Porto get nervous as Benfica implode

Published July 1, 2020
FUNCHAL (Portugal): Benfica’s Dyego Sousa (L) challenges Maritimo goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh during their Portuguese League match at the Maritimo Stadium.—AFP
FUNCHAL (Portugal): Benfica’s Dyego Sousa (L) challenges Maritimo goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh during their Portuguese League match at the Maritimo Stadium.—AFP

LISBON: Porto might have been handed a pathway to regaining the Portuguese championship from Benfica but coach Sergio Conceicao says watching their arch rivals implode has only served to make his players nervous.

The two sides perennially battle for dominance in Portugal but Benfica have suffered a horror drop in form since the return from the Covid-19 lockdown, allowing Porto to go six points clear with five games left.

Benfica lost 2-0 at struggling Maritimo on Monday but the result hardly emboldened Porto for their match later that night at Pacos Ferreira.

“We can’t think too much about what the others are doing because then we end up not doing our job,” said Conceicao after his side’s unconvincing 1-0 victory moved them onto 70 points, six clear of Benfica.

“In fact, there was some anxiety in the game due to the fact that players were aware of other result, which is something they now have easy access to,” he added.

“The total focus has to be on our work. We depend only on ourselves and we have to win our games. Crisis at other clubs is not our concern.”

Benfica will look to cut the deficit when they host Boavista on Saturday while Porto host Belenenses the following day. Porto finished two points behind Benfica in last year’s title race but were champions in 2018.

Overall Benfica have won 37 championships to Porto’s 28. The pair have been won every league title since Sporting Lisbons 2002 success.

On Tuesday, Benfica said in a statement to Portugal’s CMVM market regulator

the club are negotiating with coach Bruno Lage to end his contract after the team’s dismal run continued with the Maritimo loss.

The club said the talks were aimed at ending Lage’s contract with “immediate effect.”

After Monday’s game, club president Luis Filipe Vieira said that Lage had offered his resignation without saying whether it had been accepted.

“Our coach came to me at the end of the game and said with great dignity: ‘President, I am putting myself at your disposal because I understand that things are not good for Benfica,’” Vieira told reporters.

Lage himself gave a separate post-match interview but did not mention that he was resigning.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020

Opinion

Press and power
25 Sep 2021

Press and power

None used the press so brazenly as the Modi government.
Once upon a Taliban
Updated 25 Sep 2021

Once upon a Taliban

Something, somewhere is terribly wrong with how this story is unfolding.
Foundation of healthcare
24 Sep 2021

Foundation of healthcare

Primary healthcare is as much for healthy individuals as it for those suffering from ill health.

Editorial

25 Sep 2021

NAB controversy

THE completion of the four-year term of NAB chairman Javed Iqbal early next month has afforded Prime Minister Imran...
Cabinet ‘inclusivity’
Updated 25 Sep 2021

Cabinet ‘inclusivity’

Voices are being raised questioning when the much-hyped inclusivity the group had talked about will materialise.
25 Sep 2021

Quorum malady

LACK of quorum has become a chronic problem for the present National Assembly which is in the process of becoming a...
24 Sep 2021

Costs of growth

IS Pakistan’s growth party over? Not yet. But both the State Bank and government are now cutting down on the items...
Smear campaign
Updated 24 Sep 2021

Smear campaign

It is commendable that the government has taken the matter as seriously as it has, and delved deep into cyber investigations.
24 Sep 2021

Rising dengue cases

THE dengue monster is once again rearing its head in different cities of Punjab. More than 820 cases have surfaced ...