Today at 10:45am was disputed the much awaited first semi-final of the Portuguese Cup's Final Four (futsal), in Multiusos, Sines. With a full house to assist to the Lisbon derby, emotions were running high for a spot in the final, which will be played tomorrow at 6pm (BST).
Benfica's futsal team was created in 2001 and is already writing its history in golden letters in the Portuguese competition: a total of 6 championships, 6 supercups, 5 Portuguese cups and 1 futsal cup.
BENFICA: Juanjo ; Gonçalo Alves (C) ; Bruno Coelho ; Rafael Hemni ; Patias
Substitutes: Bebé ; Cristiano ; Chaguinho ; Bruno Pinto ; Xande ; Alan Brandi ; Ré ; Jefferson
SPORTING: Cristiano ; João Matos (C) ; Djo ; Alex ; Diogo
Substitutes: André Duarte ; Varela ; Pedro Cary ; Caio Japa ; Cássio ; Miguel Ângelo ; Fábio Aguiar ; Fábio Lima
Benfica quickly opened the score with a great goal from Patias at the 2nd minute. Following a corner kick, the Italian fired in the top corner of Cristiano's goal, leaving him powerless to defend it. Sporting's response came 6 minutes later: Diogo equalized the game with a low shot to Juanjo's net. Benfica then displayed a brilliant defensive and tactical game which would deny Sporting the goal on more than one occasion. Alan Brandi then found a gap and fired a powerful shot, giving Benfica the lead. The last moment of danger came a couple of seconds before the final whistle, saved by Juanjo right on the line, guaranteeing the place for yet another final.
The Encarnados will face Módicos or Fundão in the Cup final, tomorrow in Sines.
32-year-old manager Joel Rocha was delighted and proud of his team's achievement. Find below his statement in the post-match press conference:
"This was a typical derby, balanced and not always well played. I can't recall a well played derby at the highest level of the discipline. It has been a very competitive game, played with much passion, in an impressive atmosphere full of respect."
"These two teams have given today an excellent image of Portuguese futsal."
"The control of this game was shared and we weren't able to assert our quality during the first half. Benfica has managed to display solidarity and a sense of effort, without suffering a goal."
"During the second half, we were better in terms of controlling the game, we ended up scoring in a shot originating from an individual duel."
"If my team was to play in prison tomorrow, I would still be able to watch them and if I didn't have the opportunity to be present tomorrow, I would buy a ticket to watch my team play."