Preview: On the verge of winning the league, Benfica has to overturn a one goal deficit
Benfica took another step towards the Portuguese League title on Sunday, with a 0-2 victory over Arouca. Jorge Jesus’ side can now claim their 33rd league championship on Sunday, when they host Olhanense at the Estádio da Luz.
First, they will need to turn a negative result against rivals Porto in the Taça de Portugal.
The Águias have won this competition a record 24 times, but the last time they raised the trophy was in 2004. In a matter of a few days, they will have a chance to book a place in the final, as well as claim the Portuguese League.
There will be no all-Spanish final come May 14, 2014. However, Sevilla coach Unai Emery is content with Friday's results of the draw. Here is why:
“We think it is going to be a really attractive tie and one that will take a Spanish team through to the final, which is good for the national game.”
Likewise, Valencia defender Ricardo Costa was happy with the outcome of the Europa League semis draw. He said:
“I wanted us to face Sevilla because we can beat them and get to the final, where I would like to meet Benfica.”
Preview: Benfica out to end AZ Alkmaar's dreams of a Europa League Final
The Estadio da Luz will be the venue for the Champions League final this season. But before that can happen, Benfica will welcome Dutch side AZ Alkmaar to the Portuguese capital, for a Europa League quarterfinal match.
A 0-1 victory in the first-leg for Jorge Jesus’ side has them in the driver’s seat heading into Thursday night. Eduardo Salvio’s side volley beat AZ’s goalkeeper in the second half, marking his first goal since a lengthy recovery from a knee injury.
Benfica’s home form will be a concern for the visitors. Undefeated in their last 44 matches at the Estadio da Luz, the Portuguese League leaders will aim to make it 45 on Thursday night. Their last defeat in Lisbon came on October 2, 2012, against Barcelona, where the Catalans came away with a 0-2 victory.
Preview: Benfica and AZ Alkmaar meet for the first time in an official match
Benfica’s current run of form has been fantastic, and they will look to continue that on Thursday night in Holland.
Jorge Jesus’ side is currently sitting top of the Portuguese League with a seven point lead over Lisbon rivals Sporting CP. They continued their fine form at the weekend with a victory over Braga, after coming up short mid-week against Porto in the first leg of the Taça de Portugal quarterfinals.
After getting eliminated from the Champions League in a group that saw PSG and Olympiakos go through, the Eagles are looking to make their way back to the Europa League final.
Preview: Rivalry renewed, in a vital cup match
Benfica and Porto have gone down two separate paths this season. The Lisbon side got off to a slow start, but have since sorted things out. They are top of the Portuguese League, they are still in the Taça de Portugal and the Taça da Liga, and they are in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
As for the Dragões, they have had to deal with a lot of obstacles this season. After claiming the Portuguese League title last season, their newly appointed manager was dismissed just a few weeks ago.
Preview: Injuries are a big concern for Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur travel to Lisbon to take on the current Portuguese League leaders. After a 1-3 defeat at home against the Eagles, the English side are in desperate need of a miracle.
Adding to Tim Sherwood’s problems are a number of injuries that will put Tottenham against the wall on Thursday evening.
Jan Vertonghen is suspended for this match after picking up a yellow card in the first leg. Younes Kaboul also picked up an injury at the weekend against Arsenal, which has ruled him out of the match in Lisbon. With Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches already out, Sherwood has no central defenders at his disposal.
It is likely that Brazilian midfielder Sandro will be forced to fill in at the back, alongside Belgian defender Zeki Fryers, who is naturally a fullback.
Preview: After watching Sporting win on Sunday, Benfica is now under pressure
Sunday’s result between Sporting and Porto will apply some pressure to Benfica on Monday. The current league leaders are four points clear of their Lisbon rivals, but could move back to seven points with a victory against Nacional.
Jorge Jesus’ squad has been in impressive form this season, despite their slow start to the 2013/14 campaign.
Undefeated in their last 24 matches across all competitions, Benfica will try to make it 25. Their last defeat was in Greece against Olympiakos, in a match that could well have been won, had it not been for a stellar performance from the Greek’s goalkeeper.
Preview: Two Europa League favorites go head-to-head at White Hart Lane
Thursday’s fixture between Benfica and Tottenham promises to be one of the more exciting of this round. With both sides heading in opposite directions at the moment, Benfica could be dubbed as the favorite to progress to the next round.
Last season’s Europa League finalists have bounced back quite well, after a disappointing end to their season.
Jorge Jesus’ side had the opportunity to claim the Portuguese League, Taça de Portugal and the Europa League, but they came up short in all competitions.
Preview: Sporting aiming to end their winless streak at the Estádio da Luz
The Lisbon Derby always brings out the best of both these clubs. Sporting’s recent record at the Estádio da Luz should also give them some extra incentive to want to come out on top.
This meeting between Lisbon’s giants will involve a lot of passion, rivalry and love for the game. When Benfica and Sporting CP meet, it always means more than just a match, or even just the three points that are at stake. And on Sunday afternoon, both these sides will battle for the top spot in the Portuguese League.
Sunday’s match will be their 301st official meeting against each other.
Preview: Portuguese giants will need a memorable night to go through to the knockout round
Benfica's name has generally been one that is associated with European Football, for many years now. With the UEFA Champions League Final being hosted at their stadium, the Portuguese side's hopes of making it to that final are now in the balance heading into Tuesday night's match.
Jorge Jesus' side has not started the new season very well, despite a number of new acquisitions in the squad. Apart from that, no key figures left from last season's roster, which has caused fans to question the manager.
Preview: Hosts want to distance themselves, while Arouca tries to climb the league standings
Benfica is even on points with their same city rivals Sporting CP at the top of the table, but a victory on Friday would move them three points clear. Friday's match will also be Jorge Jesus' 400th match in the Portuguese League, but due to a suspension, he will have to watch the match from the stands.
Since his arrival at the club, the Portuguese manager has turned the Lisbon side into an offensive powerhouse.
Preview: Attack, attack, attack in do-or-die affair
Benfica opened up their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Anderlecht at the Estádio da Luz. Since then, they have lost to Olympiakos and PSG away from home, while they also drew with the Greek outfit in a very rainy affair in Lisbon.
That now leaves them third in the group, needing to win both their remaining matches, while also needing for Olympiakos to not win either of their remaining two match. If they fail to do that, a relegation to the Europa League could be probable, but they will need to get past Anderlecht first.
Preview: Lisbon Derby takes center stage in the Portuguese capital
For years now, Benfica and Sporting CP have been battling it out for supremacy in the Portuguese capital. Unfortunately for the Lions, they have not been able to jump ahead of their same city rivals. On Saturday, they will meet again in the Portuguese Cup, in a match that promises to have a lot of excitement.
Both sides have already met in the domestic league this season, with Benfica grabbing a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Preview: Environment in the stadium will play a big part
It is well known that the Olympiakos fans are very passionate, and on Tuesday, they will get another chance to prove that. After a 1-1 draw in Lisbon that could well have been a victory, the Greek side will be looking for the full three points on their home soil.
The Greek champions have not progressed to the knockout stage since the 2009/10 campaign, which should give them some extra motivation with three group matches remaining.
Another motivating factor for the hosts will be their latest meeting with the Lisbon side at the Georgios Karaiskaki. A 5-1 victory for the Greek side sent the Portuguese outfit home in complete disbelief, but with Jorge Jesus at the helm now, the Portuguese manager will know the importance of Tuesday's match.
Preview: This could be the key match for both clubs
Both Benfica and Olympiakos come into Wednesday's match at the Estádio da Luz with three points. And oddly enough, they both defeated Anderlecht, while they both lost to PSG by a three goal margin.
The Portuguese outfit struggled at times in their opening match against Anderlecht, but they were able to get the job done, with a 2-0 victory. Their second match in the group did not go so well, as they traveled to Paris to take on Ibrahimovic and his very talented PSG side.
Preview: PSG's high-flying offense could cause problems for Benfica
Since all the money was injected into PSG, they have not been able to establish themselves in European Football. While they've won Ligue 1, and came close to eliminating Barcelona in the Champions League, given the amount of talent they have, a European title should be expected.
On Wednesday they will take another step towards that, when they welcome Benfica to the Parc de Princes.
The Portuguese side has not started their domestic campaign off in the greatest form, but they were able to defeat Anderlecht 2-0 in Lisbon in their opening group match. Goals from Djuricic and Luisão lifted the Águias past the Belgian side.
Preview: Starting off with a victory in the opening match is very important
A defeat in their opening Portuguese League match against Maritimo had fans calling for Jorge Jesus' head.
Since then, the Águias managed to escape another embarrassing result at home against Gil Vicente, with two late goals. A draw away to Lisbon rivals Sporting CP, and their latest triumph over Paços de Ferreira now has their fans feeling more confident heading into their match against Anderlecht on Tuesday.
What will not have them happy is the large number of injuries they are dealing with so early in the season.
Preview: Benfica's dominance in the Lisbon Derby could be put to the test
These two Lisbon sides have been battling it out for years, but over time, Benfica's dominance in the Portuguese capital has been more than evident. The Águias have claimed a record 32 Portuguese League titles, to Sporting's 18.
And although Sporting finished outside of the European spots last season, the Leões seem poised to put themselves back in the discussion for the title race.
For years now they have struggled with poor management, a number of suspect signings, as well as lack of payment to their players. Since the arrival of their new president, things have changed at the Estádio José Alvalade. The players have more confidence, they have a squad that believes in themselves and their manager, and the fans can finally smile after a long road of disappointment.
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When Oscar Cardozo arrived at Benfica on June 21, 2007, fans had never heard of him. After six years with the club, Cardozo is not only a well known name, but he has managed to earn himself a spot in Benfica's history books.
He may not be the quickest, or the flashiest, but his ability to put the ball in the back of the net has made up for what ever he may lack. Missing the occasional tap in is something he can be accused of, but more often than not, he tends to bounce back from that let down.
From his 161 goals scored for the Lisbon side, all of that went out the window after the final whistle against Vitoria Guimaraes in the Portuguese Cup Final.