#Photo credit - Paulo Duarte/AP
Another tie, another bad result, another missed opportunity.
With today's tie, Benfica has passed their number of wins with their number of ties. 12 wins, 13 ties and 4 losses is something that says a lot about this year's Benfica.
Why there's still people out there that wonder why Benfica is currently in fourth is beyond me, as the team continues to prove, time and time again, that's where they deserve to be.
Benfica could have even taken advantage of the Guimaraes tie, and ascend to 3rd place, but the missed opportunities seem to be an all too familiar tale this season.
For the next to last game of the season, Chalana called on the following 11:
Quim; Nelson, Luisao, Edcarlos and Sepsi as the back 4. Petit, Maxi, Rui Costa and Rodriguez made up the midfield quartet. Up front, it was Nuno Gomes and Cardozo.
The game in itself was a uneventful, and boring. Benfica came out flat, without game flow or any type of well constructed plays, to be quite honest, the only positive of the first 45 minutes was a Cardozo blast that found the cross bar, right before the half. I had mentioned in my preview that Rui Costa's condition would be key for Benfica's success and the Maestro was very sub-par for this game, after all Friday was the only training session he was part of. The midfield was totally lost, without solutions to organize the team's game, playing in a smaller field Benfica failed to use the whole width of the field to decongest the middle. The defense had a good game defending, attacking was a different story, Sepsi seemed too nervous during the first half, Nelson matched to perfection his partner the awful Maxi. With the two side backs being ineffective, Benfica's game lost what could have very well been the key to this game - wing play.
From across town, cames news of a Guimaraes tie at the half, and Benfica came out more aggressive in the second half, but as it is in most cases, uncontrolled, uncoordinated aggression will often lead nowhere, and that was exactly where Benfica was getting nowhere.
There was no one to think Benfica's game, and while the wing play had improved with DiMaria's entrance at the half. Benfica still couldn't put anything together that could create any mismatches in the back. Maxi dropped to right back, as Nelson gave way to DiMaria and the Argentinean tried his best to make the difference with his characteristic bursts of speed, but to no avail. Benfica's best chances came from dead ball situations, namely corners. It was from a corner that Luisao had an incredible miss, the ball came to him and alone inside the 6 yeard box, Luisao did the hardest - missed the whole goal. Mantorras came in for Nuno Gomes, but didn't add much to the game, off his feet came Benfica's second scandalous miss, Mantorras fired a shot that was saved incompletely by the Amadora keeper, the ball came to Edcarlos who with just the keeper to beat failed to make the difference.
Assis was the last choice off the bench, he substituted Petit in the 79th minute, but he too added nothing to the game.
I'd be wasting my time to rate the players individually as they were all pretty awful.
Sporting beat P.Ferreira and has now moved into sole possession of 2nd. Guimaraes, who tied at Belenenses, benefited from Benfica's tie to remain in control and in third place.
While it's very easy to criticize Chalana's choices after a bad result, i have to wonder what is going on through his head. Surely it is not all of his fault, as he has said, time and time again, that he is an employee of the club and he will do what the club asks of him. Maybe he gets the line up handed down to him.
The exclusion of Freddy Adu continues to be a big mystery, surely Benfica could have used someone of his talent today, and the same goes for all the games he hasn't been called for. Unbelievable also, is how a player like Maxi continues to be a starter. Why did Benfica buy Makukula? Why does Mantorras continue to be part of the roster? He is not a threat to any of the starters, and has remained a bench player for years now, it's time someone analyzes what the player can contribute to the team and in what capacities.
I'm looking forward to the end of this nightmare. I'll continue to believe that 3rd place is still reachable, but after performances like this, being a benfiquista is perhaps the only thing that still keeps me believing.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I'm reading: E.Amadora 0 - Benfica 0 - Worthy of 4th PlaceTweet this!
Put in Play By Fumas at 5/04/2008
Labels: Bwin 07/08 review