Saturday, May 3, 2008

Estrela da Amadora - Benfica - Preview

Benfica will travel a short distance to Amadora to face locals Estrela this Sunday. It'll be Benfica's last away game of the regular season, in what Chalana dubbed as one of two "finals" for Benfica.
Estrela da Amadora is currently is currently in 13th place, with a home record of 3 wins, 2 losses, and 9 ties, Benfica will try to add to the loss tally, as only a win, could keep Benfica's hopes of the Champions League alive.

For the game against Estrela, Chalana has called on the following players:

Keeper: Quim and Moreira
Defenders: Nelson, Zoro, Luisão, Edcarlos and Sepsi .
Midfielders: Nuno Assis, Binya, Petit, Rui Costa, Rodríguez, Maxi and Di Maria.
Forwards: Nuno Gomes, Mantorras, Makukula and Cardozo.

Looks like Moreira has relegated Butt to the third goal keeper spot, as he continues to deserve Chalana's vote of confidence. Out of the defender list is Leo, who struggled all week with an injury and wasn't 100% for this game. Also forced to sit out due to an injury is Luis Felipe. Returning to the game roster are Petit, Maxi and Binya. The first one is back to "healthy", as he was forced to sit out last week due to an injury. Binya and Maxi return after serving disciplinary suspensions. Katsouranis will serve a mandatory 1 game suspension for consecutive yellows. Still no Freddy Adu, as he continues to be a card out of the deck for Chalana. Freddy is one appearance short of 20.

Possible line up:

Quim in goal. Nelson, Luisao, Edcarlos and Sepsi in the back.
Petit, Rodriguez, Maxi and Rui Costa will compose the midfield diamond. Up Front will be Cardozo and possibly Nuno Gomes, but I wouldn't discard DiMaria in the supporting role either.

Not a very tough match for Benfica in the sense of the game itself, the true hardship lies on the importance of the game, its significance and subsequent pressure to win. With both Guimaraes and Sporting having to play their hardest game(of the two remaining) this week, it is imperative that Benfica wins this game, as all three teams will play home their last game, with Sporting and Guimaraes having theoretically easier games than Benfica.

Expect a firm Benfica trying to solve the game quickly. That same firmness needs to be present throughout the game, especially if opportunities are not put away and the scoreline remains even late in the game.
Rui Costa did a lot of recuperation work all week, his condition will be key to Benfica's success. The sooner Benfica can put away the game, the sooner the Maestro can be rested for his "final battle", coming up in a weeks time.

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