Posts Tagged ‘Bayer Leverkusen’

Benfica earned a well-deserved 2-1 victory against Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen at the Estádio da Luz on Thursday night. The win means that the Portuguese side advance 3-1 on aggregate and will face French side Bordeaux on March 6th in the next round of the Europa League.

After a scoreless first half where Leverkusen created the majority of chances, Jorge Jesus’ club emerged a better club in the second half. In the 60th minute, they were rewarded when Dutch winger Ola John dribbled into the box and struck the ball over Bernd Leno for the opening goal.

The German side, though looking increasingly frustrated did not quit. In the 75th minute, Leverkusen forward Andre Schürrle struck a well-timed volley past Artur. Two minutes later however, substitute Lima received a long-range pass from Artur deep into Leverkusen territory which he crossed to Nemanja Matić for the deciding goal.

Jorge Jesus spoke to SIC television after his club’s victory and was quick to praise his club’s effort. “We played against a good team, who plays in the best league in the world. Germany has three clubs in the Champions League, Bayern Munique, Dortmund and Schalke. Leverkusen is at their level. In order to eliminate them, we had to play very well both games. We are happy but we have more to do,” he said.

Jesus added the club needed to remain focused on their next opponents which is Paços de Ferreira who have surprised everyone this season and remain third in the domestic league. He added that the match against Bordeaux will be a “duelo duro” or golden duel.

The news was not all positive for Benfica on this night. Nemanja Matic picked up another yellow card in the closing minutes of the match and will miss the next first leg against Bordeaux. Carlos Martins also left this match with an undisclosed injury in the second half.

In other Europa League action on Thursday, Andre Villas-Boas eliminated Olympique Lyonnais advancing 3-2 on aggregate. Despite losing 3-1 to Liverpool at Anfield, Zenit St.Petersburg hung on to advance on away goals. Former Porto player Hulk scored the only goal for the Russian side, while Portuguese internationals Danny and Luis Neto both started the match.

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Oscar Cardozo’s goal in the 61st minute of play gave Benfica a deserving victory over one of the best clubs in this year’s Europa Cup competition.

The goal came as Jorge Jesus’ club came close to conceding a goal moments before. Andre Almeida who was playing right-back for the Águias crossed the ball into the box. Cardozo sought the opportunity, dribbled past a defender and slid it over Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno for the only goal of the game.

The Portuguese side have the added advantage of having an away goal going into the second leg on February 21st at the Estádio da Luz.

The news was not so good for Portuguese players on foreign clubs on Thursday. Fenerbahçe and Portuguese international midfielder Raul Meireles received a straight red in the 4th minute of play against Belarussian club Bate.

The former FC Porto player was dismissed after a hard tackle on former Stuttgart and Arsenal player Aliaksandr Hleb. Luckily, his Turkish club held on to the 0-0 draw going into the second leg in Istanbul, which Meireles will be ineligible for. But Meireles’ terrible first season in Turkey continues.

The result was not so good for Rolando, who is on loan at Italian club Napoli. Rolando received his first start for the club, playing in the middle of a three-man backline. But it was a match to forget for the Porto defender, as Napoli went on to lose 3-0 to Czech club Viktoria Plzeň.

Elsewhere Luis Neto and Danny started the match for Zenit St.Petersburg as they went on to defeat Liverpool 2-0. Former Porto attacker Hulk opened the scoring for the Russian club.

Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham side continued to impress with a 2-1 victory over French side Olympique Lyonnais. Gareth Bale scored both goals for the Spurs, the winner coming in the closing minutes of the match.

Portuguese midfielder Sergio Pinto’s Hannover 96 lost 3-1 to Russian side Anzhi. Olympiakos’ Paulo Machado could do little to prevent a 3-0 defeat by Levante in Spain.

Miguel Veloso’ Dynamo Kyiv drew 1-1 with Bordeaux in the Ukraine. Romanian club CFR Cluj started 5 Portuguese players but lost 2-0 to Inter Milan. Rodrigo Palacio scored both goals after coming on for his injured countrymen Diego Milito.

Former Portugal international Tiago played the entire match for Atletico Madrid who lost 2-0 to Rubin Kazan despite playing the entire second half with an extra man. Former Sporting player Bruno Pererinha was featured on the bench for his new club Lazio but did not play in the Italian team’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Edgar Jiménez

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Edgar Jiménez

Round 18 of the Portuguese league was certainly one to remember. FC Porto missed an opportunity to go top of the League on Sunday when they drew 1-1 with Olhanense at the Dragão.

Targino opened the scoring for Olhanense in the 7th minute, allowing the Algarve club to assume a more defensive approach. Porto’s Colombian striker Jackson Martinez evened the score in the 55th minute of play.

Manager Vitor Pereira told Sport TV after the match: “Olhanense managed to score early and from there they were never disorganized. We wasted many good opportunities. We never like to lose two points but they deserved the draw. We tried everything to win but in the end it did not go our way. We have to continue working hard,” Pereira said.

Benfica drew 2-2 with Nacional in Madeira earlier in the day in a match full of controversy. Referee Pedro Proença issued three red cards in the match including two straight reds to Benfica’s Oscar Cardozo and Nemanja Matić.

In the 89th minute Cardozo reportedly kicked Brazilian defender Fernando Marçal when he would not give up the ball. Proença also issued Marçal his second yellow of the game for time wasting. Later, Matić was sent off deep in extra time for allegedly striking Olhanense’s forward Candeias in the face.

Cardozo’s agent Pedro Aldave told Radio Renascença that there is always controversy when Proença is assigned to referee matches involving Benfica. The league is expected to look at both incidents and suspensions are likely.

Diego Barcellos and Mateus scored for Nacional, while Benfica’s goals came by way of an own goal by Nacional defender Mexer and Uruguanyan midfielder Jonathan Urretaviscaya.

Porto and Benfica are tied at the top of the league with 46 points in 18 matches this campaign. Os Encarnados play German club Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday.

The news was much worse for Sporting Lisbon. Jesualdo Ferreira’s side lost to Marítimo on Sunday. Hyun-Jun Suk scored in the 18th minute to win the match 1-0. Sporting were unable to get much offense going. They have scored the fewest goals of any club in the league so far this year.

Ferreira remarked that he could not remember a time when Sporting had the worst attack in the league this late in the season.

“We have scored 5 goals in the last five games, today was the only match where we failed to score. The team has been producing more scoring chances than before, but our recent form has been marked by poor finishing. This creates a general lack of confidence, especially in critical moments,” Ferreira added.

Highly regarded youngster Bruma played the entire first half for the club and generally played well. We was subbed in favour of Andre Carrillo to start the second half.

Sporting now remain 9 points behind 5th place Rio-Ave for the final Europa League position for next campaign. The Vila do Conde club beat Academica of Coimbra 2-1 on Sunday. Bebé scored the winner early in the second half.

On Monday night, Sporting Braga host Paços de Ferreira at the Estádio AXA. Braga could reclaim third place with a win.