Almeida was not at the far post.. and someone wasn't pushing Hooper out.

This disorganization is the Managers fault.. against Barca where we towered over them.. not one set piece was taken properly to gain that advantage.. if I was JJ that is what I would drill most.. so that during a game we dominate in those situations.. right now we are winning from open play.. and Cardozo.. to win at the highest levels.. you have to do more.

Time will tell... I expect the best Classico ever.. stay tuned I know Tom has some awesome stuff planned.. we will get you all juiced up.

Anyone that wants to email me.. since I am constantly getting banned on twitter @orlandomaxxx...lol email me at orlandomaxxx (at) gmail.com that especially goes out to you Chris... we have an event to plan.. and I need your help on a project.

Anyways gentlemen.. as usual.. wishing all of you the best of seasons.. make this the best year possible.. the community here is bar none the best in the world!
No excuses
1 Thursday, 03 January 2013 13:20
Benfica did what it was supposed to do.
Good to see.
Academica should be a thrashing as well.

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