Sunday, March 31, 2024

Benfica in for a tough next two weeks

Benfica Blog
The season could all be decided for Benfica over the next two weeks as the club gets set for a series of important contests. The first happening in two days time as they host Sporting in the second leg of the Taca de Portugal semi-final, a contest they go into down 2-1 after the first leg and needing a victory to remain in the competition.

Benfica and Sporting will then do it all over again on Saturday in league action, this time at the Alvalade, where a win by Sporting could all but decide this season's Portuguese League champions. Benfica will then top off this intense schedule, when they host French side Marseille at the Luz in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final next Thursday.

These next two weeks are vital for Benfica's season, as they could be all in or all out after they are done, as the current football season winds down to its conclusion.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Benfica need to drop Di Maria if they are to win title

Benfica Blog
In another time, the Angel di Maria signing would have been a coup by a Portuguese club, but in 2024, the signing is looking more and more like a waste of resources as Benfica continue to struggle to develop play when the 36 year old Argentinian is on the field.

Di Maria's pace of play looks more suitable to be applied in North America's Major League Soccer or the Saudi Pro League, but in the Portuguese League it is too slow and at many times, proves costly in the Eagles developing a fast attacking pace. A club of Benfica's stature can not continue to struggle to find the goal against the minnows of the world but this is what we are witnessing regularly with this slow build up.

Now, this is not to say that Di Maria has not had his share of brilliant moments this season; he has, but for a club that continues to funnel an attack constantly through him when he is on the field, more often than not, that attack has often stalled. This cannot continue if Benfica has any hopes of capturing the Portuguese League title when the season wraps.

With a pair of big games coming up against league leaders Sporting over the next eight days. The club's title hopes could be all but over come next Saturday. Benfica travels to Alvalade on April 6th, needing a win in league action to close the gap on Sporting, but before that, they will host their crosstown rivals at the Luz in the second leg of the Taca de Portugal semi-final, in which they go in trailing after the first leg 2-1.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt is also at fault in this disorganized bunch with his constant insistence on playing players out of positions they are most comfortable in to succeed, but here is hoping that maybe, just maybe, he sees what we all can see when Di Maria is on the pitch, but knowing the German.... he seems more the willing to go down with the sinking ship. Let's see how it all plays out


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Benfica to return to action on Holy Day

Benfica Blog
Benfica will host Chaves on Good Friday as the club goes into the final stretch of the season looking to capture the Portuguese league title for the second consecutive season. Benfica has eight contests left and trails league leaders Sporting by one point, although their club rival has a game in hand and could stretch the lead to four points.

Benfica will travel to Alvalade to take on Sporting in a Week 28 clash that could all but decide this season's champion. A victory by Benfica could go  a long way in putting pressure on Sporting, which will still need to face nemesis FC Porto at the Dragao at the end of next month. Benfica are also still alive in the Europa League, so they will have more games on the docket than their competitors.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Taarabt says he and Vitoria were not fond of one another

Benfica Blog
Former Benfica midfielder Adel Taarabt, who is currently in the UAE playing for Al-Nasr, recalled his time at the club during a recent interview with the national news in the UAE. Taarabt admitted that he had no interest in joining Benfica at first, but it was the insistence of former club President Luis Felipa Vieira, who offered Taarabt a five year contract after spending four hours with the midfielder, that changed his mind.

Taarabt, who is now 34 years old, also mentioned his cold relationship with former Benfica coach Rui Vitoria, stating that the two were not fond of one another during their time together, which all started in the summer of 2015 when the Moroccan international arrived at Vitoria's first camp in charge 17 pounds overweight. 

The former Benfica bench boss went on to punish Taarabt by not giving him a minute of playing time during his first camp at the club and went as far as not even saying good morning. Taarabt's career at Benfica did get better as he went on to appear in 129 contests for the club across all competitions, scoring twice while providing fourteen helpers.


Friday, March 22, 2024

Benfica with eyes on Famalicao midfielder

Benfica Blog
Benfica are one of the various clubs with their eyes set on Portugal U21 attacking midfielder Gustavo Sa, who currently applies his trade with Famalicao in the Portuguese League. Famalicao is said to not have been approached by any club for the services of the 19 year old, but according to reports out of Portugal but, this should change as the summer transfer window closes in.

Sa has come up through Famalicao's youth system since joining at the age of 14 and made his senior debut last season with the northern Portugal club. Sa has appeared in 24 games across all competitions this season, scoring three goals while also providing three helpers.

Famalicao is a financially healthy club and holds all the cards in negotiations with Sa signed until the summer of 2027. Benfica will have to fight off league rivals FC Porto for Sa's signature, while clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Stuttgart have also been linked to the midfielder.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Alexander Bah released by Denmark with injury

Benfica Blog
Benfica right back Alexander Bah has been released from national team duty for Denmark due to a minor injury. Bah started this weekend's contest against Casa Pia and was substituted in the 89th minute of the game, but no mention of the often injured right back was made at that time.

Bah has appeared in twenty-four contests with the club this season across all competitions but has missed a host of contests due to a foot injury that sidelined him for three months. Bah also missed a bunch of games last season as his trips to the club's infirmary room increases and Benfica will hope the latest knock is not serious as the club fights for the league title.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Kokcu under fire for unauthorized interview

Benfica Blog
Orkun Kokcu's season has not gone very well at Benfica since his arrival in the summer, other than some moments of brilliance, the Turkish international has had his fair share of disappointing performances throughout the season.

Now the 23 year old finds himself in hot water with the club, thanks to an unauthorized interview given with a Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, in which he talks about his difficult season at Benfica and criticizes coach Roger Schmidt's usage of the player when he is positioned out on the field.

Kokcu did not say in the interview that he wants to depart the club and would like to succeed while at Benfica, but he hopes Roger Schmidt uses him properly on the field, so that he can provide the quality he feels he has yet to show to the club and prove to the fans that the highest signing in club history is not actually a bust.

The club has been silent on the interview to date, with only manager Roger Schmidt acknowledging the outburst in an pre-game interview and remarking that he will speak to the player privately. Disciplinary action is expected against Kokcu by the club for breaking club protocols, which could amount to a suspension or fine for his actions.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Benfica advance in Europa and find out next opponents

Benfica Blog
Benfica pulled out a victory yesterday over Rangers 1-0 in their second leg Europa League round of 16 game at Ibrox in Glasgow to advance 3-2 on aggregate and move into the final eight of the competition. In what turned into a sloppy affair, thanks to a constant downpour of rain, a second half Rafa Silva goal was the difference as the club moved one step closer to the final in Dublin.

The club learned just a few hours ago that their next round opponent will be French club Marseille, who have turned their game around after a managerial change over the past few weeks. The first leg will go on April 11 at the Estadio da Luz, with the second a week later in Marseille at the Velodrome. The winner of this contest will take on the winner of Liverpool or Atalanta in the semi-finals of the competition.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Benfica's Rafa Silva named player of the month for February

Benfica Blog
Benfica forward Rafa Silva has been named the Portuguese League player of the month for February in a distinction promoted by the players union, after scoring five goals, while setting up an additional two in four games of action.

Rafa is the first Benfica player to win the award this season, as Sporting striker Viktor Gyokeres has dominated the award all season long since arriving in the summer at the club's green and white rivals.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Benfica continue defensive struggles in disappointing home draw

Benfica Blog
Benfica were the better club on the night in a draw in their first leg encounter against Scottish side Rangers at the Estadio da Luz, but the club will be disappointed once again with their defensive struggles, which has seen the club allow nine goals in their past three competitive games.

Benfica will now travel to Glasgow to take on the Rangers in the second leg of this round of 16 match, hoping that lady luck shines on them and not on Rangers keeper Butland, who made numerous sensational stops on the night preventing Benfica from scoring four or five in this game.

Instead, Benfica trailed the game twice and needed an own goal in the second half to get level. Benfica are hoping for a strong performance this weekend in league action when they host Estoril before traveling to Scotland for the second leg against Rangers on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Roger Schmidt feeling the heat at Benfica

Benfica Blog
Roger Schmidt could not have had a worse past week on the Benfica sidelines, falling to both of the club's bitter rivals. Benfica lost the first leg to Sporting in the Taca de Portugal semi-final 2-1 midweek, before traveling to take on FC Porto in a league game, where they were handily outplayed in a 5-0 thumping in the always intense O Classico.

Making matters worse, Schmidt did not feel that he needed to apologize to the club's fans for the pathetic display by the club against FC Porto. The loss cost the club the top spot in the league. What has been very infuriating to fans is Schmidt's constant insistence on playing players out of position, especially in the right back and left back spots.

Benfica are in the process of preparing for this weeks Europa League first leg at the Estadio da Luz against Scottish club Rangers in what could turn into a very hostile environment for the club if the Rangers score first. There is no doubt that fans will enter the stadium with their white handkerchiefs, with many wanting the head of the German manager on a platter.

Benfica President Rui Costa knows the heat is on his club and he may have no choice but to part ways with Schmidt after signing him to a two year extension prematurely, half way through last season. Benfica fans are not only expecting a victory on Thursday, but a convincing win, as a Benfica exit in the Europa League could prove fatal to Schmidt and his time at the club.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Benfica land first reinforcement for next season

Benfica Blog
Benfica have made their first signing for next season and it did not cost them a cent in transfer fees, as according to reports out of Portugal, the club have put pen to paper with the acquisition of Mainz midfielder Leonardo Barreiro.

The midfielder went through medical examinations in Germany and it is being reported that the contract he and the club signed will be for five seasons. The 24 year old is a Luxembourg international and has been with Mainz since the summer of 2017.

Barreiro should fit nicely into Roger Schmidt's system, as he is considered a box to box midfielder with a strong tactical culture. Barreiro has appeared in 142 games for Mainz across all competitions, scoring nine goals while setting up eleven.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Benfica travel to Dragao to take on FC Porto in O Classico

Benfica Blog

The rivalry between Benfica and FC Porto is one of the most intense in Portuguese football, with matches between the two teams always highly anticipated. This weekend, Benfica will travel to the Estadio do Dragao on Sunday to face their arch-rivals in a crucial league game.

Known as O Classico, this match is not just about three points, but also about pride and bragging rights. Both teams have a long history of success and passionate fan bases, making every encounter between them a spectacle no matter where they are in the standings.

Benfica will be looking to secure a victory on Porto's home turf to remain atop the league. However, FC Porto will be determined to defend their fortress and close the gap on top spot, while maintaining their hold on third spot.

As the players take to the field, emotions will run high and every moment will be filled with tension and excitement. The outcome of this match could have far-reaching implications for both teams' seasons. It promises to be a thrilling clash that fans won't want to miss.