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Sunday, 01 April 2012 00:26

Last-gasp Bruno Cesar fires Benfica to vital win over Braga

FC Porto go top with comfortable victory over Olhanense

Bruno CesarIn what has become a thrilling title race in the Liga Zon Sagres, Benfica provided another exciting twist by earning a critical three points tonight to leapfrog Braga and keep pace with FC Porto, who had already defeated Olhanense earlier in the evening.


 

Benfica 1-0 Braga

With so much at stake for both sides, it was not much of a surprise that the match was quite scrappy from the onset. Benfica were unquestionably the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges and dictated the tempo of the game in the opening ten minutes, winning several corners.

Benfica pressed high up the pitch and were successful in causing Braga to make mistakes and lose possession in their own half. Braga were content to soak up the pressure and attempted to draw Benfica into committing too many men forward.

Benfica kept up the pressure and Bruno Cesar warmed the palms of Quim with a decent shot in the 7th minute. Braga looked for opportunities to counter and wasted a chance to take the early lead in the 10th minute when Barbosa shot woefully over the bar after being set up by Lima.
 

Braga play on the break

Douglao was issued the game’s first yellow card minutes later for bringing down Gaitan, but Benfica’s free kick delivery left much to be desired. As time wore on, Braga began to find more and more space to hit Benfica on the counter and squandered another chance in the 15th minute.

Benfica continued to dominate the run of play and Quim turned away Maxi Pereira’s effort in the 43rd minute before Braga wasted the best chance of the opening half in stoppage time. Alan cut back inside his marker and crossed into the box for Mossoro, who flicked the ball goalward, but Artur got down well to cut out the danger and both teams would be forced to settle for a draw in the opening 45 minutes.

Benfica came roaring out of the gates to start the second half and Witsel probably should have put Benfica one up in the 47th minute after holding off Douglao inside the penalty area, but his shot was straight at Quim.
 

Miguel Vitor to the rescue

There was the feeling that the longer the game remained at 0-0, the more it might favour Braga, and indeed the visitors continued to threaten on the counterattack with Mossoro nearly bursting clean through on goal were it not for a last ditch tackle by Miguel Vitor.

Benfica dialled up the intensity and Rodrigo brought a fine save from Quim in the 56th minute after being sent free down the left channel. Braga responded well and created a few chances of their own, culminating with a neat flick from Lima that flew just over the bar onto the top of the net.

Jorge Jesus changed things in the 63rd minute, bringing on Nelson Oliveira for Cardozo. Minutes later, Mossoro wasted another glorious chance to put Braga ahead when he misjudged Lima’s excellent cross and glanced his headed effort wide of goal.

For all of their hard work, Benfica finally were rewarded in the 77th minute when Bruno Cesar earned a penalty after being barged into by Elderson. Axel Witsel stepped up and sent Quim the wrong way to score the crucial opener.

Nuno Gomes entered the fray in the 81st minute as Braga desperately searched for an equaliser. Suddenly, Braga were level when Elderson made amends for his earlier mistake by turning in Hugo Viana’s cross from the right.
 

Neat Cesar finish

The goal set the stage for an exciting finale to a hard-fought match and it was Benfica who eventually seized the moment. Gaitan squirmed free into the box and squared for Bruno Cesar, who carefully guided a shot through traffic into the far corner of the net just out of Quim’s reach to bring the house down.

On the balance of play, it was a fair result, but Braga had their chances, especially Mossoro, and in the end were just too wasteful. The result sees Benfica move into second place behind Porto, while Braga drop into third with a crucial home tie against FC Porto coming up this Saturday.


Benfica:
Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Miguel Vitor (Matic, 68), Luisao, Capdevila, Gaitan, Witsel, Javi Garcia, Bruno Cesar, Rodrigo (Nolito, 79), Cardozo (Nelson Oliveira, 63)

Braga:
Quim, Douglao, Elderson, Miguel Lopes, Nuno Andre Coelho, Márcio Mossoro (Luis Alberto, 86), Custodio, Hugo Viana, Lima, Helder Barbosa (Nuno Gomes, 82), Alan (Paulo Cesar, 79)

Goals:
[1-0] Witsel, 77 (pen)
[1-1] Elderson, 82
[2-1] Bruno Cesar, 90


by Natahn Motz


 

FC Porto 2-0 Olhanense

Lucho GonzalezA goal in each half from Lucho Gonzalez and James Rodriguez gave FC Porto a comfortable win over Olhanense and restored the Dragons to the top of the table. The hosts dominated from start to finish, and only a fine goalkeeping performance from Olhanense number one Fabiano Freitas kept the score respectable.

The big Brazilian stopper saved brilliantly from Hulk twice and Maicon, but was powerless to prevent Lucho from opening the scoring on 24 minutes. The Argentine pounced on a loose clearance and rifled into the net from the edge of the box.

It was a similar story in the second forty-five minutes. Fabiano saved well from Joao Moutinho, Otamendi and Hulk, but Porto were not to be denied and doubled their lead midway through the half. Defour and Hulk combined well to set up James Rodriguez, who produced an accomplished finish.

The Colombian is Porto’s top scorer and stands third in the overall Liga scoring charts having notched twelve goals in 2011/12.

This result, combined with Benfica’s subsequent victory over Braga, sees the Dragons one point clear of Benfica in first place in the standings. Next week Vitor Pereira’s men travel to Braga, who are just one point further back.

FC Porto:
Helton, Sapunaru, Otamendi, Maicon, Alvaro Pereira (Alex Sandro, 79), Fernando, Lucho Gonzalez (Defour, 65), Joao Moutinho, Hulk, Janko (Varela, 82), James Rodriguez

Goals:
[1-0] Lucho Gonzalez, 24
[2-0 James Rodriguez, 66


by Tom Kundert

 
Comments (35)
Porto fans
35 Tuesday, 03 April 2012 23:32
With all do respect to the Benfica fans wanting support from Porto fans in Europe...I personally dont want it or expect it. I have no hesitation saying that i hope porto loses every game in Europe. The city, fans, team and president digust me...I wish nothing but the worst for porto. Anyway, have a good day all!
Braga
34 Tuesday, 03 April 2012 06:13
Braga might have good teams, past, present and future, but they will NEVER be better than Porto, Benfica and Sporting in the same year! Their is a reason why there are so many teams in the Portuguese leagues but only a handful gave ever won the championship. Sorry Bryan, but your betting on a 3 legged horse!
league race
33 Tuesday, 03 April 2012 05:29
This surely will be a fantastic ending to the season. Im also a former Guimaraes follower, so i hope sporting loses, which im sure they will to key teams, and guimaraes has the potential to move forward. It would se fantastic to see guimaraes and maritimo make it to a further part in the europa league than the qualifying rounds... Sporting is borin to watch, but i like wolfswinkel ;p
More classy comments
32 Monday, 02 April 2012 22:27
From our Porto friends Manny and Steve...they prove me right with every post they make. These Porto fans all constantly support the opposition of Benfica and Sporting in European matches, even when we all gave our condolences on this site when their team got hammered by Man City (a team who let me add, is going to likely finish with no silverware this season after Man United won tonight)...Porto made them seem like the best team in Europe lol!!

It's obvious to me why these Porto fans do this...they all live in this illusion that Porto is the biggest and most succesful Portuguese club...and so fear that Benfica or Sporting succeeding in Europe will jeopordise this fantasy of theirs...it's actually an inferiourity complex, disguised as a superiourity complex...so the joke's on you lot in the end!
Post match
31 Monday, 02 April 2012 19:36
I've no doubts about it being a penalty. It was mistimed by Elderson and we paid for it when there was little or no apparent danger. When I saw the referee for the game my heart sunk. Joao Ferreira has been nominated my heart sunk. Firstly there was a yellow card moments before Douglao rigthly got a yellow card for an off the ball taackle on Quim. Pictures are emerging that JGarcia did in fact pull Lima back and it was a penalty for Braga. Having said that we should really have put the game to bed when Mossoro missed a glorious chance. For me though he was the engine of the team and had a great game. At the end of the day it's who scores the goals. Douglao could have saw red easily and Hugo Viana somehow escaped an incredibly clear yellow card. Mt conspiracy theory is that certain people want to see him play against Porto next week and he escaped. rightly or wrongly I'm happy he got away with it. Bruno cesar escaped several yellows as usual. Luisao wasnºt troubled much but my theoory is that Benfica won't win the league becaus of lack of central defenders. They seem to be falling like flies. Benfica can say they've been unlucky with central defenders but Braga are playing with a completley different starting defence since the beginning of the season. Biaino, Paulo Vinicius, Ewerton, and Imorou along with Djamal started the season and it's completely changed. Along with them Braga have lost Salino a stand in left back. One thing is clear this seasn is far from over with plenty to play for. If Braga win next week the leaders will change for a third week running. A resurgent Sporting will have a major role in the final classifications. They will either mess someone up or mess themselves up and Guimaraes will make a serious attempt to catch them Imagine this scenario: Sporting lose to both Benfica and Porto, Guimaraes go five months without playing their players and go on an amazing run(they have a decent scedule) and go into their last match of the season needing to win and Sporting to lose against their rivals Braga for the last place in Europe. Sporting lose at home to Braga and they win the league and in doing so hand Guimaraes a European spot and Sporting have a years holidays from Europe unless they win the final of the Europa Cup. This still could be the season of all seasons... Sporting to take a point off Benfica and Braga to jump a point ahead of both teams. from 3rd to 1st to 3rd and back again to first... The possibilities are endless... If Porto win and Benfica can't beat Sporting then I think the league could be over and Braga and Benfica would fight for the remaining spot in the Champions League group. This is what football is made for. Stop arguing and start enjoying possibly the most exciting finish to a league in living memory. Loving it.. despite the loss... My mates that are Benfica fans were far from arogant after winning the match... It shows the real fear and respect that Braga thoroughly deserve...
bryan etc..
30 Monday, 02 April 2012 04:22
Cmon guys... Im even an insane benfica fan, and i think you guys should lay off bryan. Benfica won, and thats that, but Braga is a great team no doubt. Better than sporting. That call for the penalty was questionable, and there has been referee scandals in the ZonSagres, but who really knows. Quim did great, so did slbs defence thought, and i really think braga will beat sporting out, and have the potential to beat porto. Im sure it will be even closer in matchday 29 and 30, im sure benfica will win though, im goin for braga to draw porto, or even win ;p slbbbb
LOL
29 Sunday, 01 April 2012 21:12
Benfica is the by far the biggest and most loved club in Portugal.
That means the haters have to come out screaming louder. It's ok.

For me this is still Porto's title to lose. They are in first and hold all the cards. I will admit that they've been sporadic so a drop in points would be expected.
Due to that, I feel Benfica still has a great shot at the leagle title. Second place is imperative. Don't want to have to play meaningfull games I early July.

For all you Tripeiros, I would be angry if Benfica don't win the title. But remember how unfulfilling and disappointing this season has been, even if you do win the league.
I was speaking with a Tripeiro and he was going on how Benfica wouldn't get far in the Champions League. I had to laugh and explain that we've already gone pretty far. Porto didn't in either European competition.
2 penalties!
28 Sunday, 01 April 2012 20:28
All you benficistas need to lay off the crack pipe. I think only one of you had the guts to admit that 5 minutes before Benfica's penalty and even more flagrant foul was committed against a Braga player in the box. So its pretty obvious to anyone with half a clue that the most deserved result would have been a tie. But it's funny how you guys are sticking out you chests saying how superior your team was. That being said, I do appreciate your help in putting the defending champs back in 1st place.
LOSER
27 Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:11
Bryan what a lieing loser u r kid. u talk about robbery n nonsense but yet u dont say anything about pablo cesar dive which led to a non exsistent goal off vianaas free kick. just go away.
Do us all a favor
26 Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:07
Tom I'll give you 100 euros if you block bryan from this site
Hoping sporting steals points next week
25 Sunday, 01 April 2012 18:29
Also I usually root for Portuguese teams in Europe but I'm gonna be rooting for Chelsea to embarrass them 6-0. Give Chelsea a few fake penalties it would make my day.
Bryan.. Captain Innuendo
24 Sunday, 01 April 2012 17:53
Bryan you are losing it as I stated in an earlier post you miss clear points of contention within last nights game..and ramble on about the BS Innuendo campaigns online..

First off.. PortuGOAL is extremely fair.. there are posts that definitely get discarded.. but the majority that don't make it is because of interweb issues not because someone flagged your post.. for your rambling thoughts.

I have lost many a post throughout the years after spending a lot of time on them.. so I can appreciate how frustrating that is.. (not being the fastest keyboardist) it was not because Tom, Ben or Co.. said.. hey I don't agree with that post so I am going to trash it.

Shit Tom 50% of the time disagrees with me completely.. but he respects that I am passionate and that every once in a while I am right. Ben is the same.. Most of us on this site respect the guys we argue with bar a few mental midgets.

So to think that they are dropping your comments because of an overall conspiracy is ridiculous.. unless you have said something completely flagrant they will post it.. I have had a few flagrant posts go missing.. but most of the ones that I have lost.. were do to interweb spiders.. that travel through network connections looking for juicy posts over 100kb's.

You are just being paranoid..

Also please stop with all the conspiracy theories and innuendo.. and your love of hammering Benfica fans.. over loving your own squad is apparent to everyone.. and even the other non-Benfica fans have been slamming you for it.

You make some real good points at times.. but when you mix it in with these paranoid delusions no one can take your serious.

Come in and relax on the long couch let Dr. Mac help you..

Was your biological father a Benfica fan...?
Did he leave you and your mother to fend for yourselves?
Did your mom start hooking to pay the bills?
Did little boy blue?

KIDDING... tongue was firmly implanted in my cheek..

Anyways Bryan there is no conspiracy.. maybe you have a bad internet connection.. either that or you are saying something quite flagrant in your comments.. that got them pulled.

My experience compared to a lot of other sites.. Tom & Co.. are very liberal with the posts.. and we all get away with murder at times..

Cheer up Butter Cup.. Braga played great and are still in a great position to win it all.. you can knock off Porto.. and you know JJ is good for at least one if not two speed bumps to close-out the season. That should be enough for Braga to win still..
Clearly a great game by two great teams..
23 Sunday, 01 April 2012 17:20
What a pleasure to watch and those games make me drool.

It could've gone either way..

Some great displays of skill along the way.. and even Gaitan got in one of the handful of his decent performances.. all that playing time for 8 brilliant moments in all competitions.. fortunately for Benfica half of those were at CL and it should spur some interest.. and hopefully a big transfer out.

Anyways he made a few good moves today so I can't rag on him.

Let me address the penalty/ref issue..

Initially the calls went Braga's way and then at one point they swung to Benfica.. in the end.. I think it was a fair game for the Ref but out of 3 clear penalties he only called one.

The first was Javi knocking over the Braga player a minute before Benfica got the penalty.

A clear penalty..I am surprised no one has mentioned it.. Un-Manny you are losing it.. don't know how you and Bryan missed that one..

Then the clear Headbutt penalty that was awarded to Benfica after Cesar was speared with a forehead. Clearly Manny has been consuming too much of the New Jersey Tap/Swamp Water because even a retarded fool could see the headbutt... but just to clear up the confusion... Manny's green swamp water matches his team.. which is that of Sporting.. although he has dropped the SCP off of his name maybe he is embarrassed his team has no Paciencia.. literally.

Anyways he is one of the few people on here that walks into a room and makes evryone dumber in the process.

We all stopped answering his posts at one point and he crawled back into his hole for a long time, I would suggest that is probably best for us all going forward, because he feeds off of rational thoughts.. because he never has any.. unless you like the sensation of bashing your head against a jagged rock mountain wall then continue to feed the troll.

Anyways the third was the clear intentional handball by Braga.. in the box.. later on.. so in the end I think it was fair as both Benfica & Braga did not get a call each.

Nuno Gomes was great in playmaking leading to the foul and the goal.. and stripped Luisao later.. again which almost gave them the lead.

Capedevila even though rusty and definitely not perfect was a huge improvement on Emerson and if you don't think sitting on the bench has an effect on a player why not ask a professional grade fighter if there is such a thing as ring rust, or better yet riddle me how Vitor pulls/tears his hamstring if he gets some sort of semi consistent playing time the only other way to get it is through over working, and clearly he hasn't had an opportunity for that to occur.

Damn shame because he might have finally been looking at a little extended play.

Again after Vitor has a stellar game.. and even as NJ said recovered his timing brilliantly when he made a rusty mistake why is it that NJ is the only one besides JJ thinking that he did not have a good game???? Maybe NJ hates Porkchops too...?

Javi at CB almost cost us a few...

You really have to question JJ's thinking sometimes..

Benfica needed a goal so he substitues his leading scorer instead of subbing out an injured and strained Rodrigo...?

At that point in time when Benfica needed a goal.. we had our two leading goal getters on the bench...???????

Mastery in action.. now don't get me wrong a fit Hot Rod & Oli are a great combo.. of the Fast & the Furious variety but the fact is Cardozo is your leading scorer for a reason.. and he was not getting any service at that point.

Also Nolito coming on in the 80th when again we needed better service to the strikers to score.. ????

Javi & Witsel were both having rough games.. although Witsel did well in taking the penalty and late on had some great moments.

Anyways the overabundance of talent came through in the end.. and we got some timely plays at key moments.

A very good win for the very deserving Benfica fans..

This leaves it still all to play for... with the most consistent team being Braga who is in 3rd.. but with everything still to play for and Porto in the driving seat.. anymore JJ slip ups and the season will be over.

Also I had to address NJ's comments from another post where he mentioned Nolito was being sat as to not overshadow Gaitan in this selling campaign.. and if that is JJ's mentality than that is the reason we lose.. because clearly to sell players he has to leave his best on the bench that will not make for the best reults.

Unfortunately with this win he probably won't get fired at the end of the season.. which is really sad with some great managers not under contract. Some will say that is anti-Benfica talk that I should be more supportive but the truth is I want to see them win big. Losing.. and almost winning do nothing for me..

You know sometimes the best prescription is a good amputation/operatio.. if you have cancer to survice you might have to cut off a body part..

In JJ's case he is more like a painful cyst on the end of your big toe.. most of the times it does not bother you, but when youhave to dig in to do some hard work on those tough days or when you try to run and sprint into the lead in a race.. it is extremely painful causing you never to reach full speed, and to completely hobble to the finish line.

So the best thing is to cut off, that hairy ugly cyst.. so that you can finally feel the air rippling through your hair as you sprint past everyone and win the race, with the crowd sceaming in joy while you do your deserved victory lap still sprinting..

Anyways.. Benfica got a good result and the fans are happy.

What a great game.. full credit to Braga who have an amazing squad.. great manager, and great fans.. it was a pleasure to lock horns with them as they are a formidable TEAM.

We would love to see them fight for top spot till the end.. and are clearly a force to be reckoned with under Salvador.. who is a genius.. for years to come.

It takes two to make great games..

Looking forward to the big battles still coming.. should make for some great games.. with 4 great teams..
Adding to the LOL!
22 Sunday, 01 April 2012 16:48
When braga wins a liga title, then talk to me LOL!
Please save the excuses:)
21 Sunday, 01 April 2012 16:45
We are talking about the present right now Bryan! LOL! Your excuses are ridiculous, honestly. Please bring up new excuses, because your old ones don't have any affect anymore! LOL Benfica 2-1 nuff said LOOOOL! Now you shift your blame to the site, what's next? You going to start yaking your anger out on your mother for braga's loses? LOL!
@ Gary ,We're 2 points behind Benfica
20 Sunday, 01 April 2012 16:34
I hope Benfica loses to Sporting next week and then we'll talk Gary. Please, you think Benfica isn't corrupt?

Vieira was caught choosing refs illegally for games. However, Benfica fans play the victims of corruption when in reality Luis Felipe Vieira is a corrupt sob. Funny how your "Glorioso" is so big in Portugal and gets knocked down by Braga in europe last year.

Funny how everytime I try to post a link regarding Viera it gets deleted or blocked but Benfica fans on this site can post various links of Pinto Da Costa's escutas. Ok, that's fine though. It just shows how anti-democratic this site really is. From the looks of it on this post I'm not the only person complaining.
Penalty?
19 Sunday, 01 April 2012 16:08
Yes it was a penalty...but so was the one in favor of braga just seconds before. but no Benfica fan is complaining about that missed call. Porto are still in first and the way Sporting is playing in big games this year they will likely decide the title. Unfortunately for the happy people on this thread I just don't see Porto losing the title this year unless and I see a positive season for Benfica ending with a very bitter taste this year. Even worse than the one that is in the mouths of Sporting fans.
LOL!
18 Sunday, 01 April 2012 16:01
Bryan keeps trying to pull excuses out to make Benfica look corrupt. LOL! Braga lost plain and simple, what's even more sweeter than the victory, is Benfica halted Braga's "Streak" LOL! Couldn't even beat us this season LOOOOL!
LOL
17 Sunday, 01 April 2012 15:02
You mean Duart Gomes that has been selected to work European matches.
You guys are confused. Benfica is the tunnels and Porto is the refs (golden whistle).
LOL.

You guys are always good for a laugh.
No mention of Mossoro? He looked like a fish out of water.
The Penalty
16 Sunday, 01 April 2012 15:00
To Manny and Bryan:

it was a penalty. Not even the Braga team really had any arguments after the game about the call.

In fact Quim came out and said that during the game he had thought it was a bad call, but after the game he saw the replays and said the ref made the right decision by calling the penalty.

So there you have it. When a player agrees with a decision made against them it is most likely the right call, ehich in this game it was. People just be proud that you came to the Luz and made a good account of yourselves, battling right till the end. Be proud of what Braga have done this season and be proud of their will to never say never. That is a winning mentality. Braga can go on to do great things, but don't spoil the work they have done by trying to blame a loss on something that was not wrong.

Forca Benfica vamos para a luta pelo titulo.
Looking for the answer
15 Sunday, 01 April 2012 15:00
Looks like my comment on a previous article wasn't posted by our dear friends at portugoal(i wonder y)...did this victory take benfica into first place portugoal?
Really Manny?
14 Sunday, 01 April 2012 14:54
Over the years I have learned, mostly from watching EPL games, that you can really gauge what the players think about a penalty call from their actions and the degree of protest they give. Of course Elderson, as the culprit, rightly was going to shake his head and protest. But even he didnt argue vehemently. And nobody else on Braga did either. To me that was telling. When even the players dont argue that Elderson's foul was a penalty, its a penalty. Witsel huge again. Benfica was very wasteful with their chances, and were frustrated by the Braga defense, who played well.
After some of the gifts Porto has gotten this season, a Portista actually ha the nerve to complain about penalties? leave it to Manny-who I thought was a Sporting fan anyway...
LOL!
13 Sunday, 01 April 2012 14:04
2-1 Benfica! LOL!
LOFL
12 Sunday, 01 April 2012 13:47
come on that is a penalty are we serious here Benfica deserved to win Braga was all counter attack the whole game we deserved the three points and got them
@ Manny Vieira has a history of selecting refs for games
11 Sunday, 01 April 2012 12:45
He chose this one on the spot. Reminds me of Duarte Gomes
BTW
10 Sunday, 01 April 2012 11:55
More classy comments from our friend Manny/NJ (not!). How can a fan of Porto even mention referees and penalties? Give us all a break and stick to posting on Porto articles...all Benfica and Sporting fans would be well pleased lol!!!
Great result
9 Sunday, 01 April 2012 11:51
What a climax to the match, those last 15 minutes were breathtaking, and the fever and atmosphere inside the Luz was outstanding, deafening volume from some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. Both teams played their part, Braga did very well and confirmed themselves as clear title contenders, and whatever happens from now on end, they have had a terrific season and i applaud them.

Overall Benfica was the better team and was always chasing the 3 points, so deserved the win in the end. Braga knew a draw would be a good result for them and were real tough to break down. They must have one of the best defenses in Europe at the moment.

Benfica started real well for the fist 10 minutes or so, but then for the rest of the first half were dissapointing just as they were against Chelsea: dominating proceedings but not creating anything for Cardozo. I was having deja-vu's of the Chelsea match, neat passing and movement but no cutting edge into the box. Gaitan and Rodrigo were particularly disappointing and i was starting to hope for Nolito's introduction at halftime.

But the second half showing was much improved and we deserved to go into the lead. I thought it was a penalty, dangerous play from the Braga defender, and you just can't do that in your own box. But Braga showed so much spirit to equalise so quickly, and then i was thinking here we go, we've thrown away it all away again. Hats off to the boys to keep going right to the end and getting the winner. This is how championships are won, by giving everything right to the death.

I have utmost confidence in Bruno Cesar, he deserves to be starting in the team and almost always produces in the big matches. I thought he was outstanding in the champions league group stages, particularly in away matches (that alone shows his big match temperament), and again tonight came up with the goods, won the penalty and scored a fantastic winner (great assistance from Gaitan btw, all the watching scouts would've been super impressed!)

Capdevila, despite giving away the free-kick that led to Braga's goal, had a solid match. Exactly what you expect from his performances, nothing spectacular, but assured and dependable. Just what Benfica's defence needs, a bit of calmness and experience!! But what's the bet Emerson still goes straight back into the team against Chelsea lol!! This is the one issue JJ has got wrong all season long, we all agree on that.

There's still 5 games to play, but for sure now i am confident we can win the Liga. I think a draw with Sporting and winning the other 4 matches could be enough to take the title. Of course Porto and Braga have equally good shouts themselves, and it's a definite 3 horse race. But last night's result brings much relief to all Benfiquistas, because if we had failed to win, it would've been hard to see us ending up as champions. The pendulum might just have swung towards the Luz again with that priceless Cesar winner!! What an exciting end to the season we all have in store! Forca!!!
Better
8 Sunday, 01 April 2012 10:28
We finished well, but I understand if Braga fans feel they deserved a point. We controlled the ball, but Braga did have their chances on the counter.

Let's start by saying that we played better than vs Chelsea. We need to play patiently but aggressive at the same time. We can not sit back. We just don't do that well.
I've been a big fan of Cesar, but I thought overall he was poor yesterday. Big finish, but he could and has done better.

A couple of points where I disagree with the analysis?
On the play where Vitor came to the rescue, he initially screwed up. He chased the crossing player instead of releasing him and had to stop and tackle. Great last ditch move, but he should have been in front of the player from the beginning. If you're going to tell me Jardel would have done worse, ok.
I also thought that Capdevilla was bad. He has no pace or movement to help up top. All of his defending looks desperate. If your going to say its rust from not playing, I'll say that's got something to do with it. But, as a veteran he shouldn't be that poor in positioning. I say after watching him get beat time after time in training, JJ sat him. Emerson is far from perfect and is our weak link at the back, but the's the best we've got right now.

As for Braga fans, that was a penalty. You can't go through a guy in order to get the ball. He was late and even head butted Cesar before knocking him down.
If I was a Braga fan I would be more pissed at Mossoro's for all the flopping about (and then winking about it). He missed a clear header, that I admit would probably have won the game. A 1-0 lead for Braga would have been huge.
It was incredible how Braga once again showed its mental fortitude and game back. They are not out of it, and will be tough the rest of the way.
Well deserved win
7 Sunday, 01 April 2012 07:01
What a finish to a game, i'm happy that were holding onto the CL qualification spot. Bruno Cesar didn't impress me vs Chelsea in fact no player did but he sure made up for it against Braga. Now that Braga is done with we got the biggest challenge on Wednesday and I hope Benfica advances for Portugal!
ahh the stadium!
6 Sunday, 01 April 2012 04:22
I LOVE it when the stadium chants: SLB, SLB, SLB SLB SLB, GLORIOSO, SLB, GLORIOSO SLB!! VIVA BENFICA! :D
Haha
5 Sunday, 01 April 2012 02:35
Looks like JJ finally made the right subs.. and I bet he does not even realize it.
What an embarrassment
4 Sunday, 01 April 2012 02:30
I'm disgusted Porto even have to play in the same league as these cheating pigs. That penalty was such an obvious dive Cesar should be banned a few matches. No professional ref would make that call without being paid off.

Braga deserved better than that for there efforts.
Sweet Victory!
3 Sunday, 01 April 2012 02:21
What's the excuse now, Bryan? ;)
Exciting game
2 Sunday, 01 April 2012 01:43
What was the ball possession percentages? It seemed to me Braga played a defensive/counter attack style game. I thought the referee did well to let the players play. Any updates on Vitor's injury?
Massive win!
1 Sunday, 01 April 2012 00:49
What a fantastic end to the game for Benfica. I know that Benfica haters will complain about the penalty, but anyone who watched the game could tell that Benfica deserved to win. Throughout the first half, Benfica controlled the possession, but they lacked the killer ball in the final third.

In the second, Benfica upped the tempo, and deservedly scored 2 goals against an organized Braga side. I was very happy to see Capdevila and Miguel Vitor start the match. Capdevila is no Coentrao, but he is much better than Emerson. Miguel Vitor was having an excellent game, but his injury looked pretty bad. I hope he'll be fit this wednesday since he's definitely better than Jardel.

Witsel wasn't quite at his best, but he came up with a clutch penalty. Gaitan, who I've criticized all season long, had a pretty good game, and his assist for Cesar was brilliant. Bruno Cesar can be a little frustrating too watch at times, but like Witsel, he came up in the clutch and scored a massive goal.

Cardozo and Rodrigo both had poor games. It seems like Rodrigo is more comfortable when playing as a lone striker while Cardozo plays best with either Aimar or Nelson Oliveira supporting him.

The next few games are going to be intense, but after looking at the schedule, I'd say that Benfica have a great chance of winning. They have to play Sporting away and Maritimo at home. Porto have Braga away, Maritimo away, and Sporting at home. Braga have Porto at home and Sporting away.

What a fantastic end to the season!

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