Benfica 5 Rio Ave 2 ReportBy: jamesmartin | December 19th, 2010
First things first let me apologise for the lack of blogging in the past couple of weeks. Due to a combination of moving house, illness and a wrist injury I haven’t been writing much, but I’m all better now, so I will do my best to resume blogging about all things Benfica.
Made in Argentina
Regarding yesterday’s game, we can go into Christmas feeling a little less gloomy, as this victory was a reminder that the team hasn’t completely forgotten how to play the fantastic football that characterised the successes of last season. Almost all of the plaudits have to go in the direction of our Argentinian quartet who were responsible for all five goals and most definitely had the Estadio da Luiz dancing to a tango beat.
Indeed, it took the Argentines just five minutes to stamp their authority on proceedings as Pablo Aimar put Benfica one nil up within five minutes. However, while the majority of this report will be spent praising our awesome Argentines, it should be noted that this goal came about following an excellent pass from a Brazilian; David Luiz. Drawing the attention of three defenders, the afroed one played Aimar in with a delightful through ball, meaning the opening goal had a distinctly curly feel about it.
Within three minutes the lead was doubled, as Nicolas Gaitan burst down the left flank and picked out Javier Saviola, who volleyed home with the help of a generous deflection. Quick, creative, skillful and ingenuitive this was the sort of football we crave and know the team are capable of producing. Indeed, it was sort of football we produced on a regular basis last season and had the crowd rocking in their seats.
The Argentine appreciation would go into overdrive during the second half as the fabulous four really began to enjoy themselves. On 52 minutes Salvio cantered along the right flank and pulled the ball back across goal for Saviola to score his second with a cool finish. Much of the credit for that goal had to go to Salvio and the 20 year old would go onto to grab the 3rd and 4th means through the most improbable of means; a headed brace.
Prior to this game i can’t recall ever having seen Salvio head the ball, but lo and behold the little Argentine hit the net with two efforts that would be the envy of most target men. The first owed much to Gaitan, who outfoxed two defenders and delivered an inviting cross for his compatriot to head home. However, the credit for the fifth goal must rest solely with Salvio. A Pablo Aimar free kick was cleared only as far as the attack midfeilder who was postioned just outside of the penalty box. Rather then bring the ball down, or attempt a volley, the diminutive Argentine simply stood still and redirected the ball into the back of the net with a fabulous looping header. To score from outside the box at any time is an achievement, but to do so with your head really takes some doing and this a goal that will live long in the memory.
The only negatives in this encouraging performance were the two goals conceded, the first coming about after our attempts at playing the offside trap once again failed and the second a penalty following a Gaitan handball. A clean sheet would have been nice, but it’s Christmas, so lets focus on the positives and hope that this performance sets the tone for the remainder of the season.