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Monday, 22 August 2011 08:44

Wins for Porto, Benfica and Braga; Sporting slip up again

Liga ZON Sagres weekend round-up

HulkFC Porto and Benfica both won 3-1 at home against Gil Vicente and Feirense respectively, while Braga also obtained a home victory, beating Maritimo 2-0. Sporting continued their underwhelming start to the season with a goalless draw at Beira-Mar.

Porto 3-1 Gil Vicente

Gil Vicente surprised Porto by taking the lead on four minutes. Sapunaru gave away the ball; Joao Vilela raced through on goal and was brought down by Otamendi for an obvious penalty. The Argentine was fortunate to receive just a yellow card. Vilela himself converted the penalty.

The lead did not last long however, as Vilela was then adjudged to have brought down Hulk in the box. The Brazilian picked himself up to dispatch the spot kick into the back of the net. On 17 minutes Sapunaru made up for his earlier error by heading a rare goal to put the Dragons into the lead.
Hulk made sure of the win in the second half, blasting in a free-kick from the edge of the box. Watch Hulk’s pile-driver into the top corner:
Without playing particularly well, Porto have started the new season with two victories from two games.
[0-1] Joao Vilela, 3 (pen)
[1-1] Hulk, 10 (pen)
[2-1] Sapunaru, 16
[3-1] Hulk, 49

Benfica 3-1 Feirense

Benfica interspersed passages of fine play with other distinctly average patches as they made heavy weather of overcoming Liga ZON Sagres new boys, Feirense 3-1.
The first half was dominated by the hosts. Former Barcelona winger Nolito continued his sensational start to life at the Luz, putting the Eagles ahead in the 14th minute, thus scoring for the fifth consecutive match in his first five official games for Benfica. The only other player to achieve such a feat was a certain chap named… Eusebio.

Only a fine display by Paulo Lopes between the posts for Feirense prevented Benfica from adding to their lead, denying Aimar and Gaitan what seemed certain goals, while Nolito sent another effort inches past the post.

Feirense came out a transformed team after the break, as Benfica seemed to fall asleep. Rabiola stunned the big Saturday evening crowd by equalising in the 53rd minute. The visitors suddenly looked able to fight for the win, as Diogo Rosado tested Artur with a long-range effort.
The love-hate relationship between Oscar Cardozo and the Benfica faithful then came to the fore. The lanky Paraguayan was roundly booed for a clumsy piece of control and then missing a presentable chance, but he was in the right place at the right time to knock Maxi Pereira’s cross into the net and put Benfica back in front on 75 minutes. Feirense continued to believe they could take something from the match and threatened a second equaliser before Bruno Cesar calmed Benfica’s nerves with a fine individual effort in stoppage time.
Watch Bruno Cesar’s first official goal in a Benfica shirt:
[1-0] Nolito, 14
[1-1] Rabiola, 53
[2-1] Cardozo, 75
[3-1] Bruno Cesar, 91


Sporting’s season is only three games old, but a worrisome recurring theme has already emerged – an alarming profligacy in front of goal. Again the Lisbon team did little justice to the individual talent on the pitch, but carved out enough chances to have won comfortably against a completely inoffensive Beira-Mar.
After a turgid first half, which led Domingos Paciencia to use up all his substitutions before the interval, Sporting improved significantly after the break. Diego Capel was a constant danger for the Lions, and both Wolfswinkel and Postiga missed very presentable heading opportunities from the Spaniard’s cross, before Capel himself saw a point-blank chance miraculously cleared off the line. Domingos has plenty of work to do, and must do it fast if the pre-season optimism that surrounded Sporting is not to deflate before the campaign is into full swing.
Braga clocked up their first win of the season and also seem to have retained a feature of the club over recent years – a rock solid defence. The Arsenalistas are yet to concede a goal in three matches of the new season. Second-half goals from Elderson and Lima earned Leonardo Jardim’s side all three points.
Academica are joint top of the table after a 1-0 win over Rio Ave. An early goal from Eder was enough to earn Pedro Emanuel’s team a second successive win.
Pacos de Ferreira grabbed their first victory of the season thanks to second-half goals from Melgarejo and Michel. Maykon’s late strike for Uniao de Leiria proved fruitless in a match that saw 14 yellow cards and two red cards brandished.
Olhanense play Vitoria Setubal tonight, while the match between Nacional and Vitoria Guimaraes has been put back to 4th September to aid both sides’ preparations ahead of their Europa League matches on Thursday.
Tom Kundert

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Comments (13)
Websites for portuguese football
13 Tuesday, 23 August 2011 14:42
As a benfiquista, I can only comment on the sites I use to watch SLB games, but many also feature other games as well. Try veetle.com, ATDHEnet.TV, and TVportugal.com. Also, on game days, you can check PlanetBenfica.com, which will post upwards of half a dozen links to every Benfica game, and as I said already many of these sites have links to watch Porto, Sporting, and Braga games as well. Also, im not a betting man but I know that there are several international betting sites that give you free access to multiple games once you join the sight and gain proper access... Good luck and happy viewing!
@ Matt re Bojinov
12 Tuesday, 23 August 2011 07:53
Hi Matt
Thanks for that, I haven't read anything about whether he was injured or not. I think you are right, he is a player that has struggled for injuries in the past and tht is unreliable, but the same could be said of Aimar and JJ seems to have been able to get the best out of him the last few seasons.
I always think that players with injuries tend to be so unlucky that sometimes all they need is a patient manager that will give them a chance. Certainly Sporting need some help up front.
11 Tuesday, 23 August 2011 00:31
I saw a great post on abola this weekend. Porto might lose players...but they still have the same referees playing for them. Hulk is a disgrace...its a wonder that sports like rubgy, hockey or american football exist when you see a man the size of hulk falling in the penalty box when a mouse blows on him...a disgrace!
10 Monday, 22 August 2011 22:29
hi can anyone tell me any website to watch portuguese footbal i had tvgente,com and is gone
9 Monday, 22 August 2011 20:08
I'm just hoping Benfica will not ruin the talents of Nelson, Roderick etc.....

When a team used a line up (plus changes) ) contained only foreign players, even a non-portuguese like me felt weird....It just didn't make sense. Why'd I want to watch 11 south americans playing on the pitch when I could easily switch over to the probably more entertaining Brazil/Argentina leagues. People can argue that teams have no responsibility for the NT, but the reality is, no league can proper without a group of quality domestic players. Look at the Bundesliga several years ago as well as the Seria a now. I'm afraid that if things don't change,the adverse effects will eventually come

I can accept a team with player
8 Monday, 22 August 2011 18:15
How come no one is talking about portos 2 controversial penalties in there first two games? Its a small wonder portuguese soccer is crumbling. They had that very controversial penalty against guimaraes then another against gil vicente? And the fact that otamendi wasnt given a red. Call it conspiracy all u want but its two common and not enough is done.
@ Paulo Re: Bojinov
7 Monday, 22 August 2011 14:26
I believe I read recently that Bojinov is nursing a sore back and is expected to miss several weeks. While this guy has a tremendous upside and is still young, he is always hurt and IMO a player like this cant be counted on to contribute until he shows that he can play regularly and stay healthy...
6 Monday, 22 August 2011 13:45
Am covering all that stuff in my opinion-y review of the weekend, will be going up this afternoon. No point in repeating ourselves ;)

5 Monday, 22 August 2011 13:42
I would say a big part of the blame has to be with the coaching staff. People keep using the excuse that it’s a new squad. Look at Benfica, at times we’re fielding half the team with new players we just signed and they are playing very well together. For all the trash talking people do about JJ, he is made this new squad very competitive within a short amount of time.

I hope Sporting get’s their act in gear as I was hoping they could make the league a bit more competitive and put on a good show for Portugal in Europa. As it stands from last few matches of their pre-season and what they’ve done so far, they look the same as last year were they barely got 3rd.
4 Monday, 22 August 2011 12:51
Not a single word about penalties?

Or dodgy referees that got relegated last season because of their inabilities?

It's good to get a round up of the games.... But in all fairness there is a lot of sugar coating going on.....
3 Monday, 22 August 2011 10:54
I think these matches have highlighted thoughts I have had already had for the upcoming season. Firstly that Porto are still the favourites for the title, despite losing AVB and now Falcao (and perhaps even more to follow). However the match against Gil Vicente only increased my thoughts that they are very unlikely to be as strong as last season, when everything went their way... It certainly won't be the case again this season, they're in the champions league now and they definitely won't be winning every game there...it remains to be seen how this will affect their confidence. Confidence is a big factor in this game.

Secondly, I wonder if portugoal.net is still predicting that Sporting will finish second in the league? That was a very bold prediction, for a team in total transition and with an almost entirely new squad. They will improve under Pacienca in the long run, but I think 3rd place in the liga and a decent run in the Europa league will be a good season for them, given all the change that has occured. Next season they should be major contenders!

Which leads me to my team Benfica. I believe they are the only realistic challenge to Porto for the league this season, and seem to have improved in all areas, although defensively we still have to get tighter. Good to see that we can still finish matches strongly, having let opposition back into the match, or given them a headstart in the match. This was very much a feature of last season, particularly in the europa league. But i have a good feeling of the direction we are going in, and if it all clicks into place, we could have a spectacular season.

I must say though that I hope the talk of loaning out Jara is just rumour. We are a little short in the central striker area (Nelson is still young and inexperienced and Saviola is looking increasingly innefective), so therefore Jara is important to the squad in my opinion. Also great to see that wonderful goal from Bruno Cesar, and this will be great for his confidence. Aimar will most probably only be able to play his best form for half, or at best 2/3 of the season, so good to have a replacement for him who feels confident and settled...
Sporting & Benfica
2 Monday, 22 August 2011 09:35
What is surprising me more about Sporting is that they are not playing Bojinov, I remember seeing him play for Manchester City a few years ago before his injury and he looked a real good striker. It's going to take a few games for Paciência to find his best team and then for the team to find their rhythm and build some momentum.
Benfica's display was typical, great half, good attacking play, plenty of chances, then disappear in another half and seem vulnerable defensively jeopardising a result that seemed certain. In other games it's come the other way around, where they've conceded an early goal and have to chase up the game. Need more consistency. You can understand Cardozo's situation, from his point of view, the fans and the manager. I have been his critic, he just doesn't work hard enough and his ball control at times is shocking. He does score goals and he is an old-fashioned centre forward, but surely there are other similar strikers that are much better?? The question is always, with a better striker would this team score more goals? For €18m I would have sold him last year.
Striker problems
1 Monday, 22 August 2011 09:24
Why is Sporting not using Rubio, is he injured or something? he was the best striker in the pre season by far.

Im not happy Polga is still starting in defense.

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