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Sunday, 25 August 2013 23:55

Benfica turn it round in stoppage time

Benfica 2-1 Gil Vicente

benfica-celebs-v-gil-vicente-20130826.jpgIt’s never dull with Jorge Jesus’ Benfica. With the Eagles staring at a second defeat in two games in 2013/14, Markovic and Lima scored in injury time to dramatically snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Gil Vicente in Lisbon. With Benfica’s stoppage time heartache from last season still fresh in the memory, the late win could be an early turning point to kick-start the Eagles’ campaign.
It seemed for the best part of an hour that the match would follow the usual pattern of so many in the Liga ZON Sagres between a ‘grande’ playing at home against one of Portugal’s more modest outfits. One-way traffic, with just the opening goal needed to unlock a routine win.
However, the backdrop to this game had led to a significant ratcheting up of the pressure for all concerned at the Lisbon club.

High tension

A substantial groundswell of ill-feeling among several Benfica fans remains patent regarding the club’s direction in general, and the position of coach Jorge Jesus in particular, after last season’s late collapse, a confusing summer recruitment policy and the Oscar Cardozo novella. Benfica’s defeat at Marítimo last week only compounded worries that Benfica may be falling further behind FC Porto, rather than getting nearer to their bitter rivals.
So when that all-important opening goal failed to materialise, you could almost hear the “crisis” pieces being furiously written in the Estádio da Luz press box. Benfica’s usual attacking game was far from what we have become accustomed to in recent years. Even so, Salvio and Lima had chances to break the deadlock in the first half, while Nico Gaitán sent a free-kick thudding onto the post.

Maxi clanger

In the second half Luisão and Rodrigo came close with headers. The early concern among the fans had by now morphed into acute anxiety, and when Diogo Viana pounced on a dreadful defensive lapse from Maxi Pereira to put Gil Vicente ahead with 20 minutes remaining, the Luz crowd were in complete desperation mode.
As the clock ticked down and with clear-cut chances at a premium, it appeared Benfica were heading for a defeat that would have led surely led to deafening calls for Jorge Jesus’ removal.
But in what could signal the ‘changing of the guard’, it was three of Benfica’s new Serbian recruits that played a pivotal role in the most dramatic of finishes. Djuricic laid on a perfect pass for Markovic to score with a classy finish on 92 minutes, and one minute later Sulejmani crossed for Lima to head the winner. All three Serbians had come on as second-half substitutes.
A relieved Jorge Jesus commented in the post-match press conference: “winning this game in this manner will boost morale more than if we’d won with a thrashing.”
by Tom Kundert

Artur Moraes, Ezequiel Garay, Luisão, Maxi Pereira, Bruno Cortez, Nemanja Matic, Salvio (Lazar Markovic, 61), Nicolas Gaitán (Miralem Sulejmani, 68), Enzo Pérez, Rodrigo (Filip Djuricic, 68), Lima

Gil Vicente:
Adriano, Luís Martins, Danielson, Halisson, Gabriel, Cesar Peixoto, João Vilela, Luan, Diogo Viana, Paulinho (Brito, 46), Bruno Moraes (Simmy, 71)
[0-1] Diogo Viana, 69’
[1-1] Markovic, 91’
[2-1] Lima, 92’
Comments (6)
Not Good Enough
6 Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:14
I'm glad for the win, but I am not pessimistic about the future. We might have dominated possession, but like we've seen that does not always bring success.

We need to right this ship ASAP or it's going to get real ugly real fast.
I know that Sporting as looked good, but a win at the WC would cure a lot of ills. But we really need a nice run of wins. Shoudl we lose at the WC, JJ is done.
Porto looks plenty strong and Sporting just might have a say, along with Braga.

Can't wait for all transfer windows to close.
A scattergun transfer policy and an arrogant manager!
5 Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:10
So what did we really expect from Benfica this season? As a Benfica fan, I am embarrassed, but most of all disappointed that we have completely lost the plot with yet another season of pointless bulk buying and stuck with a Manager who simply can't adapt to opponents tactics and has similar man management skills to that of David Brent in the Office!

Last year was a tragic year in our history, but as the saying goes, "you make your own luck" and JJ completely lost it and should have been replaced, maybe even with Mancini who has in the past commented on his desire to manage Benfica!

As for our bulk buying this season, it would seem that Serbia has the latest special discount vs the usual bulk buying from Argentina. What happened to our youth academy and talented youngsters who are simply tossed on the scrap heap as soon as they get to the age of 20 without being given the chance to play in the 1st team!

In my opinion, we have become a stepping stone business, which our board and manager are more interested in buying loads of foreign talent with the hope of selling them off at a profit, rather than actually spending time and money in building the infrastructure and a solid base to actually dominate Portuguese football.

Anyway... that's my rant over! I'm off to buy 10 sandwiches for lunch from my local Serbian and Argentinian delicatessen with the hope that I can sell 3 to colleagues, eat 2 myself and probably throw away the other 5! ;)
4 Monday, 26 August 2013 17:26
Bubba Zanetti/SCP
I want all my beloved Benfiquistas to remember that JJ is a Sportinguista and played for Sporting, albeit briefly.
Good game
3 Monday, 26 August 2013 17:10
Back to actual play and stop with the politics. First of all i wasnt able to watch the game and only watched highlights and analysis. When i first saw the result i immediately thought our season was over but based on what i saw later, we played well. We dominated the game for 90 minutes and Maxi's gaff was horrendous so i think that we should have won easily. We got the result, yes it was in injury time, but we deserved it throughout the game.
2 Monday, 26 August 2013 15:26
J, Canada
Sadly Alexandre, you are spot on. If Porto needed 2 stoppage time goals to secure the 3 points, there would be cries of bloody murder, here in this forum, in the papers, and even from 1 or 2 other clubs. I don't need to name names. We all know what club and their affiliates those would be.
Portuguese league is a joke
1 Monday, 26 August 2013 10:28
Alexandre, Switzerland
The Portuguese league is a joke and what about the refs! What a suspicious result!

Sorry just slightly irritated that stupid comments such as this one were put in the report on the Porto so thought I would add a baseless claim here for the sake of balancing things out.

Unfortunately, as JJ says this could be a season defining result, and congrats on Benefica in coming back in that fashion. Just wished it hadn't happened ;-)

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