From the home of Mourinho, Ronaldo and Xavier
Last weekend saw five matches of the Last 16 of the Portuguese Cup,
while Benfica and Braga, who had seen their Last 32 match postponed,
played for the right to face Olhanense in the next stage.
RESULTS Last 32 Benfica 2-0 Braga Last 16 FC
Porto 4-0 Juventude Evora, Vitoria Setubal 2-1 Sporting, Rio Ave 4-1
Atlético, Vitoria Guimaraes 2-0 Torreense, Leixoes 1-1 Pinhalnovense
hosted minnows Juventude de Evora and claimed a comfortable 4-0 win to
advance to the quarterfinals of the competition. Manager André
Villas-Boas decided it was a good time to give the Colombian ‘whizkid’
a chance to shine, and the former Banfield starlet was lively
throughout the match.
The superb curling cross for his fellow
countryman Radamel Falcao in the first goal may just well be the first
sign that ‘El Bandido’ (or ‘The Bandit’ as he’s known) is about to
steal the Porto faithful’s hearts; Rodriguez’s display pleased his
manager who already declared the winger would be starting against CSKA
Sofia for the Europa League.
Porto manager had warned against complacency prior the match, and the
team responded with a professional display against the third-tier side.
Retaining six of the usual suspects in the starting XI, Villas-Boas
extended his impressive unbeaten streak to 24 matches, helping the club
break a record previously set by none other than Jose Mourinho (The
Real Madrid manager had a run of 33 matches without loss during hi
spell in charge of the Dragons, but Jesualdo Ferreira’s 10 at the end
of last season and Villas-Boas’s 24 this term have now topped that).
Portuguese newspapers hailed Saviola’s performance against Braga, but
the Argentinean was anonymous for large periods of the match. On the
other hand, Julio Cesar, Benfica’s Europa League goalkeeper last
season, proved he’s more than a mere back-up for number one Roberto
The 24-year old Brazilian custodian, whose hair
appears to have travelled forward through time from the 1990s, didn’t
have the busiest of nights, but was up to the task every time he was
His amazing save minutes before the end of the
crucial match summed up what manager Jorge Jesus wanted earlier this
season: a goalkeeper who could win a match. But will his performance
give Jesus food for thought?
coach Paulo Bento was closely monitoring the match between Braga and
Benfica from the stands, and he’ll be very pleased with the development
of Braga full-back Sílvio, who is maturing into a well-rounded
The former Rio Ave player dealt with Gaitan and
Coentrao and was not afraid to venture himself into offensive
manoeuvres as well.
The Portugeezer’s tip of the hat though
goes to Guilherme, the young Brazilian left-back who looks the mirror
image of Rafael da Silva (or is it Fabio?). Not long ago, he was
playing for Braga’s feeder club Vizela, but due to his ability to fill
a variety of roles he was called back.
While Guilherme adopted a
generally conservative approach – his natural position is left
midfielder after all – his effort at the back and overall performance
hint at a very bright future.
a man who has professed his love for Sporting so many times, he would
marry surely them if such a thing was legal in Portugal…
Unfortunately for the Lions, he was able to keep his feelings in check
and steer current club Setúbal to a famous 2-1 win against a largely
full-strength Sporting side.
Ney Santos opened the scoring in the
29th minute, before Zeca doubled the lead five minutes later to mute
the Lions’s roars. After the break, Setubal focused on defence and an
organized performance kept Sporting at bay with the exception of
Liedson’s flabbergasting goal (below). Kudos to Fernandes and Setubal,
who are just two matches away from Jamor!
the second year in a row, this little club from the third division has
managed to reach the quarterfinals of the competition, which is a huge
achievement in itself. They beat Leixoes on penalties and will hope
their happy-go-lucky approach helps to extend their dream just a little
bit longer. The competition would welcome that for sure…
up to their ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ pattern, Sporting produced a very bland
performance and were outsmarted by a resilient Setubal side.
Manager Paulo Sérgio fielded his preferred starting XI in order
to guarantee a win, but the loss means no end of season cup glory, and
heaps more pressure on the coach.
Two questions should be
answered as soon as possible: Are Postiga and Liedson good enough to
start? And is a good showing in the Europa League a goal ambitious
enough for the club?
Playing at Estadio da Luz
is never an easy task, but Benfica have been sloppy this season and
have already suffered home defeats to sides weaker than Braga. The
Eagles eventually claimed a 2-0 success but it felt the success was
down more to Braga’s lethargic display rather than Benfica’s
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