O Benfica returned to league triumphs on Sunday by beating Estoril (2-1) and continued the good time they have enjoyed in recent games.
In a fiercely contested first half, Rafa Silva opened the scoring in the 34th minute, in a game where he traveled virtually the entire pitch with the ball, which only came to rest in the back of the net.
In the second half, Gonçalo Ramos extended the lead in the 53rd minute and reassured the Benfica side, but Estoril would still manage to score a goal in added time, through André Franco.
Rafa’s bike in precious timing
In view of the absences of Taarabt and Darwin, Nélson Veríssimo did not invent and put Meité and Yaremchuk respectively on the field in a match with a good start on both sides.
In the first ten minutes, Gonçalo Ramos and Grimaldo were the first to scare Daniel Figueira, but the canaries were able to react, especially in transition, to such an extent that Mboula even shot the post in response.
Shortly after, Carles Soria didn’t want to be outdone, forcing Vlachodimos into an excellent defense and increasing the level of animation in Luz, who would still have opportunities from Gonçalo Ramos and Vertonghen in the opposite box.
In an already calmer period of the match and in which Benfica’s difficulties began to increase, Rafa was inspired in the 34th minute, started the bike, covered almost the entire pitch with the ball at his feet and, imagine, opened the scoring, starring in one of the finest goals of his career.
Two touches of Portuguese class
The canaries returned from the locker room with the desire to circumvent the text and, at the very start of the second period, André Franco was very close to beating Vlachodimos, if Vertonghen had not appeared on the line to deny the equality.
He didn’t mark Estoril, he marked Benfica. In the 53rd minute, with an insistent gesture, Gilberto discovers Gonçalo Ramos inside the penalty area and the Portuguese striker finally manages to put the ball back on his feet, thus extending the lead of the match.
From then on, the Luz team limited themselves to controlling the advantage (Rafa still tried to score a brace from outside the box), due to the wear and tear accumulated with European games, trying to get Estoril away from his goal, which didn’t scare the goalkeeper embodied in the final stretch, on a direct free kick taken by André Franco.
However, in injury time, in a well-conceived move by the Canaries, it would be André Franco who appeared in Vlachodimos’ face to reduce the disadvantage in the match, moments before the final whistle.
With the result, Benfica remain in third place, now with 61 points, six behind rivals Sporting, while Estoril are in seventh place, with 34, two behind Vitória SC.
Game time: Rafa Silva’s great goal. Not just for the quality, but for the time it appeared. Benfica began to present some difficulties, facing a slightly more comfortable Estoril, until the Portuguese striker had a great moment of inspiration, started the bike, ran from one end to the other and mark.
Benfica: Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Vertonghen, Otamendi, Grimaldo; Julian Weigl, Meite, Everton Cebolinha, Rafa; Yaremchuk and Goncalo Ramos
Estoril: Daniel Figueira; Carles Soria, Raul Silva, Ferraresi, Joãozinho; João Gamboa, Francisco Geraldes, André Franco; Jordi Mboula, Arthur Gomes and Leonardo Ruiz
Five days after qualifying for the ‘quarters’ of the Champions League, Benfica will focus, this Sunday, on the reception at Estoril, in a match counting for the 27th day of I Liga.
Unbeaten for eight games, the Reds have softened their defensive record and managed to finish two of the last matches without conceding a goal, something they will certainly want to continue to stabilize.
On the other side, there will be an Estoril who returned to triumphs in the last round, against Portimonense (2-0), and who maintains European prospects, with a view to sixth place, a position that only the end of the season we know whether or not to give a passport to European events.
Playing twice in a row for the championship in Luz, Benfica – without the suspended Darwin and Taarabt – will try to correct the misadventure against Vizela (1-1), consolidate third position and continue to dream of second place.
We must also remember that Estoril no longer knows what it is to score at La Luz (1-1) since 2012/13, in a match that had a clear influence on the outcome of the championship, which would be precisely won by FC Porto. in the final straight.
The match between Benfica and Estoril is scheduled for this Sunday, at 6 p.m., at the Estádio da Luz, and will be judged by referee Nuno Almeida. You can follow the incidents of the match live on Esporte ao Minuto.
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