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    (Original post by aa22)
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    Another disappointing weekend for us. Credit to Guimarães for coming back but we shouldn't have allowed that to happen. We were 2-0 up and comfortable only for them to grab an important goal before HT.

    Abdoulaye gives me those nerves that Rolando used to give me. He just never looks comfortable when he's on the ball and then he tries to do too many tricks and rubbish when you would rather he just booted the ball away. I would have loved to see Diego Reyes get a chance since Ota left, and more so now with Mangala out for a couple more games. There must be something behind closed doors with Paulo Fonseca not keen to be giving Reyes or Quintero a bit more of a chance. Same with Kelvin. I see he kicked off about it all the other week with not getting called up to the squad. Varela has been terrible this season so i wish PF would just shake it up a little and try the others out. We need to change something!

    I'm surprised PF had it in him to drop Jackson. Personally this is something i would have done a couple of weeks ago. The guy has looked tired as of late, from his first touches to his shooting, it's been poor and not been to that Jackson standard that we've been used to previously. So it was nice to see Ghilas finally get a start and he was lively too and part of the reason why we scored that second goal.

    And another staggering possession percentage and yet we still don't get the three points. Us with 63% to their 37%. So many games have been like this for us this season.

    As for Benfica, i was flicking between a few games with the Madrid derby and then catching some of Napoli after it so i barely had much of an eye on this one. Yet another clean sheet though. Defensively you are spot on right now. I just went to check and tonight that was your 14th clean sheet out of the last 15 games in all competitions. Absolutely fantastic. You might have had a couple of the scrappy and "lucky" one-nils but you've kept the all important clean sheets and there's nothing lucky when it comes to that. Solid at the back. Plus, yet another beauty by Gaitán! Lovely run and a great cheeky chip.
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    Another disappointing weekend for us. Credit to Guimarães for coming back but we shouldn't have allowed that to happen. We were 2-0 up and comfortable only for them to grab an important goal before HT.

    Abdoulaye gives me those nerves that Rolando used to give me. He just never looks comfortable when he's on the ball and then he tries to do too many tricks and rubbish when you would rather he just booted the ball away. I would have loved to see Diego Reyes get a chance since Ota left, and more so now with Mangala out for a couple more games. There must be something behind closed doors with Paulo Fonseca not keen to be giving Reyes or Quintero a bit more of a chance. Same with Kelvin. I see he kicked off about it all the other week with not getting called up to the squad. Varela has been terrible this season so i wish PF would just shake it up a little and try the others out. We need to change something!

    I'm surprised PF had it in him to drop Jackson. Personally this is something i would have done a couple of weeks ago. The guy has looked tired as of late, from his first touches to his shooting, it's been poor and not been to that Jackson standard that we've been used to previously. So it was nice to see Ghilas finally get a start and he was lively too and part of the reason why we scored that second goal.

    And another staggering possession percentage and yet we still don't get the three points. Us with 63% to their 37%. So many games have been like this for us this season.

    As for Benfica, i was flicking between a few games with the Madrid derby and then catching some of Napoli after it so i barely had much of an eye on this one. Yet another clean sheet though. Defensively you are spot on right now. I just went to check and tonight that was your 14th clean sheet out of the last 15 games in all competitions. Absolutely fantastic. You might have had a couple of the scrappy and "lucky" one-nils but you've kept the all important clean sheets and there's nothing lucky when it comes to that. Solid at the back. Plus, yet another beauty by Gaitán! Lovely run and a great cheeky chip.
    I guess Paulo Fonseca has instantly lost any credit he may have gained by getting through the EL now.. that was another bad match. Played well until the 2-0 and then just lost all confidence with Guimaraes' first goal.

    Thinking about it, Otamendi-Mangala was Porto's first choice defence for most of the first half of the season right? And yesterday it was Maicon-Abdoulaye. If Benfica played with Jardel-Steven Vitoria, we'd have defensive troubles as well.

    And yeh, I also wonder why Reyes, Kelvin, and especially Quintero aren't playing more.

    The commentators were saying Jackson wasn't 100% fit when he came on, apparently he wasn't moving his arm freely and was forcing himself to play in order to get a goal. Ghilas was probably wanting to prove a point when he got the chance last night.. did pretty well.

    As for Benfica, yeh, another clean sheet! Its too bad that the one time that we DID conceed, out of those 15 games, we actually dropped points (1-1 against Gil Vicente I think).

    There have been too many lucky 1-0's, I guess you missed it last night when Belenenses had a goal wrongly disallowed? We definitely got lucky there.. the goal should have stood, and with the way we were playing, I don't think we would have scored again.. we barely created any danger all match apart from Gaitan's goal (yep, another beauty... we have got a knack of scoring nice goals lately).

    Anyway, Porto are very far from the title now, and I can't see Benfica dropping 9 points. Sporting won as well, so the gap to 2nd has increased as well for Porto. Not looking good for Porto..
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    (Original post by aa22)
    I guess Paulo Fonseca has instantly lost any credit he may have gained by getting through the EL now.. that was another bad match. Played well until the 2-0 and then just lost all confidence with Guimaraes' first goal.

    Thinking about it, Otamendi-Mangala was Porto's first choice defence for most of the first half of the season right? And yesterday it was Maicon-Abdoulaye. If Benfica played with Jardel-Steven Vitoria, we'd have defensive troubles as well.

    And yeh, I also wonder why Reyes, Kelvin, and especially Quintero aren't playing more.

    The commentators were saying Jackson wasn't 100% fit when he came on, apparently he wasn't moving his arm freely and was forcing himself to play in order to get a goal. Ghilas was probably wanting to prove a point when he got the chance last night.. did pretty well.

    As for Benfica, yeh, another clean sheet! Its too bad that the one time that we DID conceed, out of those 15 games, we actually dropped points (1-1 against Gil Vicente I think).

    There have been too many lucky 1-0's, I guess you missed it last night when Belenenses had a goal wrongly disallowed? We definitely got lucky there.. the goal should have stood, and with the way we were playing, I don't think we would have scored again.. we barely created any danger all match apart from Gaitan's goal (yep, another beauty... we have got a knack of scoring nice goals lately).

    Anyway, Porto are very far from the title now, and I can't see Benfica dropping 9 points. Sporting won as well, so the gap to 2nd has increased as well for Porto. Not looking good for Porto..
    Well, if you believe everything you read it sounds like Paulo Fonseca won’t be with us for much longer. Could be gone by the end of the week it seems.

    Yeah, they were the main choice CB’s which is why I don’t understand why we let Otamendi go. I’ve just had a quick look at our line ups (only in the league) this season before Otamendi left and I worked out Otamendi & Mangala started together 10 times, Otamendi & Maicon started together four times and Mangala & Maicon started together just once. It really is bizarre to see we got rid of him. Since he’s left Paulo Fonseca has only used Mangala & Maicon twice whilst a Mangala & Abdoulaye has been used three times. It was only on Sunday when he paired Maicon & Abdoulaye together but I don’t think he would have done if Mangala wasn’t suspended. I think I’ve lost my whole point behind all this as I’ve gone on a bit but it shows Paulo Fonseca isn’t keen on a Mangala & Maicon partnership, which I find odd considering I would say they are our strongest CB’s.

    Yeah, that was the one time you dropped points otherwise you would have p15 w15 if Oblak had done better with that volley. Still pretty impressive though.

    Yeah, I must have missed their disallowed goal. I know the wins are lucky but at least you’re managing to come away with the three points. Under VP we were playing ugly stuff and managed to win the league, I think it’s Benfica’s turn to be doing this.

    Yeah, it seems like we’ll do no better than third the way it’s going. Elsewhere in the league there was good win for Paços with beating Maritimo, It’s made the bottom of the table close up with Paços now on level points with the two above them.
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    Well, if you believe everything you read it sounds like Paulo Fonseca won’t be with us for much longer. Could be gone by the end of the week it seems.

    Yeah, they were the main choice CB’s which is why I don’t understand why we let Otamendi go. I’ve just had a quick look at our line ups (only in the league) this season before Otamendi left and I worked out Otamendi & Mangala started together 10 times, Otamendi & Maicon started together four times and Mangala & Maicon started together just once. It really is bizarre to see we got rid of him. Since he’s left Paulo Fonseca has only used Mangala & Maicon twice whilst a Mangala & Abdoulaye has been used three times. It was only on Sunday when he paired Maicon & Abdoulaye together but I don’t think he would have done if Mangala wasn’t suspended. I think I’ve lost my whole point behind all this as I’ve gone on a bit but it shows Paulo Fonseca isn’t keen on a Mangala & Maicon partnership, which I find odd considering I would say they are our strongest CB’s.

    Yeah, that was the one time you dropped points otherwise you would have p15 w15 if Oblak had done better with that volley. Still pretty impressive though.

    Yeah, I must have missed their disallowed goal. I know the wins are lucky but at least you’re managing to come away with the three points. Under VP we were playing ugly stuff and managed to win the league, I think it’s Benfica’s turn to be doing this.

    Yeah, it seems like we’ll do no better than third the way it’s going. Elsewhere in the league there was good win for Paços with beating Maritimo, It’s made the bottom of the table close up with Paços now on level points with the two above them.
    Aaaand he's gone (well.. a few days ago). Didn't have to wait til the end of the week. Not sure about the replacement as I have no idea who he is apart from being the B team manager. He has an easy game this weekend, at home against Arouca.. should be a routine win..

    Although that said, I hope Porto don't make a resurgence now with the new manager impetus and all that >_>..

    It had to be done, unfortunately for him the results were just not good enough. Maybe he moved to a big club too soon, it will be interesting to see what job he gets next. Speaking of next jobs, I can only see one choice for the next manager and that is Marco Silva. It's a shame, because I was hoping that he would somehow end up managing Benfica (if some foreign team wanted JJ at the end of the season). And speaking of Marco Silva, I hope we can beat them this weekend... Estoril is gonna be a tough test and they were the ones that started our implosion at the end of last season. If we can come through this match with 3 points, it'll be an important step towards the title..




    Also. I got tickets for the Tottenham match! ZOMG so excited It'll be the first time I'll watch Benfica live in about 15 years or something..
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    Any Shakhtar followers? I'm not Ukrainian or anything but keep an eye on most foreign leagues and Shakhtar is a team I like and admire their policy and setup
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    (Original post by aa22)
    Aaaand he's gone (well.. a few days ago). Didn't have to wait til the end of the week. Not sure about the replacement as I have no idea who he is apart from being the B team manager. He has an easy game this weekend, at home against Arouca.. should be a routine win..

    Although that said, I hope Porto don't make a resurgence now with the new manager impetus and all that >_>..

    It had to be done, unfortunately for him the results were just not good enough. Maybe he moved to a big club too soon, it will be interesting to see what job he gets next. Speaking of next jobs, I can only see one choice for the next manager and that is Marco Silva. It's a shame, because I was hoping that he would somehow end up managing Benfica (if some foreign team wanted JJ at the end of the season). And speaking of Marco Silva, I hope we can beat them this weekend... Estoril is gonna be a tough test and they were the ones that started our implosion at the end of last season. If we can come through this match with 3 points, it'll be an important step towards the title..




    Also. I got tickets for the Tottenham match! ZOMG so excited It'll be the first time I'll watch Benfica live in about 15 years or something..
    I know, the day after I said that he was gone! I can’t say I’m surprised though, always expected and more so after last weekend’s result.

    First game in change for Luís Castro and we took all three points. But like you said, should be a routine win and pretty much was a routine win. We played okay, nothing spectacular, it was just because it was against a very weak Arouca side that we were never really troubled. In midweek against Napoli is when it will be the real test for him. However, the introduction of Quintero was spot on by Luís Castro today. I thought we seemed to be dropping off a bit but then Quintero came off the bench and added that extra something into the team and got us going again. That’s the best I've seen him too.

    Each week I say it but another game where Quaresma has stood out for being one of our best players on the pitch. Is it too late to consider him going on that plane to Brazil? I much rather see Quaresma to Nani on current form. I never thought I would say I would like to see him in the Portuguese National side again. Quaresmas comeback has completely thrown me as I never expected it to go as well as this.

    I find it silly that they decided to put these two games on at the same time, so I didn’t watch the Benfica game but managed to catch Setúbal -Sporting. Wow, terrible decisions from start to finish. I would love to see another angle of Slimani’s goal. In my eyes that looked like a good save but the replays weren’t great to see if the whole ball crossed over the line. Then the two penalty decisions were very soft. In a way it evened itself out when Setúbal were given the penalty as it would have been very harsh for them to lose the point due to Sportings penalty decision.

    Sporting-Porto next week is a huge game. The title is yours, there needs to be some serious messing up by Benfica to throw this away now. We’re both playing for second and if we win we get can that spot back, if it’s the other way round then it goes back to the five point difference.

    I’ve caught highlights of the Benfica match and that’s pretty much what you deserved, or you could have even scored more. Lima’s goal wrongly called offside and if it was not for a few good saves by Vagner then Benfica could have added a few more goals. Nice finish by Rodrigo though.

    That’s great you managed to get some tickets for the Spurs match. I hope you enjoy it!
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    (Original post by ninuzu)
    Any Shakhtar followers? I'm not Ukrainian or anything but keep an eye on most foreign leagues and Shakhtar is a team I like and admire their policy and setup
    in. I believe we've discussed before a bit...
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    (Original post by The Assassin)
    in. I believe we've discussed before a bit...
    Yes I believe we have haha :holmes:
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    I know, the day after I said that he was gone! I can’t say I’m surprised though, always expected and more so after last weekend’s result.

    First game in change for Luís Castro and we took all three points. But like you said, should be a routine win and pretty much was a routine win. We played okay, nothing spectacular, it was just because it was against a very weak Arouca side that we were never really troubled. In midweek against Napoli is when it will be the real test for him. However, the introduction of Quintero was spot on by Luís Castro today. I thought we seemed to be dropping off a bit but then Quintero came off the bench and added that extra something into the team and got us going again. That’s the best I've seen him too.

    Each week I say it but another game where Quaresma has stood out for being one of our best players on the pitch. Is it too late to consider him going on that plane to Brazil? I much rather see Quaresma to Nani on current form. I never thought I would say I would like to see him in the Portuguese National side again. Quaresmas comeback has completely thrown me as I never expected it to go as well as this.

    I find it silly that they decided to put these two games on at the same time, so I didn’t watch the Benfica game but managed to catch Setúbal -Sporting. Wow, terrible decisions from start to finish. I would love to see another angle of Slimani’s goal. In my eyes that looked like a good save but the replays weren’t great to see if the whole ball crossed over the line. Then the two penalty decisions were very soft. In a way it evened itself out when Setúbal were given the penalty as it would have been very harsh for them to lose the point due to Sportings penalty decision.

    Sporting-Porto next week is a huge game. The title is yours, there needs to be some serious messing up by Benfica to throw this away now. We’re both playing for second and if we win we get can that spot back, if it’s the other way round then it goes back to the five point difference.

    I’ve caught highlights of the Benfica match and that’s pretty much what you deserved, or you could have even scored more. Lima’s goal wrongly called offside and if it was not for a few good saves by Vagner then Benfica could have added a few more goals. Nice finish by Rodrigo though.

    That’s great you managed to get some tickets for the Spurs match. I hope you enjoy it!
    Yeh, I was watching the Porto match.. it wasn't exactly too different from PF's Porto. Scored two goal, then conceeded one and were looking shaky again. The substitutions were an improvement on PF though, Quintero was a very clever substitution.

    Napoli will definitely be the first tough test. Too bad I won't be able to watch the first leg, it'll be an interesting match.

    I agree about Quaresma. I too would prefer him over Nani right now, mainly because Nani hasn't played for months now and will no doubt be out of form during the World Cup. I don't know why he didn't get selected for the friendly but hopefully it's not too late, Paulo Bento did say that there was still a chance he could get called up I think..


    Yeh, I would have loved to have seen that Sporting match considering all the backlash that has come out of it. Sounds like the result was the correct one based on the performances from what you're saying?

    And yeh, now the derby next week will be a massive game. Hopefully without any referee incidents! A draw would be nice :P

    As for Benfica. I have to admit, the title is 99.9% ours. If we lost a 7 point lead now, it would be even more embarrassing than what happened last season. The win against Estoril was excellent. Dominated the first half and killed off the match.

    I wonder if we shouldn't use this lead to concentrate a bit more on the Europa League though. I'll be a bit disappointed if we play with the likes of Djuricic and Andre Gomes in the EL again.. if anything, we should now be playing them in the league matches (I mean, if they can handle EL matches against Tottenham, they should be able to handle most Portuguese teams).
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    How Sevilla are 2-0 down is astonishing! Sevilla have had so many chances and then Grameiro missed an absolute sitter to make it 1-1 and then a few minutes later a good counter attack by Betis to make it 2-0. Fans going crazy in the away end. Crazy scoreline though, especially for Betis with their wins currently few and far between.
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    (Original post by aa22)
    Yeh, I was watching the Porto match.. it wasn't exactly too different from PF's Porto. Scored two goal, then conceeded one and were looking shaky again. The substitutions were an improvement on PF though, Quintero was a very clever substitution.

    Napoli will definitely be the first tough test. Too bad I won't be able to watch the first leg, it'll be an interesting match.

    I agree about Quaresma. I too would prefer him over Nani right now, mainly because Nani hasn't played for months now and will no doubt be out of form during the World Cup. I don't know why he didn't get selected for the friendly but hopefully it's not too late, Paulo Bento did say that there was still a chance he could get called up I think..


    Yeh, I would have loved to have seen that Sporting match considering all the backlash that has come out of it. Sounds like the result was the correct one based on the performances from what you're saying?

    And yeh, now the derby next week will be a massive game. Hopefully without any referee incidents! A draw would be nice :P

    As for Benfica. I have to admit, the title is 99.9% ours. If we lost a 7 point lead now, it would be even more embarrassing than what happened last season. The win against Estoril was excellent. Dominated the first half and killed off the match.

    I wonder if we shouldn't use this lead to concentrate a bit more on the Europa League though. I'll be a bit disappointed if we play with the likes of Djuricic and Andre Gomes in the EL again.. if anything, we should now be playing them in the league matches (I mean, if they can handle EL matches against Tottenham, they should be able to handle most Portuguese teams).
    I really think Paulo Bento is set on Nani though, he’s always stuck by him regardless of his form and I think he will still stick by him even though he won’t play much between now and the WC. Hopefully Quaresma will keep up his good work and Paulo Bento will consider him.

    I’m happy with that performance tonight, a good result for Porto with not conceding an away goal. Could have and should have grabbed a couple more goals though. Carlos Eduardos goal wasn’t offside so it’s a shame that didn’t count, a cracking effort from him tonight, I thought he worked really hard. Then Quintero had that chance that hit the post in the second half.

    The first half we played really well though, completely different to how we’ve been playing lately. Not really enjoying watching Varela at the moment, he’s struggling and not adding very much to the game. Not as great a second half as the first, Napoli came at us more and Helton had to make a few good saves. But then could have messed all his good work up with that stupid kick that hit Zapata, he was lucky it went the other way for a throw in and not towards goal. We deserved that goal with all the work the team were putting in though. A slim advantage to take to Naples and at least no away goals. It’ll still be difficult for us at the San Paolo though. I still think this game will have many more twists and turns to it.

    Three away goals to take back to Lisbon, cracking stuff from Benfica. I had one eye on Sevilla-Betis and the other on the Benfica game. They’re absolutely unstoppable at the moment though. Lovely finish by Rodrigo, the guy is having such a great season. He stayed calm just to slot it around Lloris. What’s going on with Luisão? Two games, three goals, the guy is on a role. You wouldn’t have seen it because you’re were at the game but you need to find JJ’s little dance after Rodrigo’s goal and then the cheeky three fingers he stuck up at Tim Sherwood. Hope you enjoyed it though, I’m pretty sure you would have done. A good turnout by the Benfica fans.

    Now to the weekend. I’m not looking forward to this. :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    I really think Paulo Bento is set on Nani though, he’s always stuck by him regardless of his form and I think he will still stick by him even though he won’t play much between now and the WC. Hopefully Quaresma will keep up his good work and Paulo Bento will consider him.

    I’m happy with that performance tonight, a good result for Porto with not conceding an away goal. Could have and should have grabbed a couple more goals though. Carlos Eduardos goal wasn’t offside so it’s a shame that didn’t count, a cracking effort from him tonight, I thought he worked really hard. Then Quintero had that chance that hit the post in the second half.

    The first half we played really well though, completely different to how we’ve been playing lately. Not really enjoying watching Varela at the moment, he’s struggling and not adding very much to the game. Not as great a second half as the first, Napoli came at us more and Helton had to make a few good saves. But then could have messed all his good work up with that stupid kick that hit Zapata, he was lucky it went the other way for a throw in and not towards goal. We deserved that goal with all the work the team were putting in though. A slim advantage to take to Naples and at least no away goals. It’ll still be difficult for us at the San Paolo though. I still think this game will have many more twists and turns to it.

    Three away goals to take back to Lisbon, cracking stuff from Benfica. I had one eye on Sevilla-Betis and the other on the Benfica game. They’re absolutely unstoppable at the moment though. Lovely finish by Rodrigo, the guy is having such a great season. He stayed calm just to slot it around Lloris. What’s going on with Luisão? Two games, three goals, the guy is on a role. You wouldn’t have seen it because you’re were at the game but you need to find JJ’s little dance after Rodrigo’s goal and then the cheeky three fingers he stuck up at Tim Sherwood. Hope you enjoyed it though, I’m pretty sure you would have done. A good turnout by the Benfica fans.

    Now to the weekend. I’m not looking forward to this. :rolleyes:

    First of all, I really didn't expect Porto to win yesterday. When I got home and checked the Porto score, I was a bit shocked to see a 1-0 win.

    I've just watched some highlights and it seems like Porto dominated (or at least had more chances). The first goal should have stood, its a shame it was chalked off because a 2-0 lead would have been priceless. Quintero's chance maybe came at him a bit too quickly for him to react to it, but it was unlucky that it didn't go in.

    Porto seem to be on the rise now. Luis Castro speaks like how a Porto manager should as well, with a lot of confidence that almost borders on arrogance. It looks like he might give them back a bit of that winning mentality, just in time for the big game this weekend. I'm also not looking forward to the two cup semi-finals now.

    The second leg will be tough with just a 1-0 lead, but at least you didn't conceed any away goals. And Porto just need to draw to go through now.


    As for Benfica. That was an excellent result. We made a few changes and it was still all good. I'm glad we got to rest Gaitan and Enzo Perez a bit. It was a cagey match though and we took our chances really well. Luisao was awesome in defence AND attack last night, nothing went past him. I was surprised to see Oblak start as well, would have expected to see Artur based on how JJ played him in the previous round, but I'm glad he kept his confidence in Oblak. Gutting for Artur though.. unfortunately for him, that injury might have ended his Benfica career.

    It was great to see them all live. Garay and Luisao did an awesome job at stopping the long balls to Adebayor all match. Rodrigo's goal was sweeeet, it was so cool to see it creep just in.

    I had no idea they had even got into an argument or even had even talked to each other when I was at game (they were on the opposite side of the pitch to where I was sitting). So it was funny to see everything when I got home. That little dance JJ did is the funniest thing I've seen him do (and also totally out of character). The three fingers gesture wasn't respectful though, unless he had been provoked by Sherwood, there was no reason to do that.


    I think this might be the most I've looked forward to a Porto-Sporting. Porto are starting to play well and have got two great results, so morale will be high. Whereas Sporting are coming off some poorer results, but have had more rest and there is a feeling of anger/revenge because of what happened in their last match. And this is almost a playoff for second place, so that makes it even more important.

    I'm sure you'll be super nervous, but it will be really interesting to watch as a neutral :P
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    (Original post by aa22)
    First of all, I really didn't expect Porto to win yesterday. When I got home and checked the Porto score, I was a bit shocked to see a 1-0 win.

    I've just watched some highlights and it seems like Porto dominated (or at least had more chances). The first goal should have stood, its a shame it was chalked off because a 2-0 lead would have been priceless. Quintero's chance maybe came at him a bit too quickly for him to react to it, but it was unlucky that it didn't go in.

    Porto seem to be on the rise now. Luis Castro speaks like how a Porto manager should as well, with a lot of confidence that almost borders on arrogance. It looks like he might give them back a bit of that winning mentality, just in time for the big game this weekend. I'm also not looking forward to the two cup semi-finals now.

    The second leg will be tough with just a 1-0 lead, but at least you didn't conceed any away goals. And Porto just need to draw to go through now.


    As for Benfica. That was an excellent result. We made a few changes and it was still all good. I'm glad we got to rest Gaitan and Enzo Perez a bit. It was a cagey match though and we took our chances really well. Luisao was awesome in defence AND attack last night, nothing went past him. I was surprised to see Oblak start as well, would have expected to see Artur based on how JJ played him in the previous round, but I'm glad he kept his confidence in Oblak. Gutting for Artur though.. unfortunately for him, that injury might have ended his Benfica career.

    It was great to see them all live. Garay and Luisao did an awesome job at stopping the long balls to Adebayor all match. Rodrigo's goal was sweeeet, it was so cool to see it creep just in.

    I had no idea they had even got into an argument or even had even talked to each other when I was at game (they were on the opposite side of the pitch to where I was sitting). So it was funny to see everything when I got home. That little dance JJ did is the funniest thing I've seen him do (and also totally out of character). The three fingers gesture wasn't respectful though, unless he had been provoked by Sherwood, there was no reason to do that.


    I think this might be the most I've looked forward to a Porto-Sporting. Porto are starting to play well and have got two great results, so morale will be high. Whereas Sporting are coming off some poorer results, but have had more rest and there is a feeling of anger/revenge because of what happened in their last match. And this is almost a playoff for second place, so that makes it even more important.

    I'm sure you'll be super nervous, but it will be really interesting to watch as a neutral :P
    Yeah, considering JJ used Artur vs PAOK I was expecting him to start as well but you can’t really blame him for keeping faith in Oblak because has done very little wrong. The guy has kept so many clean sheets and made some good saves. The only mistake that sticks out and cost Benfica was the goal conceded vs Gil Vicente. It was a bit of a weak hand behind the shot that came at him but I can’t think of any other moments like that. It is a shame for Artur though as I was always quite a fan of him.

    Abdoulaye and William Carvalho have annoyed me for two difference reasons. Abdoulaye because he just cannot defend and William Carvalho because he is a bloody brick! Nothing gets past him. Always solid. Great to watch but so frustrating when it’s against your team.

    We should have been going into HT with a lead, we had a few good chances and were the better side, second half we were the opposite. We were terrible, created nothing and the dodgy defending continued. Offside for their goal but hey, this happens. They deserved the victory going by our second half performance. Praise for Eric Dier, thought he had a solid match, as too Diego Capel. 5 points behind now, looks like we’ll have to qualify for the CL as I really don’t see us making this gap up.

    No Fernando, Quaresma or Danilo next week vs Belenenses. No Helton too by the looks of it. Bit of a mad injury for him, Luis Castro said he’s ruptured his achilles heel. Poor Helton . All-in-all a bad night for Porto and not the best result to be going into Thursdays game! Really hoping Maicon will be fit to face Napoli too.

    Another Monday night match for Benfica and this time travelling to Madeira though. I don’t want Benfica to get anything out of the game but then I also don’t want Nacional to get anything either. There is still a little bit of hope in me that Maritimo can grab the last Europa League spot. It’ll be difficult with both Braga and Guimarães ahead of them but Maritimo are only four points off that fifth place so it’s just keeping them with a slight chance. Next up for them is Sporting on Saturday so maybe my glimmer of hope of seeing them in the UEL will disappear.
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    Yeah, considering JJ used Artur vs PAOK I was expecting him to start as well but you can’t really blame him for keeping faith in Oblak because has done very little wrong. The guy has kept so many clean sheets and made some good saves. The only mistake that sticks out and cost Benfica was the goal conceded vs Gil Vicente. It was a bit of a weak hand behind the shot that came at him but I can’t think of any other moments like that. It is a shame for Artur though as I was always quite a fan of him.

    Abdoulaye and William Carvalho have annoyed me for two difference reasons. Abdoulaye because he just cannot defend and William Carvalho because he is a bloody brick! Nothing gets past him. Always solid. Great to watch but so frustrating when it’s against your team.

    We should have been going into HT with a lead, we had a few good chances and were the better side, second half we were the opposite. We were terrible, created nothing and the dodgy defending continued. Offside for their goal but hey, this happens. They deserved the victory going by our second half performance. Praise for Eric Dier, thought he had a solid match, as too Diego Capel. 5 points behind now, looks like we’ll have to qualify for the CL as I really don’t see us making this gap up.

    No Fernando, Quaresma or Danilo next week vs Belenenses. No Helton too by the looks of it. Bit of a mad injury for him, Luis Castro said he’s ruptured his achilles heel. Poor Helton . All-in-all a bad night for Porto and not the best result to be going into Thursdays game! Really hoping Maicon will be fit to face Napoli too.

    Another Monday night match for Benfica and this time travelling to Madeira though. I don’t want Benfica to get anything out of the game but then I also don’t want Nacional to get anything either. There is still a little bit of hope in me that Maritimo can grab the last Europa League spot. It’ll be difficult with both Braga and Guimarães ahead of them but Maritimo are only four points off that fifth place so it’s just keeping them with a slight chance. Next up for them is Sporting on Saturday so maybe my glimmer of hope of seeing them in the UEL will disappear.
    Yep, it seems like Porto will need to qualify through the playoffs next season if they want to play CL football. If anything, I think Porto stand a better chance of coming through the playoffs than Sporting do, especially considering that they will almost undoubtedly lose William Carvalho.

    Speaking of whom, he was insane during the match. It leaves me completely shocked to see how good he is.

    I don't think either side deserved the win, although Porto did create a few good chances in the first half. Sporting's goal was offside for sure. And once they got their goal they were able to play on the counter against a fairly idea-less Porto attack.

    Yeh, those three players will be a big miss for Porto in the next league match. And Helton's injury was also unfortunate, good thing for Porto is that Fabiano is a good goalkeeper as well.

    As for Thursday, maybe the players will go all out for the European title now? I mean, they were in form last Thursday so maybe they are favouring the Europa League in the back of their minds.


    As for Benfica, yeh another Monday night match. Fortunately our European leg and the next league match are both at the Luz this week.

    The match itself was a game of two halves. The wind was in our favour in the first half and thankfully we took full advantage of it. We didn't start well at all and gave away a penalty, and for a few minutes there I thought this might become a very difficult match.

    But Nacional stopped after about 15 minutes and we took control and scored three great goals, probably a bit of a harsh scoreline for Nacional based on how that first half went.

    Then we controlled until the end where once again we could have easily lost the lead if one of the Nacional players hadn't missed right in front of goal, we've been pretty lucky in that aspect. Thankfully Garay ended with the doubts afterwards to save us from a nail-biting end (another defender scoring two goals!).


    So 7 matches left now. We've just faced two of the best teams in the league (4th and 5th placed) and managed to win, so that takes away two of the biggest obstacles in the race towards the title. The only big threat now is Braga at the end of the month (which comes just a few days after the Taca de Portugal match vs Porto, so it could be a potential banana skin).
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
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    Great result for Porto against Napoli, really didn't expect that at half time. Napoli were dominating and creating many chances. Ghilas' goal was a nice finish and good work from the ref to play advantage. Quaresma's goal was superb. Really surprised me that Porto managed to get past Napoli.

    As for Benfica, our front six were second (or even third) choice! And even then we had control of the match for 75 minutes. The two goals we conceeded was poor defending but thankfully we managed to get another goal at the end to kill off the match.

    Next round draw has been kind to Benfica, I expect us to beat AZ Alkmaar. Sevilla will be give Porto a good match though, they have some really good players, but I would still expect Porto to go through.
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    (Original post by aa22)
    Great result for Porto against Napoli, really didn't expect that at half time. Napoli were dominating and creating many chances. Ghilas' goal was a nice finish and good work from the ref to play advantage. Quaresma's goal was superb. Really surprised me that Porto managed to get past Napoli.

    As for Benfica, our front six were second (or even third) choice! And even then we had control of the match for 75 minutes. The two goals we conceeded was poor defending but thankfully we managed to get another goal at the end to kill off the match.

    Next round draw has been kind to Benfica, I expect us to beat AZ Alkmaar. Sevilla will be give Porto a good match though, they have some really good players, but I would still expect Porto to go through.
    Firstly, the Europa League. Wow, I really didn’t expect that.

    With no Helton, Maicon or Alex Sandro obviously it was going to include further changes to the defence and yet another new CB partnership, and also Ricardo at LB. What a bizarre choice. With the spaces they were leaving and Porto struggling as a whole it was only a matter of time until they scored. Luis Castro deserves credit with his substitutions again with Varela and Carlos Eduardo going off. I know we weren’t great but that was another poor performance by Varela. He’s another possibility for Paulo Bento to consider swapping him to bring in Quaresma for the World Cup squad. But those two substitutes helped, gave us a bit of a push and we were rewarded by scoring a goal, lovely finish by Ghilas. I’m happy it was him who got the goal too. And yeah, quite a stunning goal by Quaresma.

    Yeah, certainly not Benfica’s best squad out that evening but still managed to progress. A bit of a scare towards the end though. I have to admit I did think maybe this will be the time Benfica’s crumble begins but no, you managed to hold on and then Benfica got the penalty to secure the game.

    Yeah, not a bad draw for Benfica at all and with the advantage of the second leg being at home. Have a good first leg again with a few away goals and then JJ can afford to rotate and rest his squad again. Sevilla will be difficult for us but I’m glad we avoided Juve, hopefully we’ll do the same again with not conceding the away goal in the first leg.

    As for the results this weekend – It’s as we were. William Carvalho at it again too. I’m sick of saying it but it’s ridiculous how great a season he is having. Huge talent and will be a huge loss for Sporting when he leaves.

    Porto with the majority of possession and chances and just about managing to scrape a win. Nice to see Quintero and Kelvin get on the pitch early and play over half an hour each. But for a club bottom of the league and playing with 10 men for a whole half that was poor by Porto. Belenenses had done well to hold on for so long. Feel pretty sorry for Matt Jones, the guy had done everything he could have done tonight, then with the goal it was him who pushed it out to Quintero but he nearly saved it.

    I didn't watch the Benfica game so all i can say is another clean sheet to add to Benfica's statistics this season. A bit of a tough week for you now with games against Porto, Braga and AZ but are Braga really a threat this season to Benfica with how Braga are this season? Obviously they will put up a fight with it being against Benfica but it might give JJ an opportunity to rest the players again seeing this Braga side are not as good as they were a couple of seasons ago.

    Also, Paços with a good win meaning Arouca have been pegged back to be dragged into the battle at the bottom.
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
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    Well.. there really isn't much I can say about the cup match apart from Porto deserved that win. 1-0 is probably a bit kind to us because of how many clear chances Porto had.

    It was one of the worst Benfica performances I've seen all season, although it was also one of the best Porto performances I've seen all season, so that had a big impact on us being so poor.

    We made many changes once again, which was to be expected with the Braga match coming up this weekend, but I didn't think we would be this bad because we had made even more drastic changes against Tottenham and managed to play well, so this was a bit unexpected.

    Cardozo is starting to irritate me tbh.. he hasn't been good at all since he has come back from injury. Last night, Rodrigo was being forced to pressure the defense AND help out in midfield, which meant that Porto often had 3 vs 2 in midfield and kept overrunning us. The worst part was that Cardozo wasn't winning headers either, so much so that I started to think that every time we played a long ball to him, it was a guarantee that we were going to lose possession.

    As for Porto, Quaresma scared me every time he got the ball, and it seemed like Jackson had an excellent game as well, always really good at helping out on build up play. Fernando was ridiculous in midfield too.

    Can't complain about the result really... hopefully we have the league 99% wrapped up by the time the second leg comes around and we play a stronger lineup.
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    Anyone know if the Boca Juniors vs River Plate game today is on tv??
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    (Original post by ninuzu)
    Anyone know if the Boca Juniors vs River Plate game today is on tv??
    You can watch it on youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=143e1tXZbtQ
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    Riquelme's free kick was beautiful!
 
 
 
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