Porto vs. Benfica  2 - 1

Article

Jesus insists Benfica are focused

14 May 2013 20:06

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus says his players have moved on from their heart-breaking loss to Porto ahead of the UEFA Europa League final.

The Lisbon club saw their chances of winning the Primeira Liga go up in flames on Sunday, as they lost for the first time in the league campaign to Vitor Pereira's side thanks to a stoppage-time Kelvin goal.

The result could have been a fatal blow to Benfica's hopes of winning Europe's second-tier club competition, but Jesus insisted his players have recovered and are excited ahead of Wednesday's final against Chelsea in Amsterdam.

"A Portuguese league game, although very important, has nothing to do with the final of a European competition," Jesus said.

"It wasn't very difficult to try and change the frame of mind (among the players), because the fact you're here is a positive sign and creates a positive mindset for the players.

"They're highly motivated for tomorrow to be at the highest level, technically, tactically, and in terms of emotional balance."

The Portuguese outfit won the European Cup in 1961 and 1962, but have lost six continental finals since, and Jesus believes the club are making progress in their bid to become a heavyweight of continental football again.

"Benfica is a club that, throughout its history, has had an excellent performance in terms of European club competitions," he said.

"It created a name for itself, like Real Madrid and AC Milan, in the 60s and 70s. These were the teams in the most finals.

"It hasn't been the same in recent history. But last year we reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League…so we've been recovering our international prestige."

Jesus hailed Chelsea, who he said are improved this season, and he labelled Rafael Benitez's side as favourites for the match.

"In my opinion the strongest teams in the Europa League reached the final," he said.

"Chelsea is an excellent team and they will finish the Premier League in third place which shows their quality. Chelsea this year has other players which give it a different quality in my opinion.

"They have better individuals, Oscar and (Eden) Hazard (who will miss the final), so these two players have a technical quality missing last year.

"It's normal people think Chelsea is the favourite but a final is a final and we have a different way of looking at those statistics. We have all the possibility of becoming winners tomorrow."

Article

Kelvin thrilled with Porto late show

12 May 2013 03:01

Porto striker Kelvin was overjoyed after scoring in his team's 2-1 victory over Benfica to put them in pole position to win the Primeira Liga.

The 19-year-old prospect came off the bench to great effect by netting an emphatic strike in the last minute, taking his side a crucial point clear ahead of Jorge Jesus' men in the league standings, with just one game remaining.

"My happiness is huge, and I thank God for everything," the Brazilian talent gushed to Sport TV after the match. "It was a historic goal for me, I'm just starting my career.

"I got the pass from Liedson, I controlled and shot with my left. The coach asked for the same thing from me as against Sporting Braga. I got away from my marker well and scored the goal.

"You can watch our games, and everything we have done is deserved. There is one game to go to seal the championship. Now we will focus on the game against Pacos de Ferreira."

Kelvin has now managed three goals in seven appearances for Porto since joining them from Parana.

The defending champions are in the driving seat to win their third consecutive title, having gone the entire season unbeaten.

Article

Primeira Liga Wrap: Late Kelvin strike puts Porto in control

12 May 2013 02:20

A late strike from Brazilian substitute Kelvin has helped Porto into the box seat for the Primeira Liga title after a 2-1 win over Benfica.

Porto (75 points) leapfrogged Benfica (74) to the top of the Portuguese league standings with a thrilling come-from-behind victory at the Estadio Do Dragao to take a one-point lead into the final round of the Primeira Liga season.

Benfica, who have led the Primeira Liga since March 3, took the lead through Lima but an own goal from Maxi Pereira ensured Saturday's match was level at half-time, with Kelvin's 92nd-minute winner sending the home crowd crazy just before the final whistle.

The top-of-the-table clash in Porto was effectively set up to decide the league title, with visiting Benfica knowing victory would see them crowned champions, while the hosts needed three points to make sure of the title.

Benfica struck the first blow in the 19th minute when a long throw into Porto's defensive penalty area fell at the feet of Ezequiel Gray, who thumped a strike towards goal, which deflected to Lima for a simple tap in at the back post.

It took Porto just eight minutes to equalise as Silvestre Varela was released in behind Benfica's defence and his left-wing cross was deflected by the outstretched leg of Pereira, deceiving visiting goalkeeper Artur at his near post.

Despite Porto having more possession (60 percent to Benfica's 40) and shots on goal (14 to 9), the match looked on track for a draw until Kelvin popped up in second-half stoppage time.

The 19-year-old midfielder played a one-two with fellow substitute Liedson before thumping a left-footed strike across Artur and into the far side of the net to clinch a vital victory for Porto.

The reigning Primeira Liga champions will be assured of a third consecutive league title next week if they defeat third-placed Pacos de Ferreira, while Benfica, who face Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday, will hope Porto slip up so they can clinch the Portuguese championship with a final-day win against second-bottom Moreirense.

Pacos de Ferreira wrapped up Portugal's berth in the qualifying stages of next season's Champions League with a 1-1 draw at Academica as fourth-placed Sporting Braga were stunned 3-1 at home by Nacional.

Moreirense kept their hopes of survival alive with a 1-0 win over Vitoria Setubal to only trail Olhahense, who sit outside the relegation zone, on goal difference.

Olhahense lost 1-0 to Sporting Lisbon, while Beira-Mar dropped to the bottom of the table below Moreirense after a 2-1 defeat to Estoril.

In other results, Maritimo knocked off Vitoria Guimaraes 1-0 and Rio Ave triumphed 2-1 over Gil Vicente.

Article

Primeira Liga Preview: Benfica eye title win

9 May 2013 11:01

Unbeaten Benfica could wrap up the Primeira Liga title on Saturday, when they travel to closest rivals Porto.

Heading into the penultimate round of fixtures, Benfica hold a two-point lead over their arch rivals with both sides unbeaten after 28 matches.

A win for Jorge Jesus' Benfica side would guarantee a 33rd Primeira Liga title, but a loss could undo all their hard work.

Benfica play bottom side Moreirense in their final league game of the campaign, while Porto face a tougher assignment - away at third-placed Pacos de Ferreira.

Vitor Pereira's Porto side will be desperate for three points as they aim to overhaul Benfica at the Estadio Do Dragao and retain their league title.

Pacos, meanwhile, can make sure of third place and a place in the Champions League qualifiers with a win at Academia.

Sporting Braga are assured of at least a place in the Europa League, and they play host to Nacional at the Estadio AXA.

Four teams are still in the running for fifth place and the final Europa League berth, although Vitoria Guimaraes can make it their own with a win at Maritimo.

Guimaraes are one point ahead of Estoril, who host second-bottom Beira-Mar, while Sporting Lisbon and Rio Ave (both four points behind Guimaraes) welcome Olhanense and Gil Vicente respectively.

Moreirense are still capable of avoiding relegation, but will be keen for full points when they host Vitoria Setubal.

Primeira Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 30 +56 78
2 30 +57 77
3 30 +13 54
4 30 +16 52
5 30 +10 45
6 30 -7 42
7 30 +0 42
8 30 -6 40
9 30 -11 40
10 30 -11 38
11 30 -12 28
12 30 -25 26
13 30 -23 25
14 30 -16 25
15 30 -21 24
16 30 -20 23