Thursday, February 29, 2024

Benfica lose first leg of Taca to city rivals Sporting

Benfica Blog
Benfica took until the second half and the 65th minute of the game to actually wake up as Sporting controlled the game handily up, until that point. It took an Aursnes strike to cut the club's deficit in half to 2-1 before the club started to make the hosts sweat for the final 35 minutes of the game.

That would be the only marker that Benfica would get on this night, as they would go down to their cross town rivals in the first leg of their Taca de Portugal semi-final encounter, with the second leg set to take place at the Luz in early April.

The game did not end without its controversies as Benfica had an Angel di Maria equalizer waived off when the officials ruled that striker Tengstedt was in an offside position and hampered the keepers chance to stop Di Maria's shot even though he had no part in the build up to the play. 

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt decided to go with a false nine once again, but it would have the opposite effect he was hoping, instead nullifying Rafa Silva up front and the club looked much better with the entrance of striker Tengstedt in the 61st minute.

Benfica will not have much time to dwell on the contest as they get set to travel north to Dragao to take on FC Porto in the O Classico in league action on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Angel di Maria to have Netflix special

Benfica Blog
Angel di Maria will be the next football star to have his own documentary on streaming giant Netflix. Di Maria's documentary is said to be set for release later this year or in early 2025. Filming has already started in Rosario, Argentina. With actors set to play many of the characters in the documentary, including Di Maria's mother and siblings.

Di Maria will provide his voice to the memories of him working in a charcoal factory along side his father and when his mother took him to training on a bicycle in the heavy rain. The Di Maria special looks to immortalize a player who has a knack for scoring big goals in many finals for his nation, from the Under 20 World Cup win in 2007 to the World Cup victory in 2022. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Benfica next opponents in Europa League will be Rangers

Benfica Blog
Benfica learned their round of 16 Europa League opponents earlier today when they were drawn against Scottish side Rangers. The two legged affair will start off at the Estadio da Luz on March 7th, with the return leg at Ibrox one week later, on the 14th.

The two clubs are no strangers in the Europa League, having been paired together during the 2020-21 group stage. The club's played a pair of very entertaining games during the competition, both ending in draws, 2-2 and 3-3, respectively. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Benfica escape France with a draw to advance in Europa League

Benfica Blog
Benfica have advanced to the round of 16 in the Europa League after a scoreless draw in France against Toulouse. Benfica held off the determined French side in the second half to maintain a clean sheet in their second leg encounter, thanks in part to a star performance by stud keeper Anatoliy Trubin. The draw was enough to move on after a 2-1 home victory just a week ago.

Benfica missed a host of chances in the first half to open the scoring and extend their aggregate lead, but sat back in the second half and it almost proved costly. Overall, it was another poor performance by the club over a full 90 minutes and they will need to bring their game to a different level if they hope to continue to move forward in the competition.

Benfica will find out their opponents tomorrow, with the draw taking place in Nyon, Switzerland. Benfica's potential opponent will be one of West Ham, Bayer Leverkusen, Liverpool, Atalanta, Brighton, Villarreal, Slavia Prague or Rangers. 

In other action involving Portuguese clubs, Sporting will join Benfica in the round of 16 after advancing 4-2 on aggregate over Young Boys. While Braga were eliminated after a second leg victory, in a game that went into additional extra time. Qarabag scored an injury time goal just a couple of minutes before the club's were set to head to penalties, to win the aggregate 6-5.


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.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Benfica ready themselves to face Toulouse in Europa League

Benfica Blog
Benfica are readying themselves to host French side Toulouse in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 playoff tomorrow, as the club looks for a victory to kick off their return to the Europa League after missing out on the Champions League round of 16.

Benfica will be looking to take advantage of the first leg at home before traveling to France for the second leg next Thursday. Benfica last appeared in the Europa League during the 2020-21 season, where the club was eliminated at this same stage of the competition by Arsenal.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Orkun Kokcu slowing turning into a bust signing

Benfica Blog

The season is over 60% complete and big summer signing Orkun Kokcu, who just last season was named the Eredivisie's most valuable player, is still trying to find his footing in the Primeira Liga.

The Turkish midfielder has struggled more times than not this season, with some flashes of brilliance and fans are hoping that a player for whom the club paid a near record fee of €25M to arrive from Feyenoord does not turn into the club's all time bust signing.

The 23 year old has appeared in 27 contests across all competitions, scoring twice while providing seven helpers in 1,824 minutes of action, but Kokcu has failed to dominate games on most nights and leaves fans shaking their heads with his wayward performances.

Kokcu will need to learn to become a more sturdy midfielder if he is to succeed at the club and luckily for him and us, he still has four plus seasons to show us if he is the player the club thought they were getting or if he is to become the club's all time bust signing. Only time will answer that question.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Arthur Cabral finds the net more since arrival of Leonardo

Benfica Blog
It may not be a coincidence that Arthur Cabral's best football since his arrival at Benfica has coincided with the arrival of 20 year old striker Marcos Leonardo during the winter transfer window.

Cabral has scored in three consecutive games across all competitions, just one shy of his season total before this run and it looks like he is finally rounding into the player the club expected when they paid €20M for his arrival from Fiorentina in the summer.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt feels that Cabral has started to succeed because of an adjustment to his playing style, which is starting to mesh with his Benfica teammates. The striker is now playing a more flexible style and is seeing results because of it.

Cabral's under study Marcos Leonardo has found the net three times in limited playing time and Cabral no doubt knows that his minutes will vanish quickly if his early season form creeps back in.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Benfica travel to Vizela for quarter-final Taca game

Benfica Blog

Benfica head up to Vizela to face off in a quarter-final encounter of the Taca de Portugal tomorrow evening, a victory by the Lisbon club will see them move into the semi-finals and face their cross town rivals Sporting in a two legged affair for a spot in the Finals.

Benfica last captured the Taca de Portugal back in 2017 but have not made it further then the quarter-final stage in the past two editions of the tournament. Look for Benfica to go with their regular starting XI which has become a staple of Roger Schmidt's coaching campaign with the club.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Did Benfica say Yes to the Super League?

Benfica Blog
According to Barcelona President Joao Laporta, Benfica is one of the clubs that is open to joining a newly created European Super League that will look to challenge UEFA's Champions League as the premier soccer club competition in Europe.

Laporta spoke to Spanish radio station RAC1 late last week and was optimistic that the Super League would get off the ground in the next year or two and named Benfica as one of three Portuguese clubs, with Sporting and FC Porto the others.

Benfica have not commented on Laporta's remarks at this time and it is unknown if they actually will. We can clearly see what could have Benfica interested in joining the breakaway league and that is money, loads and loads of money being promised to clubs by the league's organizers.

Will the Super League happen? That is a great question, but with only Barcelona and Real Madrid committing to the league, we are a long way from knowing what that answer might be.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Trubin's stay at Benfica could be short lived

Benfica Blog
Benfica keeper Anatoliy Trubin appeared on a You Tube podcast, where he was interviewed by blogger Povoroznyuk Dmytro and stated his desire to join the Premiership one day. 

Trubin was very complimentary of Benfica during the interview and has enjoyed his time with the club since joining this past summer. Trubin's agent added that he plans to keep an eye on the Premiership when the summer transfer window opens, fueling speculation that the keeper could be on the move sooner rather than later.

Trubin arrived in Lisbon from Shakhtar Donetsk for €10M and became the club's regular starter by Week 5 of the season. Benfica have cashed in on a variety of keepers over the years, with the likes of Jan Oblak and Ederson once donning the Eagles red jersey.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Benfica ins and outs during the winter transfer window

Benfica Blog
The winter transfer window in most of the world has now officially closed, but Portugal still has one day remaining in their window. A host of smaller leagues do remain open a bit longer, but the big name leagues have all officially closed their doors to player additions until the summer.

Benfica had a busy window, with a bunch of players arriving and departing during the window. Benfica's biggest addition during the winter window was the acquisition of striker Marcus Leonardo, who arrived from Santos and cost the club €18M. Their biggest subtraction was the departure of striker Petar Musa to FC Dallas for €10M up front, with some potential add-ons down the road.

Here is a look at the comings and goings for Benfica during the winter transfer window:



Marcos Leonardo - €18M fee from Santos

Gianluca Prestianni - €9M fee from Velez Sarsfield

Benjamin Rollheiser - Loan with mandatory buy €9.5M from Estudiantes

Alvaro Fernandez - Loan from Manchester United



Petar Musa - €10M fee to FC Dallas

Lucas Verissimo - €9M fee to Al-Duhail

Joao Victor - €6M fee to Vasco da Gama

Chiquinho - €1M fee to Olympiacos

Gabriel Pires - Free Transfer to Fluminense

David Jurasek - Loan to Hoffenheim

Goncalo Guedes - Loan ended by Wolverhampton