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Friday, 16 December 2011 22:23

Benfica cruise past Rio Ave

Four goals in twelve minutes for Eagles

Although they fell behind to a smart strike from Christian Atsu, Benfica eventually gave their fans an early Christmas present with a comfortable 5-1 home win over Rio Ave tonight. A brace from Nolito provided the highlight for Jorge Jesus’ side, whilst Cardozo, Saviola and Garay were also on target. 

Luisao and Nico Gaitan returned to the Benfica squad, but neither one was deemed fit enough to start by Jorge Jesus. Jardel and Witsel retained their places as the Eagles lined up with a four-man midfield behind Saviola and Cardozo. Former Benfica centre forward Joao Tomas led the line for Rio Ave, who also had Tiago Pinto (son of former Benfica and Portugal midfielder Joao Pinto) at left back.

Yazalde fired narrowly wide with barely a minute gone, but Benfica soon established control and were well on top for the opening 24 minutes – though that said, shots on goal from the Eagles were relatively scare.

However, a Joao Tomas header from a narrow angle sparked Rio Ave into life, and moments later the away side were ahead. Tarantini found himself in space on the edge of the box, and slipped a pass through to young Christian Atsu. The forward, on loan at Rio Ave from Porto, instinctively stabbed a shot beyond Artur with the outside of his boot.

Stung by conceding, Benfica renewed their pressure, and ten minutes later they found the back of the net. Cardozo’s header from the edge of the six-yard box was deflected over the bar by Eder’s raised arm, and Bruno Esteves pointed to the spot without hesitation. The Paraguayan stepped up and lashed a fierce effort beyond Huanderson to level the scores.

Rio Ave continued to persevere with their direct, organised style of play, but the likes of Saviola, Aimar and Nolito were increasingly able to find space, and it was the latter who gave Benfica the lead eleven minutes before the interval. The Spaniard cut inside from the touchline, jinked past his marker and evaded Huanderson’s lunge for the ball, before finishing a remarkable run with a perfectly placed shot, which trickled in via the left hand post.

The goal lifted any lingering tension in the air, and the atmosphere became even more festive when Javier Saviola made it 3-1 just before the half time whistle. Nolito was again involved, finding Aimar inside the box from the left flank. The number ten produced a sumptuous flick to lay off his compatriot, who lashed a low shot home for his fifth strike of the season.

The game was likely already beyond Rio Ave at that point, but Ezequiel Garay made sure of the points three minutes after the restart. The Argentine centre back ended his year on a high with a well-directed header from a Pablo Aimar free kick, to set his side up perfectly for the second half.

The goal neutered any resistance from the away side, and the remainder of the game passed without any major incident. Gaitan returned from injury with 25 minutes remaining, whilst Rodrigo and Nelson Oliveira were also sent on. Nolito added the icing on the cake with eighteen minutes remaining, directing his shot through a crowd of bodies and beyond Huanderson.

The victory sees Benfica move ahead of Porto at the top once again, with the Dragons hosting Maritimo on Saturday night. With Feirense, Nacional and Pacos de Ferreira all at home on Sunday, Rio Ave could well begin the New Year back in the relegation zone.

Goals
[0-1] Atsu 24’
[1-1] Cardozo (P) 34’
[2-1] Nolito 36’
[3-1] Saviola 45’
[4-1] Garay 48’
[5-1] Nolito 72’

Benfica: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Jardel, Garay, Emerson; Javi Garcia, Witsel, Aimar (Gaitan 65’), Nolito; Saviola (Rodrigo 79’), Cardozo (Nelson Oliveira 77’).

Ben Shave

Comments (18)
Merry Christmas also to Tom & Co..
18 Wednesday, 21 December 2011 23:18
By far the best site around with the greatest people..
Mdot you are absolutely right...
17 Wednesday, 21 December 2011 22:49
We have had spirited debates over the years.. and I do always see your point. It is not like you have ever been completely off the rail like some of the trolls.

The same goes for Andre, NJ, Bubba, and a bunch of others on here that I enjoy reading.

Maybe we should get an area thing going.. since there is so many of us in the area. We should schedule a game for us all to hook up we can wear name-tags.. and have a proper conversation . The only thing is downtown might be difficult to get seats..

I know the Portuguese Club in Mississauga shows most of the games and we could fit a few of us in there.. besides the brews are cheap..and then guys like Fresh from Hamilton.. and some of the Oakville lads can join us too.

Although for just the two of us.. downtown would be ok.. I thought you were in Mississauga..?

Anyways.. I think most definitely for the Euro we should plan some party for the PortuGOAL crew.. get a whole bunch of us together.. would be fun..

I think I said before in another post but for Andre, You, NJ, and the others that make it interesting on here.. Merry Xmas.

Cheers
Orlando Mac
16 Tuesday, 20 December 2011 14:55
Orlando Mac, we’ve gone back and forth on some of these topics for some time and I’ve said before that these boards are not setup for a proper debates. At most one of us will get one point out, the other will comment and next thing you know there are other stories that have pumped this one off the list. I like to comment on the stories here but it just isn’t build for these debates and I tend to go on other forums to debate these issues.

On a side note, I’ve never noticed your invite and I would gladly meet up for a drink. Didn’t notice that you’re in Toronto and one of these weekends it would be great to meet up for to watch a game and we can debate all of these various topics. Also don’t take my comments the wrong way, I don’t hate you or have any harsh feelings about you. I just find for some time these boards attracted trolls that did nothing but bash the club with no real debate, then throw in you going on about how horrible we are and you can easily see why I’m not the only Benfica fan on here that think you go over board on some of your comments.

I get where you’re coming from and a club of this history should always be in the knockout stages of the CL and always pushing for titles. Ever since the financial corruption in the 90’s our club went down hill. The 2000’s were especially brutal. So having JJ come in and take Benfica from a 3rd/4th place team that couldn’t even qualify for the UEFA Cup group stage, to a team that’s competitive again and is giving results has been an amazing success. Now if we had an Alex or a Mou in charge, they could do way better with our talent but you don’t attract those coaches with the way our club was being run for years.

So back to your point, we’ll have to pick a weekend after the new year and meet up sometime on Dundas/Oss area to catch a match. First round will be on me.
BTW the Mdot Profile..
15 Monday, 19 December 2011 22:45
Was a joke incase some of you didn't pick that up..

Although I am curious to hear how close I was.. lol
Last word
14 Monday, 19 December 2011 21:34
You say you are "truthful" Orlando? Seems more like "unrealistic" to me amigo...you expect us to be at the level of Barcelona, where we just blow away every opponent home or away....that's just totally unrealistic, no team on earth is anywhere near the level of Barca, not even Real Madrid (and even Mourinho knows this, even though he will never admit it).

What Benfica (and JJ) is doing very well this season is maintaining a very consistent level of good results, with the talent we have available in the squad. It's not "over-achieving", because we have a very talented squad...but it's certainly "achieving". Ever since that defeat to Braga in the Europa semi last season....everything has been pretty close to fantastic. Sure, the performances have not always been great, but the results have...and it's the results that stick in the end...opinions spin around but only wither away in the end! I make it now just 1 defeat in our last 18 matches in Europe (with the retard JJ at the helm)...you'd have to go way back to the early 90s to see the last time we were achieving such consistent results in Europe. JJ has been our best coach in almost 20 years, and the results prove it.

As for Nolito, I am not challenging you about him, he is a fantastic talent and made a huge difference for us the other night. I too think he must start most matches. However I don't agree at all with you that he is our BEST player...there are many great players in this squad. As for Nelson Oliveira, who you keep praising...from what I've seen he is nowhere near ready for the first team as you claim...maybe in the Bwin cup, but not for the real deal just yet. One thing is the under-20 WC...another thing altogether is a true competitive level. He is one for the future though for sure. So I repeat, opinions spin around but ultimately they wither away...results are what stick...and the results have been undoubtedly very good so far. The important thing is to enjoy it while it lasts!!!
Lowered Expectations
13 Monday, 19 December 2011 15:09
After being run so poorly for so many years I can understand all of your views.

I have been in some form of management leader position all my life.. my job has always been to improve upon what we have and take it to the next level. Because of my abilities I seem to always get the challenging posts.

So my viewpoint is not the same as you gentlemen.

If you gave me a turd all shined up with some air freshener on it would be better but still be a pile of shit.

John if you were around long enough you would know that I hated all those managers, especially Kinky who had a decent squad to work with.

The others no so much because LFV was a Russian roulette style of buyer and it would be a mystery box of results.

I never hear this ever.. but the last few years LFV has been making great purchases... I hear it is Rui Costa .. but the fact is he is an ambassador and besides shmoozing with people he is not the buyer.. it is the president that decides on all these deals. LFV is the one that deserves all this praise... not the Lowest Common Denominator.

If you are running a Hockey Team and your GM gives you Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby, Malkin as your 4 centers and Ken Dryden in net.. the wins come easy.

In comparison it is like having CR7 on the left Messi on the right, Pele in the middle and Eusebio as the striker.. you are going to win some games.

Now I appreciate we don't have that high ranking of players.. but we have some demons at most positions..

Get serious.. Nolito who Andre challenges me as one of our best players had 7 goals for half of the season on the bench.. not to mention all his assists.

Cardozo has 8 Goals and for what he does he is one of the best in the world and is so highly under-rated even at home. Sure he misses lots of sitters.. but he still scores much more than any other.. and he too has been a sub most of the year.

Cesar is a great scoring number 10 and his attack creates holes.. he in his short time has more goals than Gaitan & Aimar put together.. he too sat for the first half.

Witsel the Snitsel.. or the Axe with the Wax.. is a tremendous player.. who has yet to reach potential.

Add Luisao who is amazing in the last 3 years.. after he appreciated he was never going to go.. again like Cardozo under valued on the world stage.. after his last hissy fit.. he has simply been one of the best CB's in the game.. for Benfica.

Maxi even though he is having a off year.. from winning the Copa and playing so many games.. is such a hard man and exactly what we need on the right.. again he is very undervalued on the world stage. You would think after a run in the WC & Copa champs they would've plucked him.. their loss is our gain.

Then we have Artur & Eduardo on the back line both GK's that have been extremely exceptional and the best in the game at times.

These were all products of LFV.. add Gaitan.. and Aimar who I complain about but are good players.. Gaitan is better in the middle so his defensive lapses that cost us so much last year without Witsel still annoy me.. besides the fact that that he seems to only show up to Euro games. He has more assists in a game then he has had all season in the Liga.

Aimar too now with great players around him is playing much better and consistent.. but why is a player that is about to go out on a free getting so much playing time.. same for Saviola.. either sign Aimar for a couple of more.. or give him spot duty because you clearly have guys that can replace him in Cesar, and Simao, even Gaitan who I have always said is an attacking mid.. not a winger.

So with having such a great nine... and adding the likes of Rodrigo, Javi, Garay, etc to your line-up should be an incredible thing.

Not to mention that LFV has done extremely well in his Portuguese buys that has gone unnoticed because of the poor playing time. You have Oliveira who was the leading Goal scorer at the U20, Mika who was the best GK, Simao who was amazing at Pacos last year (look at how they have fallen this year without him), and Miguel Vitor who is a monster central defender with brains, that is only to mention a few.. Amorim is a great central midfielder.. he does not have the pace for where JJ plays him... Luis Martins too should be getting more starts.. considering Emerson is our starter, and there are so many more.

Anyways..the difference in opinion is strictly down to you all rate JJ because we have a better squad then at any other time in our history and I actually give credit where it is due.. and that is LFV has become such a better buyer..

We are loaded with depth.. we are loaded with Portuguese talent that never plays.. we are a loaded squad.. and with the right formations and tactics we will go to the semis of the CL and blow-out the Liga.

Unfortunately we won't under JJ we won't see the bright light of all this talent. We will get results.. we might even win this liga again.. probably because Porto will blow a tire against a weak team.

Must be nice to be happy with that fat wife, living in that ghetto apartment building, with those ugly kids that all teachers hate.. having JJ as a saviour must be a great thing.

Some of us want more.. we want to see that great talent..

Andre no 4-4-2 clearly it does not work in scoring 5 goals.. and clearly Nolito with a brace in his first start off of the bench.. sucks..

Cardozo also is no good..

Pretty hard to admit when someone else was spot on.. especially when you share the main points but disagree on the crux.

Hey I would love to agree with all of you and circle jerk with you.. but I have this annoying trait of being truthful..

The OCD complex you claim I have is only the truth.. which clearly your repitition of similar gripes without the crux entitles you Andre to Dementia.. on top of OCD since you can Jacob Two Two yourself.

But since you like to make light of some serious conditions.. while your repeatedlly wash your hands.. because they are dirty with the truth.. I have known people to suffer from those disabilities so I don't share your amusement.

Andre you might claim that I am insensitive but when I call someone a retard.. I am not thinking of a Downes syndrome child.. or someone physically challenged...
I am thinking of Mdot who is the Voice of Reason.. not.. and whose mental capacity has been been retarded with his visions of grandeur.

Tools in my area who thought they were all gangsta called Toronto Tdot.. like there is anything gangsta about Toronto one of the most pleasant cities in the world.

Mdot is clearly a reference to Mississauga where I live. So since I have a fasicination with profiling let me lay Mdot out.

He is a short, average built dude.. say 5 foot 8 give or take
a couple of inches who lives in Mississauga. Having attended a school with half and halves to protect himself he used his ebonics to stay in the Beta group.. and because he had to use his brains to avoid conflict.. he manages to get out unscathed although he has one good story about when he caught a dude with a sucker punch and had one witness.. just enough for others to be wairy.

He is currently engaged or married early to a plain jane.. none of his friends have ever tried to screw her.. although she is not fat.. nonetheless she will cheat on him.. most likely with an uglier guy who is heavy set.

He has had difficulty in life but strives for more.. has achieved random results and fights for more.

In some situations he backs off and is scared.. but at other times.. he will lead an attack. he needs to feel comfortable in what he does.

I appreciate Mdot even though I disagree with him but he hates me in return because I am too close to home for some reason.

Maybe he was tooled by a genuis.. and was always fighting back.. I don't think so.. I think Mdot is smart just retarded in thought.

When it comes down to it.. he had an older brother that muscled him.. or a Father that never rewarded him who was stupid.. so he had to become the Voice of Reason.

His knowledge is what helped him through those tough times.. and he is at his weakest when his knowledge fails him.

John and Andre are new.. Mdot has hated me forever even though we are in the same town and I have invited him to PCCM for a friendly drink... so we could debate in person..

I have never had the privilege..

Yes I am a big dude.. but like anyone has ever said. in person.. I am a fun person.. the life of the party.. besides busting balls.. I am no one to fear unless you cross the line.

I will not accept less.. sure we have had a history of bad managers.. but having a great team does not make us better..

Vila Boas with as good of a team or less blew everyone out last year. That is fact.

This Benfica is good but could be much better.
Great year so far
12 Sunday, 18 December 2011 19:24
JJ pulling off great records as a coach for Benfica. Can't remember the last time we've had a coach that's been this successful. Since every season he's been in charge we have been an extremely competitive team and once again look like we can take the title.

To think before he took over our club was struggling to even make it to the group stage of the EL and now we're looking good to go deep in the CL this year. Some people will always find a reason to hate but for me, I'm hyped that we could be pulling off more titles with JJ. Here's hoping we are able to renew his contract for another 3 seasons.
andre i agree
11 Sunday, 18 December 2011 18:11
you last sentence was very true while we enjoy these games and get excited over wins like these orlando mac seems to be miserable and only has negatives to point out JJ is our best coach in years liek you said he probably prefers flores so we can come third or fernando santos to come third or camacho so we will have a bad season i am grateful for JJ as long as we are winning i am happy Benfica has been this good in years
...
10 Sunday, 18 December 2011 00:17
Orlando Mac...I'm really starting to think that you've got a condition called obsessive compulsive disorder...on the subject of Jorge Jesus haha! Every single post you ever make about Benfica is basically complaining about JJ and saying what a terrible coach he is. Well the reality is this terrible coach is the best coach our great club has had in donkeys years...he has just taken us halfway through a season unbeaten in the league and champions league (now you tell me, when was the last time Benfica was inbeaten in 10 straight european matches?) On top of everything, he has just started your favourite player ("Benfica's best player"), we have scored 5 goals, and you still complain, complain , complain..unbelievable!!! I say it again, the rest of us will keep enjoying these exciting times!!!
JJ
9 Saturday, 17 December 2011 16:44
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah we won easily he is the reason we are who we are in the past seasons in JJ i trust yea he makes a few mistakes but he is making us win that's whats important nothing is ever good enough for some people he takes us to the last 16 of the CL people still criticize we have only lost 1 game this season people still hating let the man do his work at the end of the season we will see what he has done for now it has been GREAT
Benfica
8 Saturday, 17 December 2011 13:49
Finally a comfortable win for Benfica. Jorge Jesus should consider Nolito cause he is always dangerous on the left and he scores goals.
Hate to say it.. BUT I TOLD YOU SO!!!
7 Saturday, 17 December 2011 12:46
Great Things happen when you play your best players..

In order that is Nolito, Cardozo, Artur, Witsel, Luisao..

I am no rocket scientist.. great results are within this teams grasp that is why it is so infuriating to watch sometimes with the player selections.

Benfica can play a lot of formations they have a ton of depth.. a 4-4-2 with the players on this roster is not only doable it is our best formation against the lesser lights.

I have always stated this, tonight was a clear example Saviola finally had a decent game after being benched... good things happens to managers that sit players who are playing poorly no matter the pay cheque.

Although Saviola I will add is not the best play-making option as the secondary striker.. I believe that to be Oliveira who is a great passer and is quick. Nelson should be starting next to Cardozo and Rodrigo in every 4-4-2 game against weak opposition.

Also i will add like Jon stated Bruno Cesar is a great midfielder he is not a winger though.. he is a replacement for Aimar or Witsel when you need more offence.. funny thing also is that Gaitan also is a better midfielder than he is a winger.. if you hearken back you will realize that when Gaitan plays well it is usually in the center of the pitch. Unfortunately JJ values Aimar too much.. and although he has had a great season in his last contract year (a combination of playing with a better squad and trying to earn a future pay cheque) he is still inconsistent and has always played better with a fire under him.. when JJ has benched him in the past he has come out on fire. But because of pay cheques JJ went to that ox when he was a weak donkey week in week out.

JJ's main failure is he does not play his best players while they are hot.. and he has an ability to take great players off of boil and make them feel lesser than when they are performing.

Maybe JJ is playing players off of their practice performances.. I haven't watched the training ground.. let us give him the benefit of the doubt it is Christmas and the real Jesus' birthday.. but my gift to JJ is the message that you can't play players based on pay cheques.. you can't play them because of the training pitch, because most fans and your president only see game matches.. so all decisions should be based on prime time only.

If they can't perform under the big spotlights.. then they should never play.

Maybe this is JJ's problem.. when he raised his hands after repeated goals.. I could see the dejection in his face as he realized he was wrong.. it wasn't vindication.. now maybe we have him all wrong.. maybe LFV calls him every day and tells him who to play.. but the truth is I don't believe that.. None of us do.. JJ controls the squad.

JJ has learned a lot over the last few years.. you can use different formations.. for different games. A really hard concept to learn.

He has also realized that the players he thought were the best.. are not.. yet they are near contract end and he still runs them out. Maybe he hasn't learned that one.

Truth is Jardel has done well, Garay has his moments, Emerson tries real hard, Javi shows glimpses of greatness, Saviola has 5 goals after playing so poorly.. fact is there are all clear replacements on the bench that are better.. still waiting for a chance.

Also if Artur was spelled more... maybe we would not burn out the dude.. since we have so many big games coming... considering we have a better back-up than Benfica has had starters for the last 20 years in Eduardo.

The Brazilian Chicken & Spanish Chicken got tons of starts.. meanwhile Eduardo who is better gets rare Taca de Turd games.

Life could be easy at Benfica.. we play our best players.. and we smash teams.. win trophies.. and JJ gets branded a genius gets paid big bucks to run AC Milan and everyone is happy.

JJ's attempt at being a genius costs us and him every day with his squad selections and his formations ( some might see this Making Everything Look Difficult will result in consistency as no one will want him as a Manager).. that truth is either he is extremely inept or he just wants to show that he is different.

The squad selections are easy. It is not rocket science to see who the best are.. and being Portuguese the natural connotation would be to think that a good chunk of that would be of your countrymen.. since that is the proven bias everywhere else on earth. Unfortunately that is not the case.

Benfica has had some bad managers along the way but the truth is we have never had as great of teams as we have had under JJ.. KInky was the only one to get such a usable squad.. and his were no where near the DiMaria/Coentrao era or this Nolito/Witsel era that is even better.

It was a great gift by JJ nonetheless.. this is what we could win like if he played our best players.. Merry Christmas.. now we will go back to "Making Everything Look Difficult"...

I will give JJ the benefit of the doubt.. since it is Xmas he learned his lesson and we will be blowing out teams in the New Year on the way to a CL Semi only losing to Barca on a controversial Messi dive in the box that turns him into the villain he is and a Liga win & one Turd Trophy.

We sell Gaitan, Javi, Emerson, Garay, Saviola for huge profits... and Vitor and Luisao with a real LB shut down Europe next year.. and we win the CL.. and Liga again.. this time with no Turd Cups as JJ realizes they are worthless.. and only plays reserves from game one, unsurprisingly the Portuguese Reserves go to the final of both Taca de Turds.

JJ after gaining trust in his players never gets near the touchline again with his jester antics.. and because he has all this free time during games.. he begins to use the telephone on the sidelines to set up a coalition that cures world hunger.

After such an accomplishment the next year he plans to help fix FIFA although even for Jesus that is a 30 year plan of successes.

Anyways gentlemen always a pleasure.. if I don't get another chance.. you all have a great Xmas and a happy new year.. !

Many great conversations this year.. it is truly a pleasure to chat with most of you.. even when I don't agree.. sure we all have our moments.. but because of Tom & Co.. we can do that together.

MERRY XMAS ALL!!

Sorry... Seasons Greetings... Nick the SP-ick...lol
nolito
6 Saturday, 17 December 2011 12:07
nolito hasn't started much recently because we have had very big games this past month and he gives the ball way too easily. against tougher opponents we would be punished. bruno cesar is better in possession and i would disagree that he offers nothing upfront.

nolito was very good yesterday, and he's a very good player, but it's important to remind people that jesus has been heavily criticized for not being careful enough in the big games, something which he has clearly learned from since this year. it's showed. with the cup defeat to maritimo the obvious exception, benfica have remained unbeaten since the season began, having even played porto, braga, machester united away from home and come back with results. as good as performances are when they are taking you to 8-1's and 5-0's like they were two years ago, it's the ability to get results that will ultimately see us challenging to go far in europe and win the league.
Remember the name...
5 Saturday, 17 December 2011 07:58
Nolito!
and stupid coach
4 Saturday, 17 December 2011 04:16
when is that idiot coach of ours going to realise nolito creates so many chances when he plays NOT his brazilian boyfriend Bruno César all i got to say is about time nolito starts
Did you see that goal?!?!
3 Friday, 16 December 2011 23:39
Nolito was the truth tonight. That heel touch by Aimar on the third goal was absolutely sublime. Benfica needed a good offensive showing after a couple of sluggish games. Just what the doctor ordered!
Good Match
2 Friday, 16 December 2011 23:37
Finally a good performance and the goals to go with it for SLB. They responded well to going behind and the attack was ruthless with the chances that came their way. Nolito made a big difference and finally we looked dangerous from the flanks again this season. Nolito has to start more matches on this form, his skills for his first goal were fabulous. Saviola took his opportunity well and this will be good for his confidence, if he does end up staying in the january transfer. Finally also a 4-4-2 formation has gone the way JJ intended it to go.

Axel was fantastic yet again, he really has everything you want in a midfielder, and has been a really great signing for us. I have been impressed with Jardel since he's stepped in also, and he's a trustworthy back-up in central defence, tough in the tackle and precise with his interventions. He reminds me a little of the Jorge Costa of old! This was good for our goal difference too, boosted it up quite a bit.

Rio Ave played their part too though and started the match well, I was impressed with their winger Yazalde. But what a great way for Benfica to end the year, undefeated domestically in the Liga and in the CL (including 4 extra qualifying matches-10 in all). And there's a feeling that the team can get better than this still. Now the CL doesn't return for 2 whole months, Benfica can focus on the Liga and getting on a good run and keeping this big momentum going.. Exciting times for Benfica fans!!!
This is what I wanted to see
1 Friday, 16 December 2011 23:02
What a great way to end the year. Over the past few weeks Benfica have been getting results, but only just. There have been way too many 2-1/1-0 wins so this is what I wanted to see. Today Benfica were at their best and it is all thanks to Nolito.

Nolito was our best player at the beginning of the season, but after Bruno Cesar impressed with some substitute performances, Nolito began to warm the bench, Now Bruno Cesar is a great midfielder, but he is not a good winger. For some strange reason, Jorge Jesus has been using him out on the left wing where he offers virtually nothing to the team in an attacking sense.

Nolito can be a little selfish at times, but his direct attacking style gives opposing defenses nightmares. He also links up very well with Aimar. For me Nolito and Aimar were both brilliant today. Saviola and Axel Witsel also played very well.

Maxi was always an option offensively, but his final ball often left much to be desired. He also was beaten consistently by Yazalde throughout the match. Maxi hasn't been himself this year and it is starting to worry me. I am no big fan of Emerson, but he was great today. It was definitely his best performance for Benfica. He was solid defensively and he runs his socks off up and down the left wing.

Overall, a very comfortable performance. Hopefully Jorge Jesus has realized that Benfica is much, much better with Nolito.

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