Benfica 4-0 Pompey
Estádio D. Afonso Henriques
Sat 01-08-09, 9.15pm
Pompey, beaten by Vitoria last night - twice, were back in action tonight as we took on the mighty 31 time Portuguese champions Benfica. The gulf in class was obvious and Benfica ran out winner at a canter.
Listening to the game on The Quay, and watching bits online, make doing this report difficult, but I will have a try!
Pompey were 'said' to have started pretty brightly and it was Benfica that had an early chance through former Pompey target Saviola - blue boots and all, but he shot over the bar.
The enigma that is Utaka was left waiting to pounce in the box from a ball put into the box from trialist Pancrate but this was intercepted by their defence and cleared to safety.
Amorim clipped the bar then Saviola had another chance but struck straight at Begovic before Pompey finally did fall behind. A fantastic free-kick strike from Cardozo was unstoppable! Benfica 1-0 up on around 15 minutes - no one could say that it was not coming.
Aimar was next to try his luck as Benfica remained in complete control with Pompey not offering anything offensively, everyone was back with no real outlet going forward and nothing going to Utaka to feed on. Bopp was anonymous again - I would be horrified if we signed him, what has he offered? I seriously think, despite donkies years of not playing, over doing it food and drink wise, I could pull on my boots again and do better! I have given him the benefit of the doubt but we cannot waste anymore time on him...
A one two between Cardozo and Aimar should have seen the second added but we escaped - the deep line that we were holding was ugly, there is no other word for it! Benfica have so many quality players but sitting back so deep inviting pressure on us was asking for trouble.
2-0 came with half time approaching and we were lucky to only be a couple down on 40 minutes to be honest - Basinas lost the ball and from a cross into the box with the freedom of the box Cardozo to easily finish.
Disorganised, disjointed and pretty much negative summed us up in the 1st half and 2-0 was fortunate I would say, although to be fair Benfica were fantastic - a class act.
Finnan, Mokoena and Kanu came on for Moutaouakil, Bopp and Utaka at half time - Moutaouakil to be fair was unlucky to be taken off as he had an ok game, but we had to start giving Finnan some games to build up fitness.
Finally, after some 53 minutes, Pompey at least had an effort at goal with Finnan being the man that had this effort - easy for the keeper but at least it was an effort and Pompey were retaining the ball better and spraying it around more. If you have a better ball retention it will always be mean you are able to offer more, and in the 1st half we were giving the ball away far too easily.
Still though we had no real outlet going forward why, oh why were we playing Kanu up top alone? How was this going to benefit us?
Finnan's impressive start to his Pompey career, and he had started well, was ended after about 25 minutes as he pulled up with a hamstring injury, being replaced by Wilkinson. Right after this Coentrao with a free header headed home.
It was just a case of going through the motions for the rest of the game, more goals could have been scored but pity was taken until the closing minutes when the unfortunate Wilkinson, who moments before had covered to spare Kaboul's blushes, turned the ball into his own net...
Di Maria went close at the end but we managed to 'escape' with a 4-0 defeat, and it could have been worse.
Thanks, if that is the right word, to AmrZakycom for the YouTube videos of the goals...
The game was supposed to be followed by another farcical penalty shootout but both sides decided they did not want to, so they did not!
It was not pretty and is not looking clever at the moment is it? We really need something to happen, we need some positive things to boost morale...as this is clearly at a real low!
Moutaouakil (Finnan) (Wilkinson)
PLAY UP POMPEY!