Monday, January 23, 2017

America 0 Benfica 0 (3-4 on penalties): Primeira Liga champions finally win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Jul 2015

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Benfica’s unconvincing pre-season continued on Tuesday, needing a penalty shoot-out to overcome America at the International Champions Cup.

Jonas missed a 16th-minute penalty for Rui Vitoria’s men, who had suffered three straight defeats heading to the Estadio Azteca.

Despite playing the last 20 minutes against 10 men after Gil Buron saw red, Benfica were unable to find a winning goal.

Penalties were required after the 0-0 draw, and when Carlos Rosel fired over, the Primeira Liga champions had secured a 4-3 shoot-out win.

The result followed losses to Paris Saint-Germain, Fiorentina and the New York Red Bulls at the pre-season tournament.

Benfica almost fell behind in the fourth minute as Dario Benedetto curled an 20-yard effort inches wide.

That helped the Portuguese side settle and Mehdi Carcela, who has been a fine performer throughout the pre-season, almost struck.

The signing from Standard Liege was under heavy pressure when his lob from an angle was cleared off the line by defender Erik Pimentel.

Benfica looked neat in possession but would have to wait for their reward after Jonas missed a 16th-minute penalty.

Ventura Alvarado’s unnecessary foul led to the spot-kick, but Jonas’ penalty was too straight and Moises Munoz held onto the effort.

Jonas was within inches of putting Benfica ahead in the 35th minute, only to see his shot go just wide.

There were six half-time substitutions, and it led to a disjointed start to the second half.

It had been a game littered with fouls and three America yellow cards, before the hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute.

Buron caught Andreas Samaris on the ankles with his studs and was sent off, opening the game up for Benfica.

But America substitute Rosel was the next to force a save, as Julio Cesar punched away his powerful strike from an angle.

Calamitous defending almost led to the opener for America in the 81st minute, but a desperate Martin Zuniga just failed to get to Osvaldo Martinez’s cross.

Penalties followed and Martinez and Nicolas Gaitan were both denied early in the shoot-out before Rosel put his spot-kick over the bar to give Benfica victory.

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