SL Benfica vs. Fenerbahce SK
Aykut Kocaman and his men went into this game with the slight advantage they had gained in the first leg of this tie. Knowing they had struggled to score even the only goal that had put them in this position, however, Kocaman knew that it was way to early to start celebrating. Jorge Jesus hoped that the home support and the determination of his players would help deliver his side to the promised land which was, in this case, the Amsterdam Arena.
Contrary to the other semi-final between Chelsea and Basel, this game saw early goals. 9 minutes was all it took for Benfica to level the scores on aggregate! Nicolas Gaitan took advantage of Fenerbhace’s distractedness and finished well past the Turkish captain in goal. A good run by Lima provided the assist for the 25-year-old Argentine winger. Soon after came a chance for the visitors to equalize as they were awarded a penalty for Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay’s handling of the ball inside the area. Dirk Kuyt made no mistakes with this one, and Artur had no chance.
The Turks’ joy was short-lived, however. Just 12 minutes after Dirk Kuyt’s successful penalty, Oscar Cardozo put his side back in front with an excellent strike that was assisted by Enzo Perez. It still wasn’t enough, however, as Fenerbahce were still through on away goals were things to remain as they were at half time.
One goal was, at this point, all that was needed to take the hosts through to the final, and Oscar Cardozo ensured they got it with another beautiful goal in the 66th minute, well-provided by Luisao. The Portuguese side then managed to hang on for the remaining 24 minutes or so (despite attempts by their visitors), showing that they did, indeed, deserve to be in the Amsterdam Final.
- Benfica had 2 more attempts (11) over Fenerbahce (9)
- Benfica were 54.54% on target and enjoyed a whole 69% possession, while Fenerbahce were 44.44% on target with the remaining 31% possession
- Benfica were awarded 24 free-kicks on the night, while Fenerbahce were given only 11
- 33 fouls were committed between the two teams during this match; Benfica committed 36.4% of those fouls (12), while Fenerbahce got themselves into more trouble having committed the remaining 63.6% (21) of the fouls
- Benfica were awarded 3 corners compared to Fenerbahce’s 1
- Artur Moraes made 2 saves as opposed to Volkan Demirel, who made 4
- 5 substitutions were made during this match; 2 by Benfica and the remaining 3 by Fenerbahce
- A total of 4 yellow cards (2-a-side) was awarded between the two sides by French referee, Stephane Lannoy
- No players were sent off during this game
Jorge Jesus and Aykut Kocaman lined up the following squads:
Benfica Starting XI
Artur, Pereira, Garay, Luisao (c), Almeida, Matic, Gaitan, Lima, Perez, Salvio, Cardozo
Subs: Lopes, Melgarejo, Miranda, Aimar, Martins, Urreta, and Rodrigo
Fenerbahce Starting XI
Demirel (c), Gonul, Yobo, Korkmaz, Ziegler, Erkin, Sahin, Kuyt, Cristian, Ucan, Sow
Subs: Gunok, Irtegun, Kaldirim, Stoch, Topuz, Senturk, and Simsek
Final Score: SL Benfica* 3-1 Fenerbahce SK (Agg: 3-2)
Gaitan 9′, Oscar Cardozo 35′, 66′ | Kuyt 23′ (pen)
Goals and Assists
- Nicolas Gaitan’s goal was a left-footed shot in the 9th minute of the first half, assisted by a Lima Dos Santos pass; this goal was Nicolas’ first in the tournament
- Dirk Kuyt’s goal was a penalty, scored in the 23rd minute as a result of a handball by Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay in the penalty area; the resulting goal was Dirk’s fourth in the tournament
- Oscar Cardozo’s first goal was a left-footed shot in the 35th minute, assisted by an Enzo Perez free-kick; this goal was Oscar’s fifth in the tournament
- The second goal scored by Oscar Cardozo’s (which was, by the way, Benfica’s 600th goal in Europe) was yet again a left-footed shot in the 66th minute and assisted by a Luisao Da Silva pass. This brilliant goal to put his side into the Europa League final was Oscar’s sixth in the tournament
Europa League Final
Having eliminated Fenerbahce SK, SL Benfica are through to the final of the competition and will face Chelsea of England, who had managed to secure their place in the final against Basel of Switzerland just minutes earlier.
Written by Ange Marline