Porto vs Benfica – Liga Sagres
November 7, 2010 ás 2:28
Pick: Porto @ 1.83 in Bet365 / Result: (5-0)
Next Sunday FC Porto hosts Benfica in the much-awaited clash between the leader and the second in the portuguese league standings. Instead of last year’s match in the Dragon Stadium (Estádio do Dragão), where Benfica came at the 28th day as an announced champion with 11-point lead over FC Porto (then third classified) and 5 points over Braga (second in the table) only two days before the league’s end, now the positions are reversed and FCPorto leads with seven points ahead.
In case of victory, FC Porto will increase to 10 points their lead over second place. If victory goes to Benfica, they will reduce the distance to 4 points and relaunches the fight for the leadership.
FC Porto has the clear advantage of playing at home, but also has the disadvantage of having less than 48 hours to rest than it’s rival. But these matches are of very particular characteristics, there is no doubt that there will be strength and motivation enough to the players fight hard to win this match and give the team their fifth title in six years.
FC Porto today began preparing the classic after the home draw with Besiktas, and it seems that they have the whole squad available. The only doubt is Fernando, who was injured in the “pool” in front of the Academica Coimbra. The defensive midfielder remains on the sidelines of his companions, just doing conditioned training, and gym but should recover for Sunday.
After saving some key players against Besiktas, Villas-Boas maintains the goalkeeper Helton, who had shown great presence, good defenses, but this match with the Turks had two throws that could have being unfortunate, one of them an epic strike over him. On defense the only doubt for me is the entry of Sapunaru in the eleven, or maintaining Fucile. The Uruguayan is still “not present” after the World Cup, has been nervous in poor shape, and gives more turnovers because he’s a more venturous player. This is exactly what differentiates it from Sapunaru, the Romanian plays for sure, if necessary does not pass the midfield line throughout the game, and it gives some safety to the defense in the right flank but loses sharpening in the ofensive, which is disguised the individuality of Hulk. Now the coach will have to opt between the more defensive Sapunaru, or the offensive tenacity and penchant of Fucile who is in poor shape and has accumulated errors in almost every game. I think against an opponent’s such as the champion Benfica, he will opt for the first one. Amid the more experienced duo, Rolando and Maicon should remain, they to the job without being stars, they have good head skills, remarkable speed (especially Maicon), and under pressure they also know how to send the ball into the bushes. In their area will be Kardec and Saviola.
The back half returns “octopus” Fernando, this time guarded by Moutinho who covers more ground, and when you have the opportunity to venture further imbalances in attempted attacks, now that is loose from the shackles of Prof. Jesualdo tactics. The other key piece is Joao Moutinho, there is hardly a player in the league with more hunger for the ball, he switched from Sporting to Porto and has everything to prove. The former Lion will defend and attack, will retrieve balls and dribbling, cutting lines will pass and give depth to the attack. With this duplicity, the pendulum is balanced team, helps to defend Fernando, and complements the 3rd man from midfield, Bellushi in switching to the attack. After this experience with Prof. Jesualdo where he played always without pressure, seems to have found its rhythm, and with the change of coach has won more of that. Appears more confident and is more a spear pointed at the opposing goal as well to reach completion, and is strong on set pieces.
The front trio needs no introduction, are not the best in the world but mess about. Varela despite the ups and downs is a complete advanced and dangerous, and started the season in the Supercup against Benfica, but walked half gone back to goals, and scored a beautiful goal that gave the victory in the final game. Hulk looks other, to the power and quality you knew that already seems to have joined a selfless spirit and teamwork is the best scorer of the team and the league and should find that you have to adjust accounts with Benfica after the case that dictated its suspension in last season. Closes with Falcão, the man who may not be great to score penaltys, but scores of any form and shape, has a great, know how to cast their colleagues when he plays with his back to goal, and although not very high scores goals head to great effect.
Porto starters: Helton, Sapunaru, Rolando, Maicon, Alvaro Pereira, Fernando, Moutinho, Belluschi, Varela, Hulk and Falcão.
Still no official call but two days before the classic Jesus is still without Pablo Aimar, who is recovering from a stomach flu that kept him at the last minute, the match of the Champions League on Tuesday, with the Olympique Lyon, but the Argentinian must recover in time for departure. Cardozo is already great downtown that holds the recovery from a sprained left knee and should stay out. Returning can be Ruben Amorim who, though still under medical supervision, he trained with the squad.
Against that background, Roberto that after a rocky start seemed to have found a good way back to “open the book” against Lyon especially in the 3rd goal should remain on Benfica’s goal, we’ll keep the level that had been showing or if these mistakes in the environment of the Dragon Stadium takes its toll. In the rest of the defense there is no doubt, wings, Maxi has no competition, is exuberant Coentrao has half of Europe behind him, and now even scores goals to lift off stadiums, the potential was recognized but now seems much more mature and secure. Both have great offensive tendency, but this must be tempered because the opponent has very strong wings, Varela and Hulk in great shape and only have the support of an average root coverage and Javi Garcia can not be everywhere , and despite struggling Carlos Martins, Aimar or are not helpful. The stacks David Luiz and Luisão close the center. About this there is nothing to say, the central duo is not afraid to play ugly to clear its zone of action, is very strong in the air, and lack of speed is compensated by Luisão David Luiz raids that despite the huge potential appears to be too bloated with ego and sometimes finds himself as “Beckenbauer” and eventually be beaten. However raided up well in attack and creates imbalances in the opponent when it decides to rip off the field.
Hawk will have the leg, the fast movements, and forays to the center of the Hulk and Varela. In the middle of the quartet should be expected, formed by Javi Garcia goes up, Carlos Martins, who always delivers everything, these two who will give the body the bullets in the fight for the midfield, leaving the building for Aimar and Gaitan. As I mentioned here I think an important point may lie in the decision of the match, referring to the lack of such support, because Carlos Martins which I think is the strongest man of the midfield, but look around and see Javi Garcia, orphan Ramirez does not seem the same, should occupy the area well ahead of the core without much freedom, and then Aimar is an artist and not a pick, Gaitan is still a novice in these “partidaços,” and if it fails again Aimar, enter Amorim after such absence? Or Salvio? Unless Jesus to crash his attacking philosophy and bet on the Airton eleven for a midfield more muscular and tight. In the attack the most notable absentee, with the bomber outside Cardozo, enters the young killer Kardec, with good moves and game Areo well marked, but without the weight of Tacuara set-pieces. The pair should be closed by Saviola, undeniable quality player, capable of solving a starting bid of a genius but that still does not seem to have found the form that triggered last season. However, any ball that arise in their area of action runs a great risk of ending up in goal, either by their undoubted class, that it is easy to uproot faults dangerous to the opponent.
Benfica starters: Roberto, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, David Luiz,Fábio Coentrão, Javi García, Carlos Martins, Pablo Aimar e Nicolás Gaitán, Saviola e Alan Kardec
Despite the recent record in all competitions between the two teams to be quite fierce, with two wins for Benfica to the championship at 3-0 in the Stadium of Light (Estádio da Luz) and the clear win at the Carlsbelrg Cup, and two for FC Porto in the final match held the Dragon and it’s final season in the Supercup, the overall balance in the games at their stadium FCPorto has a huge lead.
In conclusion, is undoubtedly a game of triple between two coaches with very different past, one is a great motivator and knowledgeable of Portuguese football with many years of experience, the other is a kid with great determination and desire to show work. The FC Porto is moralized in 1st place and will give everything to beat the rival and take an important step towards the title. It has the disadvantage of the rest time to face Benfica, but it will have on your side a stadium full support team. If on one side Benfica has a stronger defense and routinized, I think the midfield of FC Porto is safer, and galvanized by the environment is capable of winning the game and there lay the dangerous weapons that have in the attack. I’ll bet on FC Porto to win the match.