Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Benfica travel to France looking to advance in Europa League

Benfica Blog
Benfica get set to travel to France to take on Toulouse in their second leg of the round of 32 Europa League encounter on Thursday as the club arrives in town holding a 2-1 advantage after last week's home victory at the Estadio da Luz.

Benfica are coming off a sparkling performance in league action that saw the club defeat Vizela 6-1, as Roger Schmidt decided to finally rest some of his regular starters with six changes to the starting XI that played last Thursday against Toulouse.

A Benfica victory or draw will move the Eagles into the round of 16 and with the away goal rule removed by UEFA, a one goal loss would see the two clubs go into additional time.

Benfica are hoping that their finishing in this game will mirror their league performance Sunday and not the Thursday performance against the French club, which saw the club fail to capitalize on a host of chances at the Luz. 

The game will kick off at 5:45pm WEST

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Angola approach Benfica midfielder Florentino to join nation

Benfica Blog
Angola's football federation has made an approach towards Benfica midfielder Florentino Luis about playing international football for the African nation that his ancestors are from and turning away from Portugal, a country he has called home since his birth, growing up in Sintra, a district of Lisbon.

Florentino has appeared for Portugal at every youth level since making his first appearance with the nation's under 15 squad and at 24 years old, he still holds the dream of donning the Selecao jersey at the senior level in his heart.

This is not the first approach by Angola towards Florentino, but the answer they have received from the player has always been the same. The gifted defensive midfielder, who first honed his skills playing futsal, joined Benfica's academy in 2010 at the tender age of 10.

Here is hoping that Portugal manager Roberto Martinez recognizes the play of Florentino sooner rather than later in his next round of selections, as the feisty midfielder has deserved a call up for some time now. Angola has already noticed.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Benfica edge Toulouse in first leg Europa League action

Benfica Blog
Angel di Maria converted his second penalty of the second half, eight minutes into injury time, to hand Benfica a 2-1 first leg victory over French side Toulouse. Benfica were the better club on the night, but Toulouse almost escaped the Estadio da Luz with a draw due to the Lisbon club's failure to convert a host of chances.

Benfica fired 27 total shots on goal, which was more than quadruple the attempts Toulouse managed, but they had to wait until they were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute after Toulouse defender Logan Costa handled the ball with his hand. Angel di Maria converted from the spot with a kick down the middle of the net.

Toulouse would equalize the game just seven minutes later when a chaotic ping pong type of exchange saw the ball land on the foot of right back Mikkel Desler who slid it past Benfica keeper Trubin. Benfica pressed forward, looking to regain the lead, but had to wait until a foul in the box saw defender Mawissa step on striker Marcos Leonardo's foot as the 20 year old attempted a shot on goal.

The two clubs will face off again in the second leg of the encounter in France next Thursday, where Benfica will hope to play to the same level as they did on this night but some minor tweaks should be looked at with the club looking to advance to the round of 16.

In other results involving Portuguese League clubs, Sporting defeated Young Boys 3-1 while Braga lost to Qarabag 4-2.