Benfica vs. Fenerbahçe  3 - 1


Jesus revels in Benfica triumph

3 May 2013 02:31

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus has claimed his side were always confident they would overcome Fenerbahce to reach the Europa League final.

A brace from Oscar Cardozo secured a 3-1 win at Estadio da Luz on Thursday, sending Benfica into their first European final in 23 years with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.

Jesus believes his side deserve their place in the final in Amsterdam against Chelsea following their form in the Europa League this season, describing Fenerbahce as far from their toughest opponents.

Fenerbahce hit the woodwork three times in last week's first leg in Istanbul but had to settle for a 1-0 victory, which arguably cost them over 180 minutes, however, Jesus felt Newcastle and Bayer Leverkusen were better than the Turkish Super Lig side.

"To be in the final is historic, we deserved to win, we've had a fantastic Europa League," Jesus said after the match.

"We knew after the first leg we had more of a team than Fenerbahce.

"We were convinced we could eliminate them.

"They're a team that did not create us many problems.

"Newcastle and Bayer Leverkusen (opponents in the earlier rounds) are stronger than this team."

Benfica needed just eight minutes to level the two-legged tie on Thursday when Nicolas Gaitan scored but a 23rd-minute penalty from Dirk Kuyt meant the Portuguese hosts needed to score two more goals.

Cardozo notched the first of those 10 minutes before half-time.

Jesus claimed he had reminded his players to be patient at the break and that patience paid off in the 66th minute when Cardozo struck again.

"We had very strong momentum," Jesus said.

"Our opponents cannot have many arguments.

"We were a better team.

"At half-time I told the players to relax, that we would score goals."

Fenerbahce coach Aykut Kocaman said his team have proved they belong among the best, but felt Benfica's superior experience made the difference in the match.

"I am sad about the result, especially about the second goal we conceded against Benfica,"

"The team are more than good enough to play at this level and we have proved that. I would like to have the same players for the team next season so we can compete for trophies once again.

"Today, Fenerbahce were lacking in the experience needed to win this and Benfica showed they have a lot more experience in the Europa League and that is why they won this game."


UEFA Europa League: Benfica 3 Fenerbahce 1 (Agg 3-2)

2 May 2013 23:14

Benfica beat Fenerbahce 3-1 at the Stadium of Light to set up a UEFA Europa League final showdown against Chelsea.

Nicolas Gaitan scored the first goal of the match and earned the hosts the lead through a clever finish with the outside of his boot, before Dirk Kuyt equalised with a penalty.

Oscar Cardozo restored Benica's lead in 35th minute with a fierce drive from the edge of the box before getting his second after half-time with another unstoppable strike inside penalty area to complete a 3-2 aggregate win.

They will meet Chelsea in the final at the Amsterdam Arena on May 15, following the English Premier League club's 5-2 aggregate victory over Basel.

Gaitan returned from injury for Benfica to replace the suspended Ola John, while Enzo Perez made his comeback after missing the first leg through suspension.

With Raul Meireles missing the rest of the season through injury, teenager Salih Ucan replaced him in the Fenerbahce midfield.

Benfica started the match in positive fashion as they looked to overturn their first-leg deficit. Cardozo had the first chance of the night, showing neat control on the edge of the box, but his half-volley was saved easily.

The early pressure did pay off for Benfica in the ninth minute as Rodrigo Lima made a clever run down the right and his cut-back was met perfectly by Gaitan, who used the outside of his left foot to guide the ball home, clipping the post on the way in.

The hosts tried to press home their advantage and Cardozo met a Maxi Pereira cross but failed to get clean contact and headed wide of the goal.

Then, completely against the run of play, Fenerbahce hauled themselves level courtesy of a Kuyt penalty. Ezequiel Garay was adjudged to have handled in the area but the decision looked a harsh one as the ball appeared to strike the Argentine defender while his back was turned during an aerial challenge with Caner Erkin.

Kuyt's goal changed the dynamic of the game and Moussa Sow twice got in behind the Benfica defence, first producing a smart save from Artur Moraes before a heavy touch led to a rushed shot that he put wide of the goal.

The Portuguese side recovered their composure, however, and regained the lead in the 35th minute. A quickly taken Perez free-kick found Cardozo on the edge of the box and he turned brilliantly to find space for the shot and powered his effort into the bottom right-hand corner.

Kuyt almost had a second soon after. A ball flashed across the Benfica six-yard area, it went beyond Sow and found its way to the Dutchman, but he side-footed into the side-netting from an acute angle.

Benfica looked to force the issue after the break, as Cardozo once again went close before a crucial interception by Gokhan Gonul stopped Garay heading back across goal to the unmarked Paraguayan.

There was a lengthy break after a brave clearance from Gonul saw him take a Gaitan volley square in the face. The full-back was carried off on a stretcher to a standing ovation.

Undeterred by the break in play, Benfica continued to push and took the lead in the tie in the 66th minute. A long throw from the right followed by a miscued Luisao effort led to Cardozo finding space in the box to fire in his second of the game.

Lima had the chance to kill the tie but he shot straight at the goalkeeper after going through one on one, with Cardozo screaming for it to his right.

Fenerbahce pushed hard in the final minutes, but they were unable to find a way past the Benfica defence, as the Portuguese side celebrated on the final whistle.


Fenerbahce must work for final spot, warns Kocaman

1 May 2013 23:11

Fenerbahce boss Aykut Kocaman believes the second leg of his side’s UEFA Europa League semi-final with Benfica is finely poised.

The Turkish outfit will travel to the Estadio de Luz with a 1-0 lead from the first leg but Kocaman feels the tie is far from over, suggesting home advantage will be a major factor in the return clash.

He said: "It is one of the most vital games in our history. Even 1-0 up, I believe chances are equal for both teams.

"We are not through. They are stronger here and have the fans with them. In our last training session, we practised penalties."

Goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, on the other hand, was much more confident about securing a place in the final.
It will be the first time that Fenerbahce have reached a major European cup final and Demirel said he wants to achieve this for the club’s fans.

"We have great respect for Benfica. They are a good side, who play well as a team and we are talking about one of the best European teams," he said.

"We are on top now and I am almost certain that we’ll be in the final. I am very proud and I hope now to give a present to all Fenerbahce fans."

If the Turkish side are able to reach the final, they will face the winners of Basel and Chelsea with the English side taking a 2-1 win lead into their return tie on Thursday.


Europa League Preview: Benfica v Fenerbahce

30 April 2013 18:03

Benfica's home form could get them across the line in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final versus Fenerbahce.

Although Fenerbahce enter Thursday's match at the Estadio da Luz with a 1-0 lead, following their triumph in Istanbul last week, Benfica will have plenty of confidence at their home stadium as they have lost there just once all season.

Barcelona defeated Benfica in the UEFA Champions League's group stage in October, but the leaders of Portugal's Liga Sagres have only missed out on victory on three other occasions, with draws against Sporting Braga, Porto and Pacos de Ferreira.

Benfica's impressive home record extends even further in the Europa League as the Lisbon-based club have not lost in 14 matches, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Ukraine's Metalist Kharkiv in December 2008.

But Fenerbahce will hold out hope they can catch their hosts on the break at the Estadio da Luz, as Benfica have only kept two clean sheets at home in continental competition in 2012-13.

Because of his team's frail defensive record in Europe this season, Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus is likely to rely on his squad's attacking strengths.

Oscar Cardozo and Ola John have been Jesus' leading marksmen in Europe this campaign.

Paraguay's Cardozo has scored six goals and produced two assists, while his Dutch team-mate has struck twice and set up another two goals.

Fenerbahce won last week's first leg thanks to Egemen Korkmaz's header in the 72nd minute, but the Turkish club could have taken an even larger lead to Portugal had Moussa Sow, Cristian Baroni and Dirk Kuyt scored instead of hitting the woodwork.

Baroni's miss was particularly glaring, as the Brazilian midfielder cracked his penalty onto the post in first-half stoppage time, while for Benfica, Nicolas Gaitan also clipped the woodwork in the second half.

Benfica bounced back from that loss with a 2-1 win away to Maritimo on Monday to move within a win of wrapping up the Liga Sagres title, while Fenerbahce defeated Kayserispor 2-1, with Baroni converting an 89th-minute penalty to clinch victory.

Baroni has been crucial to Fenerbahce head coach Aykut Kocaman this season with the 29-year-old playmaker having scored 11 goals and created another 10 in all competitions.

The winner of the two-legged semi-final will face either Chelsea or FC Basel in the Europa League final at the Amsterdam Arena on May 15.

Primeira Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 23 +50 61
2 23 +44 56
3 23 +33 56
4 23 +25 49
5 23 +0 36

Süper Lig table

# Team MP D P
1 22 +20 46
2 22 +20 44
3 22 +20 44
4 22 +20 41
5 22 +5 35
18+ GambleAware