Benfica and Sporting return to Europe under the sign of ’10’
Benfica at Galatasaray and Villarreal host Sporting Clube de Portugal on Thursday played two matches in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League’s 16 UEFA Europa League finals.
The Uncharted 10-0 of the ‘incarnates’ to the National ran the world and the ten marks also the form of Turks, who have not lost 10 games, and Spaniards, who have not won for 10, as well as the ‘lion’ Bruno Fernandes, finished to reach the 10 goals in the I Liga.
The hostilities open in Istanbul at 20:55 local time (17:55 in Lisbon), with a clash between two high-profile, moralized teams who took advantage of the weekend to get closer to the leaders of their respective championships.
Benfica did it overwhelmingly, reaching ten goals, something they could not do more than 20 years ago, more precisely since December 4, 1994, when they dispatched the ‘tertiary’ Marinhense 12-0 to the Cup from Portugal.
To find a record in the tens against a team from the same division, however, it is necessary to retreat more than half a century, to the 60s, to 11-3 of May 2, 1965, and to 10-0 of 02 of February 1964, both against Seixal.
Bruno Lage’s side could not have been more motivated, as the triumph allowed Benfica to put themselves within a scant distance of leaders Porto in the Portuguese league when, a month and five rounds ago, the gap was seven.
Benfica, who have never been knocked out by a Turkish side and were runners-up in the last two ‘visits’ to the Europa League (2012/13 and 2013/14), are looking for their first win in Turkey after four draws and three defeats. but he will also face a team at a good moment.
Galatasaray, who have fallen behind in the Champions League, have had seven wins and three draws in their last 10 matches in all competitions, just after they lost 3-2 at FC Porto on 11 December.
On Sunday, Fatih Terim’s side won 3-1 at Trabzonspor and received six points from Istanbul’s Busaksehir leader, pushed by an ‘a’ from Balhanda, one of the ‘stars’ of the ‘Gala’ of Muslera and Feghouli.
If in Istanbul two teams are up for grabs, on the contrary, in Alvalade, they play two sets to make disappointing seasons, even if Sporting have already snatched the League Cup and Villarreal have been able to ‘tie’ Real Madrid.
In Alvalade, at 20:00, the ‘lions’ bet almost everything in the excellent shape of Bruno Fernandes, who scored goals in the last three games and already totals 20 in the season, half of which is the Portuguese league – fourth of the table.
The Portuguese international midfielder’s individual momentum is not followed by Sporting’s group, which returned to the triumphs on Sunday (3-1 away to Feirense), but only won five of their last 13 matches.
In this series, the Sporting suffered four setbacks, two of them with rival Benfica, including a flattering 2-4 home run for the championship, where they are far from the first, nine points behind FC Porto, eight of the ‘incarnates’ and seven of Sporting Braga.
Sporting has not been doing well, but they look a lot better than Villarreal, who are “submerged” in the 19th and penultimate places of the Spanish league without a win in their last 10 official games, drawn by seven draws.
Since closing the UEFA Europa League group stage with a 2-0 win at Spartak Moscow on 13 December, the Spaniards do not know what it is to win, and they have not won since the 26 September (3-0 to Athletic, in Bilbao).
The coach Javi Caleja has several high-quality players available, such as Sergio Asenjo, Ramiro Funes Mori, Vicente Iborra, Trigueros, Santi Cazorla, Gerard Moreno or Carlos Bacca, but the truth is that the ‘yellow submarine’ does not rise to the surface ‘.
The Sporting, who have not eliminated a Spaniard for more than 30 years, have a great opportunity to end the miss luck, but they have to win in Alvalade, they have never won in Spain (three draws and 13 losses).
The second leg matches are held next week on 21 February with Sporting playing in Spain from 18:55 local time (17:55 in Lisbon) and Benfica receiving the Turks by 20: 00.