After the disappointing loss at the Dragão that shortened Benfica’s lead over FC Porto at the top of the league table, the team travelled up north once more, to try and finish up an open cup tie against Famalicão. The first leg of the Cup semifinal yielded a tight 3-2 win at Estádio da Luz, in which Benfica trailed 1-2 at the 73rdminute.
The highlight of the team Lage picked for tonight was Florentino, who came back into the fray three months to the day after his last match as a starter in the league – he had since played two League Cup matches. Dropping Weigl for Florentino means that Lage has identified Benfica’s struggles in defensive transition, but instead of treating it as a collective issue, he looks to solve it by direct player-by-player swaps.
The other new new faces in the eleven were Tomás Tavares, filling in for the (once again) injured André Almeida, and Cervi, who started out left at the expense of Chiquinho – Rafa moved into his supporting striker role.
Vlachodimos: 7. Had two great saves in the first half – in the 34th and 39th minute – that made up for two Ferro mistakes. A word regarding Famalicão’s goal that was called off for offside: he was right in coming off his goal, but executed it poorly, and was caught off by Patrick who scored a lovely first-time lob that was called off.
Tomás Tavares: 6. Overall, Tomás Tavares is a net positive over there is nothing that André Almeida brings to the team that Tomás doesn’t provide, whereas there are strengths to his overall game that André Almeida lacks. Sporadically, he commits mistakes that are natural in a 20-year-old, but he must be nurtured if he's to grow int