Thursday, November 29, 2007

Benfica - Porto "Classico" Preview

As a Benfica fan, you have to like your chances going into Saturday's Classic. Benfica has put together a good domestic streak, winning their last 4 games, cutting Porto's lead from 8 to 4 points in the process. The team is at full strength and the starting 11 seem to be the best Camacho can field at the moment. Benfica is coming off, arguably, their best performance of the season, having dominated the reigning European champs for the most part of wednesday's match, in which they were unlucky not to come away with a victory, while Porto tries to show that the humiliating defeat at Anfield Road has not affected them. Both teams come into this game being the only undefeated teams this season in the Bwin. At the moment Benfica has the best attack, and Porto has the best defense of the Bwin. It's all shaping up to be a memorable game, the result will not be decisive, as there's still a lot of games to be played, but, a win for Benfica will clearly send a message and will be the corollary of Benfica's ascension under Camacho. I still don't think the team has hit full stride but they are very close to it. As a write this, there's less than 10,000 tickets for sale in what will surely be a sold out "Inferno"at Estadio da Luz the crowd will be a very important factor.

Camacho has called the following players:
Keepers: Butt and Quim
Defenders: Luisão, Léo, Luís Filipe, Edcarlos, Nelson, David Luiz;
Midfielders: Katsouranis, Maxi pereira, Rui Costa, Di Maria, Petit, Cristián Rodriguez, Binya and Nuno Assis;
Forwards: Nuno gomes, Adu and Cardozo

I don't think we will see anything different from the starting 11 we saw mid-week.
Quim in goal, Luis Felipe, Luisao, David Luiz and Leo in defense. Katsouranis and Petit in front of the defense. Maxi, Rui Costa and Rodriguez supporting Nuno Gomes.

Keys to the Game:

Good Start - it's important that Benfica gets a good start, sorting out markings early and establishing control of the midfield, Benfica can not afford to give up a goal early, maximum concentration is needed from the start.

Dead Ball Situations - Benfica needs to take full advantage of every dead ball situation, both Luisao and David Luiz are very good in the air, and Porto has shown some fragilities in these type of plays.

Shutting down Quaresma and Lisandro - Lisandro is the top goal scorer in the Bwin and is currently going through a very good period of form, if David Luiz plays him as well as he played Kaka, we will have nothing to worry about. As far as Quaresma, Leo will need to mark him tight, as he's done in previous match ups. Leo will surely be limited on his runs forward, but he has to think defense first. I can see Quaresma being on the left a lot, to take advantage of the weaker Luis Felipe.

I very much doubt that Camacho will make a change to defend Quaresma, but if he does he might back up Maxi and put Assis in the middle but it's unlikely. I'd like to see Adu come in with more time left in the game. All and all it shoud be a very good game, look for a lot of even match ups and a big part of the game being played in the midfield, so controlling the midfield is very important for Benfica. I'm hopping to see a very good game, well refereed and with no ejections, with Benfica coming out on top off course.
2-1 Benfica

#foto - Isabel Cutileiro

1 comment:

Filipe Rego - Portugal said...

Hoje vai dar empate. Tenho o coração verde, mas concordo que o Benfica é o clube que mais cativa qualquer treinador de futebol, como é o meu caso. Quem sabe um dia! Parabéns pelo blog. Muito nice!

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