This is what the ‘match of the season’ should be about. All in or you’re out. Porto needed to win to reclaim the top spot in the Portuguese league, while Benfica needed a win to clinch only their third league title in 11 years. The visitors approach of playing to draw seemed to be working, until the 91st minute, when Kelvin scored the winning goal in one of his only touches during his cameo appearance.
Thee was nothing better than Jorge Jesus letting the pain wash through him and then crashing to the ground, knowing it’s over. The chances of Porto not winning their match against Pacos next week are minuscule The small club from the north of Portugal will be playing in the Champions League qualifiers next season, but have nothing really to play for except for pride and somewhat of a local rivalry with the current champions.
Benfica have led the league for so long, only to lose their first match of the season in a stadium they’ve seen so little success. The Europa League final against Chelsea seems meaningless now. If some (including us here) thought they were the favorites heading into the match against Chelsea, things have changed now. Who cares about minor European titles when the league championship, that was in their grasp less than a week ago, vanished like into thin air?
A draw against Estoril, a loss at Porto, and it’s over. There is a misconception about Porto’s season – they haven’t lost a single match in the league all year. It will probably end up with them winning three consecutive league titles, losing only one match in these three seasons. It’s hard to say they haven’t deserved it, but Benfica are probably the better team, that played better football throughout the season.
But Jesus was a tad cautious going into the match, and very cautious as it was drawing to a close. And yet some of his players seemed like they were playing to poach the winning goal, and a strange sense of wildness and lack of cohesion swept the pitch. Porto didn’t play well, but they got their moment of magic and through it, what should become their 28th league title.