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Saturday, 28 September 2013 22:24

Benfica drop more points

Benfica 1-1 Belenenses

benfica-belenenses-20130928.jpgAfter cutting the gap to Liga leaders Porto last weekend, Benfica let two points slip tonight against Belenenses and are once again five points behind their arch rivals. A commanding opening 20 minutes and an Oscar Cardozo goal seemed to have paved the way for a straightforward win for the Eagles. But Diakité equalised in the 31st minute, Benfica lost their way, and the visitors were good value for the draw.

Jorge Jesus, no doubt with one eye on Wednesday's Champions League clash against PSG in Paris, made changes to the starting XI, bringing in full-backs Maxi Pereira and Cortez in place of André Almeida and Siqueira.

And coming into the match on the back of three straight victories, the Eagles started in dominant fashion, pushing Belenenses onto the back foot, with the roaming Enzo Pérez especially lively. Cardozo's deflected shot forced a full-length diving save from Belenenses goalkeeper Matt Jones.

João Pedro then tested Artur's reflexes at the other end of the pitch with a rasping drive from outside the box, but Benfica continued to boss matters and it was no surprise when the home team took the lead. Pérez fed Lima with a clever pass on the left wing and the Brazilian swung over a pinpoint cross to strike partner Cardozo, who headed into the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Rather than capitulate, Belenenses reacted to the setback in positive fashion. Diakité equalised on 30 minutes direct from a corner with a towering header.

Benfica were now struggling to dictate as they had done earlier, while the team from Lisbon suburb Belém, galvanised by the goal and playing some fine passing football, made it clear they were not interested in "parking the bus".

Benfica fail to fire

As has been the case most of this season, Benfica singularly failed to implement the high-tempo attacking game that has been the hallmark of the Lisbon giants during Jorge Jesus' time at the helm. The withdrawal of the out-of-sorts Markovic at the interval, and a rare run-out given to Sulejmani reinforced the idea that in spite (or because) of the deep squad with multiple options the coach is still undecided about his best team.

Benfica gradually intensified the pressure during the second 45 minutes, but two Cardozo efforts aside - a powerful shot from the edge of the box and a close-range header - both of which narrowly missed the target, the Eagles failed to create much in the way of clear-cut chances.

Moreover, the enterprising counter-attacking play of Belenenses prevented Benfica from working up a head of steam, and the spirit shown by the men in blue after a difficult week for the club, not to mention no little skill, augurs well for a swift climb up the table.

The final whistle was greeted by boos from the Benfica faithful, while the delighted Belenenses players celebrated a richly deserved point.

by Tom Kundert, at the Estádio da Luz

Related: Post-match interview with Belenenses goalkeeper Matt Jones

Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Bruno Cortez, Luisão, Ezequiel Garay, Nemanja Matic (Miralem Sulejmani, 64), Lazar Markovic (Nicolas Gaitán, 45), Enzo Pérez, Lubomir Fejsa, Cardozo, Lima (Rodrigo, 80)

Matt Jones, Filipe Ferreira, Duarte, Joao Afonso, Joao Meira, Helgi Valur Danielsson, Fredy (Arsenio, 71), Mourtala Diakite, João Pedro, Fabio Sturgeon (Mamadou Diawara, 65), Tiago Silva (Eggert Jónsson, 81)

[1-0] Cardozo, 17'
[1-1] Diakité, 31'

Comments (20)
My thoughts
20 Tuesday, 01 October 2013 07:08
Hi all,

Just wanted to share my thoughts although I must admit I have not watched many games this year.

Benfica - Wow, a really poor start. Pre-season was a mess and the whole Cardozo will he stay wont he stay was an unwanted distraction. We also have many great players wasting away on loan or on the bench. In particular I'm disappointed that Steven Vittoria and Ola John are not playing more often and it is only a matter of time before Rodrigo gets feed up sitting around on the bench as well. Also loaning a player like Cortez was a complete waste of time. Anyways some positives are we now have a quality left back in Siqueira and utility player in A Almeida, and quality all over the park especially the wings and attack. The only weak position for me is the goal keeping one and it is a shame we could not get that guy from Celtic as he looks like a real gem. Great poll to run and whilst my frustration tells me to get rid of JJ straight away I'd probably settle for the wait option to see if the results can improve as finding a good coach now that can come in and start winning might be very hard. knee jerk reactions are not good but obviously if JJ does not deliver this year then he is out the door. We have a pretty easy Champions league group and with a bit of luck might find ourselves in the quarters or semis but the whole comp this years looks very very strong

Sporting - I must admit I admire the way BDC is leading this club. He is clearing their debt and making them financially viable as well as blooding young Portuguese and getting good results. Thank god for Portuguese football that GD is gone. On a side note I thought that BDC handled the whole Bruma affair well, got some money and prevented Benfica/Porto stealing him later on (Queresma, Simao etc,). Sporting have started really well and hopefully for Portuguese football they can remain in the top 3 and grab that Champions league spot (were they belong). There squad might lack some depth and experience though and a lot will tell from the games with the other big clubs but so far they have done quite well (draw and win against Benfica and Braga)

Porto - I watched the Guimaraes game and they were poor but to be honest who cares. They won a game that Benfica probably would have drawn, so they are just cruising along nicely and getting the scrappy wins. Can they maintain it. Who knows but judging by last year they are on track. They have a tough Champions league group but Porto usually find a way to get out of it and a solid away win was a good start as other could slip up with draws there.

Braga - Probably looking good for 4th but could possibly challenge for 3rd but I haven't seen any of their games so I can't make an educated comment. That said they are a solid team but I am not sure they have the quality and depth in the squad to compete with the big three at this stage but they will improve I guess so who knows

Sidenote - Does anyone know where you can download games of Liga matches namely Benfica games. I heard Eurosport will televise the games in the near future but currently they are being played at 3:30 am here is Aus and it is impossible for me to watch them at that time :(
JJ started on the hot seat, and the temp has only increased.
19 Monday, 30 September 2013 19:17
Tom, thank you for the three options.
I think that most Benfiquistas will want JJ out. Unfortunately I'm of the belief that it needed to be done as soon as the campaign ended. We need to be at the forefront in bringing in a new manager. To say it would be a tricky decision, is a huge understatement. It might be early, but finding a good unemployed manager, won't be easy.

That being said, if JJ can't put together a string of victories, he'll be making the decision himself.

Going into what I thought to be a winnable/point netting match up verse PSG, looks silly now. Our current run of form just isn't good enough.
Let me add, should we get a draw or somehow net a win in Paris, it will calm the waters. Until the next drop in points.
That was fast
18 Monday, 30 September 2013 18:23
Chris (Canada)
Thanks Tom. I think it's important to see where fans heads are at. We had the "burn Vitor" movement by Portistas last year, which proved to be completely unwarranted. So it will be interesting to see how fans perceive JJ at this moment in time.
@Chris, New Poll
17 Monday, 30 September 2013 16:59
Tom Kundert / Lisbon

Great idea for the new Poll. It's up there.

All readers, please feel free to suggest a poll at any time.

Tom Kundert
Anonymous' point and a suggested poll
16 Monday, 30 September 2013 16:34
Chris (Canada)
Fellow Portugoalers, and especially Tom, I am wondering if some of the points anonymous Canada made would be worth a poll. I certainly would be interested in finding out who supports JJ to stay on and who wants him gone.

Even this early in the campaign, being 5 points behind the leaders, for a team of Benfica's pedigree seems to be unacceptable. Of course, it is still early, and Benfica do have that first "W" under their belt in Europe, but I would be interested to see who wants JJ in and who wants him gone.

There was a lot of discussion last year about Vitor Pereira's shortcomings as a coach, and the revolving door situation at Sporting, but the spotlight soon shifted to Mr. Jesus. It would be interesting to see how that meltdown, combined with these early missteps (2 draws and a loss + MMA Jesus incident), influence what Benfas think of the coach.

Just a thought.

Terrible display
15 Monday, 30 September 2013 14:30
The team put in a terrible display period. 3 shots on net! All the talk from JJ and LFV about offisides and Carodozo penalties is bullsh*t. Whether the calls were bad or not, a team like SLB that sees itself as contenders in Liga and Europe should not be dependent on these calls against a team like Belem. The only question should have been, do we win by 2 or 3? So cut the crap JJ, and start to look inward. This team is exploding in talent and its your job to make use of it. There is still plenty of football to play, but you'd better figure it out soon, or you should be out of a job before end of October if you can't (I would have preferred if you were out last year). And friends, as NJ said earlier, that's what being an SLB supporter is about. Undying loyalty, but total honesty and critical thinking when necessary. None of this double standard crap that we see all too often on this site.
14 Monday, 30 September 2013 08:28
I couldn't agree more with your post, Jon/Usa...Markovic is looking like a waste on the wing, and with Lima so far not showing any of the form he showed last season, i would like to see Markovic tried as a second striker behind Cardozo with the freedom to roam and run at defences.

Where is Ola John indeed? Now with Salvio out, he's the best winger we have imo, or at least the one most likely to supply crosses and passes to the strikers. Instead we'll get Gaitan lol! Djuricic simply has to start too, we were seriously missing a number 10 figure on saturday.

To some people here, I say a big "take it easy"...Joao Holanda thinking the Liga is over already...have you been watching the Porto matches? They've shown plenty of signs that they will drop many more points this season, and mark my words Moutinho will be missed in the long run, Lucho or Josue simply can't compare.

And there's a lot of arrogance coming from some Sporting fans all of a sudden...take a breather chaps, you've started well for sure (and this is very good for our Liga, to have Sporting competitive again)...but don't start talking as if you're genuine title challengers all of a sudden, don't forget you've got a very thin squad...one step at a time guys! CL qualification would mark a great season for Sporting after the debacle of last season.

In general our Liga is looking much more competitive this year, and as a result I'm not panicking yet about Benfica being 5 points off the pace this early on. Anyone can drop points it's looking like at this moment. SLB still has the squad with the most depth, and most able to deal with injuries and suspencions...so in the long run let's see what happens....long way to go!
13 Monday, 30 September 2013 00:16
Sam, I'm here. I didn't go anywhere.
Just because Benfica is faltering, I don't hide. Benfica's greatest and harshest critics are their fans, and I'm part of that.
Unlike Sporting fans that mainly hid instead of being critical of went on at the club. I still believe that Sporting has the second biggest following in Portugal, yet they disappear.
This was not Eddie or Bubba.

I for one, am happy that Sporting is headed back up. I just hope they finish behind Benfica.

John, I agree.
Verse Belem we could have had a much more agressive squad. Markovic is much better sitting behind the striker with the freedom to roam. Nicoor Ola should have come in for width and Markovic could have slid inside for Lima or Cardozo.
JJ is letting this get away. These guys better start working.
Benfica was poor, but let's give Belenenses credit
12 Sunday, 29 September 2013 20:49
Belenenses certainly didn't play like the last place team in the liga. They were disciplined in defense and surprisingly very lively and technical going forward. They've got some very quick, technical players with Tiago Silva (this kid is extremely talented) in particular having a fantastic game.

Benfica started the game quite well. We played at a high tempo and created quite a few quality chances, but after the first goal, we really took our foot off the gas which then enabled Belenenses to ease their way into the match.

I'm also not liking Markovic on the wing. He seems so isolated and uncomfortable compared to when he's running at defenders in more central positions. He is at his best as a second-striker/#10. He's being wasted out wide. Where's Ola John?
Return of the kings
11 Sunday, 29 September 2013 20:23
Z Canada
This is a good site, but the main game was Braga and Sporting and only now we get something posted on the site.

if Benfiquistas want to talk about Benfica, they can go to the Serbian football websites ,

when we talk about real Portuguese teams, we talk about SPORTING. I understand all the butthurt from spending 100s millions, not having any home grown or even national players , and getting outplayed by a club that almost went bankrupt

Like I been saying, form is temporary class is permanent. these last few years many people loved kicking Sporting when they are down. but guess what? Godinho left 6 months ago and BDC is here and as you can see things are changing.
I agree with Bubba Zanetti and this site is great guys
10 Sunday, 29 September 2013 17:48
Sometimes we just need to have a little patience, Tom can't be everywhere at the same time and writing a million articles at the same time, sometimes we just have to have some understanding and patience thats all. We won our game and we've got our props on the site as well with the newest article. We're all passionate for our team Sporting but let's remain respectful too guys. There's no other site like this on the net its awesome and we've got to be grateful too.
Lol Z for vendetta
9 Sunday, 29 September 2013 16:03
Z, as Bubba pointed out, Tom is a Sporting fan but he is very objective and fair on this site. Sporting getting the 3 points in Braga is a big deal, but you also have to understand that there are likely to be more stories covered in Lisbon, where Portugoal is headquartered.

I really enjoyed the Matt Jones interview and that was only possible because the game happened in Lisboa whereas the SCP game was in Braga.

Instead of complaining how about being grateful for a great site that is run by experts and has interviews, vodcasts and tactical analysis?
8 Sunday, 29 September 2013 16:03
This is a horrific result for Benfica. What the newbies are going to have to understand quickly, is that every team will come at us hard. Belem has aspirations of staying, so any result verse Benfica is magnified.

This has been a horrific start to the campaign.
- Horrible loss verse Maritimo.
- Barely escaped Gil Vicente, with to stoppage time goals.
- Draw with the "Maca Podres" (there's your identity Z)
- Beat a horrible Pacos squad.
- Barely got a win verse Guimaraes.
- Draw verse a newly promoted side, that had done nothing.

Benfica has only scored nine lousy goals verse weak competition and given up six. Not good.

In the CL we had a nice home win verse the weakest opponent in the group.

This ship better get righted soon.
Funny where is ny/nj/slb
7 Sunday, 29 September 2013 15:34
Sam Harris
Things have a funny way of coming full circle. Lots of Benfas were coming on here four weeks ago saying how Sporting have yet to play any tough teams when they started the season 2-0. Yet Benfica tie Belenenses a newly promoted team at home at the Luz. I can't even begin to comprehend the amount of liquor it takes to be a fan of a team coached by Jorge Jesus. -20 million over the summer from transfers and yet Sporting are in second place starting six PORTUGUESE youngsters from their ACADEMY. Go ahead tell me Benfica has a better youth system I need a good laugh.
Another liga win for Porto
6 Sunday, 29 September 2013 15:10
Would a real challenger please stand up?
Sporting n Braga article
5 Sunday, 29 September 2013 14:55
Both teams are ahead of benfica and their play is nite and day compared to benfica and porto, yet u don't even make a small article on their game but u will talk about middle of the pack benfica???? u mention 3 wins in a row like they were convincing??? really??? I really don't care if u say u r sportinguista don't u think u should talk about top 3 in Portugal??????or I sould say 2 n 3 (this season anyways?)
@ (Z - Canada)
4 Sunday, 29 September 2013 13:38
Bubba Zanetti SCP
Cool your jets pal, take a deep breath. Tom Kundert, the creator and caretaker of Portugoal.net is a Sportinguista. If you've been coming to this sight for long enough, you would know that.

Also, I noticed the other day that there was someone who posted who had an alias with "Bubba" in it. I never thought I would see the day where there would be another "Bubba" on here!
Sporting e mais nada
3 Sunday, 29 September 2013 05:31
Z - Canada
LOL what a disgusting site Portugoal is

Sporting beats Braga, the team you guys love and overrate and make so many articles about... you had an article saying they would contend for the title LOL

but today I come on and only see news about a Serbian team tying Belenenses

look this is Portugoal dot com, if you wanna talk about Benfica I suggest you make your way to Serbisgoal.com

SPORTING only 2 points back and having played Benfica and Braga already, keep writing us off

Rui Patricio is the best keeper
Montero the best striker

and unlike others we have an identity ....

2 Sunday, 29 September 2013 02:26
Good result for Belenenses. I thought they may struggle having lost Mitchell earlier in the week. Credit to them.

As for Benfica, do they not care about the league this season? How many convincing performances have they put in so far? One and a half? Against Paços and in the second half of the Sporting game. Awful.

At this rate, they'll be out of the title race by Christmas.

The games don't get any easier for them either. Estoril next weekend, and the form Estoril are in, they can take on any team in the league.
benfica n porto
1 Saturday, 28 September 2013 23:45
it is fair to say that benfica and porto r playing poorly but benfica gets the cup on this one lol.
It is not classy to blame loss on the refs when u playing belenenses at home lol, the r in last not anymore thanks to benfas. Hope benfica can beat sportings record of last year!!!

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