Benfica won the Supertaca and will now travel to Boavista for the opening game of the season. The clubs meet at Estadio do Bessa, where the Eagles hope to capitalize on last week’s victory over Porto. The hosts placed eighth in last season’s Taca da Liga, have already been eliminated.
Preview (Boavista vs Benfica)
Benfica are early favorites to win all four trophies up for grabs in Portugal. Benfica defeated Porto 2-0 in the Super Cup match on Wednesday at Estadio Municipal de Aveiro. Just after the hour mark, returning hero Angel Di Maria gave the Eagles the lead. Substitute striker Petar Musa scored seven minutes later to secure the win in a closely contested match. The game saw 12 yellow cards and one red. Benfica had already qualified for the Supertaca as league champions. They beat Porto to the finish line to win their 38th league championship last season. However, no club has been able to successfully defend their title over the previous six years.
Roger Schmidt arrived in Lisbon last year, there has been rapid success as a result of his style of play. This is especially true in the unbeaten first half of the 2022–23 season. Benfica not only reclaimed the top spot in domestic play, but they also defeated Juventus. They twice held Paris Saint-Germain on their way to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Di Maria returned to the Portuguese city from Juve this summer. Orkun Kokcu, a Turkish midfielder, joined from Feyenoord. Goncalo Ramos, a prominent striker, recently joined PSG. The addition of Arthur Cabral from Fiorentina could be vital in maintaining the momentum from the previous season.
Prior to losing to Feyenoord and Burnley at the end of last month, Porto had won four straight preseason games. However, their opening-day opponents have had a slower start since beginning training for the 2023–24 season. Now, he must build on that success over the upcoming months.
Yusupha Njie left for Qatar this summer on a free transfer, is one of the players who left Boavista. Nevertheless, Robert Bozenik has since made his move from Feyenoord permanent. Os Axadrezados, one of only two teams outside of Portugal’s ‘big three’ of Benfica, Sporting, and Porto, are no longer eligible for such honors. Nevertheless, they will be eager to get off to a quick start this time. They started last year with five wins from their first seven games.
In addition to the marquee additions of Angel Di Maria and Orkun Kokcu, Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has also just brought in UEFA competition specialist Arthur Cabral and Ukrainian goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin, both of whom could start on Monday night. Cabral, who had only scored 10 goals in 42 Serie A games for Fiorentina, joined the Eagles to replace Goncalo Ramos. The Brazilian scored 15 goals in as many European games for his old team Basel, averaging one every other game in the Europa Conference League.
While Odysseas Vlachodimos and Trubin, who were being pursued by Inter and other top teams, will compete for the starting job in goal, Kokcu is playing in central midfield, and Rafa Silva is supporting the striker in a more advanced role. While Boavista did begin with a back four in their Taca da Liga matchup last month, they may use a five-man defense to try to contain the Eagles. In either case, Robert Bozenik will start at center back, with captain Sebastian Perez starting in midfield.
Masaki Watai of Japan is eligible after serving a suspension at the end of the previous campaign, but center-back Chidozie Awaziem is expected to sign with Nantes of Ligue 1, thus Petit will need to make at least one alteration to his starting lineup. Joao Goncalves continues to start in goal since Cesar, who recently tore his anterior cruciate ligament, will have surgery soon. Benfica still appears to be strong enough to maintain their standing as Portugal’s top dogs this year, and they should start their Liga campaign with a victory despite having to make changes to a title-winning side. Boavista lacks a significant goal threat and can’t hope to hold off their opponents’ intimidating front line for the full 90 minutes.
Boavista 0 – 2 Benfica
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