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Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:11

Benfica sprint ahead at table top

Benfica 4-1 Pacos de Ferreira

SaviolaA big Estadio da Luz crowd was in party mood on an unseasonably balmy October night in Lisbon this evening. Benfica’s highly impressive start to the season continued with a convincing victory against struggling Pacos de Ferreira. Goals from Saviola (2), Luisao and Nolito gave the Eagles a resounding win, with Michel scoring the consolation for the Castores.

Without hitting top gear, the hosts constructed a comfortable two-goal cushion in the first half. Veteran striker Saviola, whose future at Benfica has been the subject of speculation this week, responded to his critics with two excellent poacher's goals. First he darted in front of his marker to latch on to Cardozo's brilliant headed knock-back across goal and produced an acrobatic finish. On the stroke of half time Saviola showed real class by volleying Bruno Cesar's corner first-time into the corner of the net, albeit benefiting from atrocious marking from the visitors.

Goalkeepers shine

The game was almost turned on its head in a spell of furious action upon the restart. Luisao was penalised for a foul on Luisinho in the box (big Luis fells little Luis!) and Michel hit home the resulting penalty. The goal triggered an immediate response from Benfica, and only some breathtaking goalkeeping from Cassio prevented Cardozo, Saviola, Nolito and Emerson from scoring, while Cesar shot inches past the post. Yet in the midst of all those chances in quick succession Pacos were desperately close to equalising, as Melgarejo's header brought a stunning save out of Artur.

Benfica fans could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief on 65 minutes as Aimar's free kick was headed in by Luisao, with the Pacos defence again going AWOL. 3-1 soon became 4-1 as Nolito combined beautifully with Saviola and dinked a cool finish over the forlorn Cassio. The hosts could have scored more, but the euphoric atompshere around the Luz mirrored a club exuding confidence as the Liga goes into a three-week break.

Benfica are three points clear at the top of the league and can now sit back and watch tomorrow's games to see if they will have FC Porto and Braga for company at the table summit.

[1-0] Saviola, 21’
[2-0] Saviola, 45’
[2-1] Michel, 51’ (pen)
[3-1] Luisao, 65’
[4-1] Nolito, 67’

Tom Kundert

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Comments (10)
Andre I will add for your pleasure...
10 Sunday, 02 October 2011 19:38
That one game does not make a season.. and as you rightly admitted Saviola has played poorly till now..

Truth be told I would rather he have a great year in transition to the kids.. but if we look at the end of the season and he ends up with this much playing time and 8 goals then we wasted a year..

Once again I would like to applaud Saviola for yesterdays result... and hope it continues.. as another astute poster suggested it is a problem a manager wants to have. I also would love to say that I was wrong about him.
Damn post went missing..
9 Sunday, 02 October 2011 19:31
I posted a message yesterday at night complimenting Saviola on the two goals.. must not have gone through..

anyways I can praise even my whipping boys.. I still don't think Saviola is the man going forward but good on him..

hopefully he can prove me wrong..

Keep the train running
8 Sunday, 02 October 2011 16:52
al, it's not that we've written off Saviola, it's that with the 4-2-3-1 formation, Cardozo is proving the more reliable.
What i am finding interesting is that whne Saviola is in with Cardozo, he's all over the place. Yes, this played like the 4-4-2, but Saviola has been very active from side to side.
Granted that doesn't mean he should be in ahead of Cardozo.
No complaints, although I would have prefered not to see Bruno on the wing. I understand that Enzo is still hurt and we need cover.
Once would also have liked to have seen Rodrigo in earlier.

You see, a very nice win, and there's still ranting. Lol!
Great game
7 Sunday, 02 October 2011 13:31
Man this game could have had such a higher scoreline. I'm very happy with the result. Saviola was amazing yesterday. Even when he wasn't scoring in the past couple of games, he has been providing some great support in the box. Nolito just keeps on blowing us away.

Overall our team is looking very good, JJ is doing great and the amount of rotating is keeping this team fresh.
6 Sunday, 02 October 2011 12:31
It was gratfying to see Benfica win a game like they did two years ago.
It must be nice for JJ to have to decide who to play Nolito or Bruno Cesar bith capable players who have proven they can scored. Those are the types of headaches managers like to have.
I was happy to see Saviloa scored two goals yesterday. In the past two years he has gone on a scoring tear within 7 to 8 weeks, perhaps he's getting ready to go on a scoring binge.
The difference between 2010 Benfica and 2011 Benfica is depth. Depth wins Championships. Although I still think Benfica needs to find someone who can compete with Maxi Pereira.
By the way can anybody explain to me why JJ won't give Capdevila a chance to show his skills.
Results just keep rolling
5 Sunday, 02 October 2011 12:12
Another great result without even playing anywhere near our best. If this team keeps improving, who knows what we could accomplish this season? Saviola proved to all those who say he's finished that he still knows where the back of the net is and also provided a fabulous assist for Nolito's goal. JJ has handled the situation with him very well, given him opportunities despite his poor start to the season, and boy did it pay off last night. A talent like his doesn't just disappear, and it's important he gets his old confidence back. Good to see a start for Matic, and some more playing time for Rodrigo. Everyone in the squad is being given a chance, and this is what makes a great team in the end...one where the whole squad is important...not one which is divided into "first teamers" and "reserves"..this is the future of the game, utilising the whole squad match by match and throughout the course of the season. JJ is doing very well at this so far, and the results are the reward.

On a side note you really have to think now though that Capdevila's short Benfica career will not go past January. One thing was being left out of the Champs league squad having arrived late in the transfer window...but being left out of a league match squad against Pacos de Ferreira? The writing's on the wall, and surely he will leave in January if any of those Italian clubs reportedly interested in him, come calling. Shame he hasn't been given a chance, cos he's really talented and experienced, but i of course the team is more important than any individual. And there's not too much wrong with the team at the moment, is there? Just need to tighten up more defensively and we could become a match for anyone in Europe.
4 Sunday, 02 October 2011 11:20
im surprised at how many people have written off saviola so early in the season just because he doesnt score every week doesnt mean he had a bad game PEOPLE you do know he has the most assists this season
3 Sunday, 02 October 2011 07:10
Thanks John! Corrected.
good game
2 Sunday, 02 October 2011 02:57
Another routine victory for O Glorioso!

It was a great game with plenty of chances for both sides, but in the end Benfica deserved the win. I haven't been the biggest fan of Emerson, but I have to say that he has been very impressive in his last few games. He isn't even close to Coentrao offensively or defensively, but he gives 110% every game like Fabio, and as a Benfiquista, I respect that. He was sprinting up and down the left wing all game.

While we aren't Barcelona, I am still very proud of this team. We have plenty of depth and I think that this league is ours to lose. Hopefully Benfica will continue to win domestically and in Europe!

1 Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:49
hey tom i liked the article but you put nolito as nolita twice just letting you know.For the game benfica never really hit top form but we got the job done i personally was irritated when i saw saviola start and i was thinking maybe orlando is right .Boy was i wrong saviola had a great game and 2 great goals thats the saviola we all know and love although i liked saviola i think rodrigo will soon be taking over his spot he has a great calmness about him and works really hard im glad jorge jesus is giving him his chance.how about the great nolito once again another goal it must be hard to choose between Bruno and Nolito but i think right now nolito takes the edge
im juat happy we won lets see what comments are gonna be about jorge jesus this week cant wait lol well done BENFICA another important 3 points

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