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Flying the Eagles high

a FM12 manager story with SL Benfica (Portugal)
Started on 2 November 2011 by mr_hughes
Latest Reply on 16 December 2011 by Atreidas
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mr_hughes's avatar Group mr_hughes
9 yearsEdited
Hello again,

Things get even more exciting with the start of the new year and the opening of the transfer market. New signings, exits and the fight for the top of the league is hotter than ever. Will Benfica keep the pole position after visiting co-leaders Porto at their home? Stay tuned to find out!

Dedé joins Benfica, Jardel on the way out.

Powerful centre back Dedé has officially joined the Eagles after much speculation. Dedé was presented this afternoon in a press conference and said to be ecstatic and confident for his new challenge. Dedé was a key player in his former side, Vasco da Game, and was coveted by many European sides. Benfica landed the transfer sometime in November. The transfer value was not disclosed but sources in the press say it could be in the range of the 10 million euros for the brazillian player. While some enter, others must leave, and that is the case of centre back Jardel. With little match time this season, the brazillian defender signed to Olhanense last season will leve for Italian side Catania for a fee of 1,5 M€, half of which will revert to a third party.

Benfica starts the year with the right foot.

Portuguese League Cup started today with the first round in group stage. Benfica played in Leiria and had little trouble dominating and beating local team by 4 goals to nil. Cardozo and Gaitán spreaded misery in the opposition’s defense as they scored two goals each. The League Cup is often seen as a minor trophy in Portugal, where many managers opt to field a less experienced team, but Mr. Hughes sees it otherwise. “We want to win everything and the League Cup is certainly within our objectives. Makes little to no sense to spare players when the competition is up for grabs.”

BWin League Cup Group C – Round 1
Leiria 0 – 4 BENFICA

Gaitán (14, 29)
Cardozo (27, 56)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Miguel Vitor, Luisão, Garay (Dedé, 73), Capdevila; Javi Garcia, Witsel (Matic, 58), Aimar (Rodrigo, 58); Gaitán, Bruno César, Cardozo.

Benfica go down in Estádio do Dragão against leaders FC Porto.

Benfica finally lost against all-time rivals FC Porto in a tough battle. Porto kept their winning streak with a magnificent second half by key player Hulk who scored two goals to turn the scoreboard around. Aimar scored an early goal for Benfica but everything changed after the half-time break. Cardozo was left complaining when a clear penalty was not signaled close to the break. “It’s hard to go down like this, we played well enough to at least secure a draw.” Mr. Hughes was not keen on commenting about the referee, but he ended up doing so. “It’s understood that Benfica always has a hard time up here in Porto. Sometimes for reasons other than just football skills.”

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 14
FC Porto 2 – 1 BENFICA

Aimar (3)
Hulk (49, 62)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Garay (Miguel Vitor, 45), Luisão, Dedé, Capdevila (Emerson, 87); Javi Garcia, Ruben Amorim, Aimar; Gaitán, Rodrigo (Witsel, 35), Cardozo.

Benfica sign young brazillian promise Vitinho, Saviola forces departure.

18 year old forward Vitinho was signed from Botafogo for 850k €. Vitinho is seen as an exciting promise for the attack and will be gaining experience in Benfica’s youth team for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Saviola is on the verge of leaving. Being relegated to the subs bench most of the time has exhausted Saviola’s patience and renewal talks are thought to have broken down. Benfica may try to recover some money by transferring Saviola, but that seems unlikely at the moment.

Benfica in crisis? Bad performance leads to bore draw against Leiria.

Shortly after their 4 – 0 win for the League Cup, Benfica meets Leiria again for the first leg of the Portuguese Cup’s semi-final. A poor, drab performance by Benfica resulted in a 1 – 1 draw that didn’t please any supporters and much less the manager. “We can’t afford to play more matches like these. We are lucky that it was a cup tie and we can revert the situation in the second leg.” When asked about Saviola’s situation, Mr. Hughes was cautious in his words: “Saviola is still a Benfica player for the time being; more than that I am not in the liberty to say.”

Portuguese Cup Semi-final – Leg 1
BENFICA 1 – 1 Leiria

Bruno César (2)
Matic (og 52)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Maxi Pereira (Rodrigo Mora, 72), Miguel Vitor, Dedé, Emerson; Matic, Witsel, Bruno César; Enzo Pérez (Babangida, 52), Nolito (Gaitán, 52); Saviola.

Benfica’s woe continues; bad performance barely enough for the win.

Benfica had another poor display at home today as they played Olhanense for the Portuguese League’s 15th round. Benfica had tremendous difficulty creating scoring chances and only by a penalty scored by Aimar were they able to gain the upper hand. “Well, it’s hard to play against a team that comes here, parks the bus in front of goal and holds tight” – commented Mr. Hughes after the match. “We weren’t brilliant out there, we did enough. We are working on getting our form back, we can’t give an inch to Porto now that they are ahead of us.”

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 15
BENFICA 1 – 0 Olhanense

Aimar (pen 14)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Miguel Vitor (Maxi Pereira, 70), Luisão, Garay, Capdevila; Javi Garcia, Ruben Amorim, Aimar; Enzo Pérez, Gaitán (Bruno César, 52), Cardozo (Rodrigo Mora, 52).

Benfica’s backups strike lucky against Feirense.

Benfica keeps winning in spite of the bad performances and the match against Feirense was another example of the current Eagles’ poor form. Mr. Hughes fielded a team with some less used players and had a sub bench filled with young players. “It was a choice of mine, the starting team was good enough to guarantee the win and I thought that this match was the perfect one to give some of our bright youngsters a bit of playing time with the grown-ups. Things actually got a bit harder than planned, but I’m happy enough with the win.”

Bwin League Cup Group C – Round 2
Feirense 0 – 1 BENFICA

Rodrigo Mora (50)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Degen, Miguel Vitor, Dedé, Emerson; Matic (André Gomes, 63), Ruben Amorim, Bruno César; Babangida (Ivan Cavaleiro, 73), Nolito (Anikson, 78), Rodrigo Mora.

Saviola set to leave, Benfica sign exciting striker Vukusic.

Saviola has decided to leave Benfica at the end of the season, and it seems he already has a destination: Turkish side Besiktas. Saviola rejected all attempts of renewal from Benfica’s side and is now posed for a new challenge in Turkey. Meanwhile, as Saviola seems to be dropped from the main squad, Benfica announced the signing of young Croatian striker Ante Vukusic from Hajduk Split. Vukusic is an explosive, fast paced striker. Mr. Hughes believes that he has an above average quality and will develop quite nicely in Benfica. Transfer is said to have costed little less than 2 M€.

Benfica returns to form and dishes out punishment to Paços de Ferreira.

Benfica returned to the big scorelines today by beating Paços de Ferreira 5 – 0. It was a breath of fresh air for Mr. Hughes’ team, as recent performances were below par. Benfica is still trailing behind Porto but, if this game is to be an example, the fight promises to go on until the very end. Mr. Hughes was happy about the match and also found some time to discuss the announced departure of Saviola and new signings Vukusic and Vitinho: “A good game today, we’re finally playing as we know. It was a matter of time, I know what the boys are capable of. Yes, it’s true, Saviola has decided to leave us. Unfortunately it is my policy that a player that doesn’t want to fully commit to the team has no place in my squad. Vitinho is a very talented youngster, you’ll be seeing much of him in the future. Vukusic is a bit ahead, so he’ll be playing in the main squad as Saviola’s replacement. He is also a very fast and technically skilled player in spite of his young age.”

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 16
BENFICA 5 – 0 Paços de Ferreira

Witsel (11)
Luisinho (og 29)
Dedé (41)
Gaitán (44)
Javi Garcia (81)


Benfica squad: Eduardo; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Dedé, Emerson; Javi Garcia, Witsel, Aimar (Nolito, 62); Bruno César, Gaitán, Cardozo (Rodrigo Mora, 76).

Benfica keeps up the good form against Leiria.

In the third match of four between the two teams in the period of a month and a half, Benfica visited and defeated União Leiria by 3 – 0. “It was a good win and gives us confidence to turn the match around for the cup tie in a week” – said Mr. Hughes. The match was stuck in a deadlock after Witsel’s early goal but a quick 3 minute double salvo near the end by Gaitán and Rodrigo put the match beyond any doubt. Benfica keeps trailing unbeatable Porto by 3 points after 16 matches.

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 17
Leiria 0 – 3 BENFICA

Witsel (4)
Gaitán (85)
Rodrigo (88)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Maxi Pereira (Miguel Vitor, 72), Luisão, Dedé, Emerson; Javi Garcia (Ruben Amorim, 63), Witsel, Aimar; Bruno César, Gaitán, Cardozo (Rodrigo, 63).

Young Vukusic shows promise as Benfica goes through League Cup’s group stage.

The match against Paços de Ferreira was the debut for young signing Vukusic and the Croatian striker showed good composure by scoring the winning goal and being a constant thorn on the opponent’s defense. Benfica managed to snatch three wins in all group stage matches and will play Gil Vicente in the Bwin Cup semi-finals. “We’re only one game away from the Bwin cup final so we’re pretty excited. We’ve won this competition last year and we intend to do so this season.” When asked about young Vukusic’s performance, Mr. Hughes was cautious: “he’s a young and talented player and we signed him because we trust he’ll be a magnificent addition to the team. It was a good match, but he will need his time to fully adjust and play to his full potential.”

Bwin League Cup Group - Round 3
BENFICA 1 – 0 Paços de Ferreira

Vukusic (17)

Benfica squad: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Capdevila; Ruben Amorim, Witsel (Rodrigo, 54), Aimar (Javi Garcia, 72); Bruno César, Gaitán, Vukusic.

Benfica almost lets it slip in Cup rematch.

Benfica secured a passage to the Portuguese Cup final after beating Leiria in the semi-final second leg by 2 – 1. In spite of dominating possession most of the match, Benfica suffered a late game scare when Leiria pulled one goal back from a 2 – 0 score. “We are all very excited in playing the Portuguese cup final. We still only depend on ourselves in order to win all competitions, which is what we plan on doing.” Mr. Hughes was confident that the team’s good form will continue, and was sure that Porto’s run will not go forever. “Porto has a massive team, for sure, but if we keep on winning and they keep on winning, everything will be resolved in the match between our teams at our own stadium. And there, we can do nothing but win, in front of our own supporters. It would be a dramatic way of snatching the title, but everything is still on our grasp.”

Portuguese Cup Semi-final – Leg 2
Leiria 1 – 2 BENFICA

Cardozo (10)
Iturbe (og 20)
Yvan Erichot (85)

Benfica squad: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Dedé, Emerson; Javi Garcia, Witsel, Aimar (Gaitán, 65); Nolito, Rodrigo (Babangida, 76), Cardozo (Vukusic, 65).

Benfica beats Braga away and mounts on the pressure.

Quiet and controlled game in Braga as Benfica push away the local team and waltz to a 3 – 0 win. Very aggressive game from Braga that yielded 2 penalties. Witsel scored two but missed the third, allowing Bruno César to score on the rebound. Mr. Hughes was less than impressed with Braga’s approach to the game. “Braga used to be better than this. They couldn’t do anything but shut up shop and defend in a somewhat virile way. I’m all for virility, I’m quite virile myself. But those tackles out there bordered on homicidal.” Surely Mr. Hughes’ virility will be thoroughly debated in tomorrow’s gossip press.

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 19
Braga 0 – 3 BENFICA

Witsel (pen 42, pen 57)
Bruno César (85)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Maxi Pereira (Ruben Amorim, 29), Luisão, Dedé, Capdevila; Javi Garcia, Witsel, Aimar (Rodrigo, 68); Gaitán, Bruno César, Cardozo (Vukusic, 73).

Liga ZON Sagres roundup:

In spite of losing out to Porto, Benfica is pretty much still in the run for the title. The gap between the top three teams and the remaining clubs is now of 15 points, which shows the difference in football level between title candidates and the rest in the league. Porto remain unbeaten and winning every single match and one wonders if the title won’t be decided 2 rounds from the end in the match between Benfica and Porto in the Stadium of Light.


Other competitions roundup:

Benfica edged out Leiria and will face FC Porto in the Portuguse Cup final to be held in May. In the League Cup, Benfica won all three matches and is through to the semi-finals. A big surprise in the competition was Porto that ended third in their group behind Gil Vicente and Vit. Guimarães.

Transfer market roundup:

Benfica was on the spending side, signing renowned centre back Dedé and young forwards Vitinho and Vukusic. Saviola is going to leave the club and Jardel moved away to Italian side Cataina. It is rumored that some players in the club such as Degen, Peixoto and Babangida are unhappy with the lack of first team football and may want to leave soon as well. FC Porto on the other hand, lost three of its main players. Otamendi left for Spanish side Málaga for 13M€, while Álvaro Pereira signed for Arsenal for 12,5M€. A crude blow to FC Porto team might have been the departure of Hulk to Manchester United for 20,5M€, a sale that injects fresh cash to Porto but may hinder their run for the championship.
Hey there, currently writing a story about Porto just finishing my December post actually. Nice to hear someone to do a Benfica story to compare, I actually ended up going after Vitinho and Vukusic too, but decided on Luis Guilhereme and Carlos Fierro instead after Vukusic wanted 20k a week! and Vitinho's price had sky-rocketed after the signed a contract to 5 mill. Keep up your story, better written than mine in my honest opinion!
# portugalthemig : Hey there, currently writing a story about Porto just finishing my December post actually. Nice to hear someone to do a Benfica story to compare, I actually ended up going after Vitinho and Vukusic too, but decided on Luis Guilhereme and Carlos Fierro instead after Vukusic wanted 20k a week! and Vitinho's price had sky-rocketed after the signed a contract to 5 mill. Keep up your story, better written than mine in my honest opinion!

Nice, I'll be sure to drop by your thread and follow it! Porto is HUGE this season, a bit TOO strong in my humble opinion :) Fierro is a great player, I tried to sign him too, but he wasn't interested. Can you believe that? Haha!
Hello again, here’s the mid-February to March update for the first season of my FM history with SL Benfica.

The team has been performing slightly under par, we lost our first league match to Porto and are now chasing them 3 points behind. Meanwhile, Manchester United looms over the team as they face the toughest challenge in the season yet. To add more problems to the mix, some players demand to leave! Watch everything unfold below!

Benfica solves the game in 20 minutes, falls asleep afterwards.

Benfica made a stand quite early in the game today as they were winning by 3 – 0 only with 20 minutes into the game. During the rest of the game, the team played pretty much relaxed and only woke up after former Eagles player Balboa scored an unexpected header from a corner. Cardozo scored again close to the end to put the game beyond doubts. Mr. Hughes didn’t show up in the conference room, but Ass. Manager Michael Henke guaranteed that everything is fine and the team is already focusing in the Champions League match against Manchester United.

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 19
BENFICA 4 – 1 Beira-Mar

Aimar (2, 8)
Cardozo (18, 81)
Balboa (53)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Maxi Pereira (Ruben Amorim, 45), Luisão, Dedé, Emerson; Javi Garcia, Witsel, Aimar (Rodrigo, 57); Gaitán, Bruno César (Nolito, 81), Cardozo.

Underdogs Benfica stun Man Utd with impressive defensive display.

Manchester United was left wondering what happened tonight at Stadium of Light as they were sent back home with a 1 – 0 defeat at the hands of superbly organized Benfica. Luisão put Rooney in his pocket and the Manchester boys didn’t show much in the attacking department. Gaitán saw an offside decision disallow his goal close to half-time; and when everyone counted on the 0 – 0 draw, a scorcher from Cardozo met United’s net, which led to an explosion of joy in the stadium, packed to capacity. “It was the right prize for a very steady performance, the boys did everything right”, said Mr. Hughes. “It gives us a narrow and precious lead. We know that the odds are against us, but it wouldn’t be the first time Benfica would knock Man Utd out from an European competition, so who knows?”

Champions League 1st Knockout Round – Leg 1
BENFICA 1 – 0 Manchester Utd

Cardozo (85)

Benfica squad: Artur; Miguel Vitor, Luisão, Dedé, Garay (César Peixoto, 45); Javi Garcia, Ruben Amorim, Aimar (Witsel, 87); Gaitán, Rodrigo (Bruno César, 79), Cardozo.

Trio makes trouble in Benfica squad.

Changing room environment looks heavy in Benfica as news came out that three players are demanding more time in the field, or a transfer. Even though the transfer market has closed, the likes of César Peixoto, Babangida and Degen had a meeting with Mr. Hughes who was not very happy with the demands. While Peixoto reluctantly agreed to stay as a backup player, Babangida and Degen forced the coach’s hand and are expected to face severe consequences. We recall that Mr. Hughes already dropped Saviola from the team after the player signed a pre-contract with Besiktas earlier this year.

Gil Vicente causes trouble in yellow card galore.

Lots of yellow cards were flying over to Benfica and Witsel ended up sent off in a match were the referee was the main focus, for the wrong reasons. Benfica scrapped a narrow win but it was all very tough. A goal 45 seconds in by speedy forward Rodrigo led to a grueling match, and Mr. Hughes wasn’t very pleased. “I know we just caught up with Porto after they lost with Sporting, but the refs could be a little more discreet. That’s all I have to say.” Mr. Hughes will probably face action from the Portuguese FA.

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 20
Gil Vicente 2 – 3 BENFICA

Rodrigo (1)
Adriano (og 10)
Leandrinho (22)
Dedé (62)
Pedro Moreira (80)

Benfica squad: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Garay, Dedé, Capdevila (Emerson, 59); Matic (Javi Garcia, 59), Witsel, Bruno César; Nolito, Rodrigo (Gaitán, 59), Vukusic.

Benfica demolishes Feirense and climbs to the top

Taking advantage of Porto’s draw earlier, Benfica smashed Feirense and regained the top of the league. “We’re back where we belong, and we’re very happy about it.” Feirense was pretty much helpless all match as Enzo Pérez gave a show in the field. “Things are going great now, if we can keep up the form for the next 4 or 5 rounds, we can secure the title at home against Porto, that would be very special”, said Mr. Hughes in his closing remarks.

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 21
BENFICA 4 – 0 Feirense

Luisão (17)
Enzo Pérez (48)
Cardozo (54)
Gaitán (76)

Benfica squad: Artur; Ruben Amorim, Luisão, Dedé, Capdevila; Javi Garcia, Matic (Miguel Vitor, 70), Aimar; Enzo Pérez (Nolito, 57), Gaitán, Cardozo (Rodrigo Mora, 77).

Benfica’s Dedé makes height count.

It was from a well-placed header that Dedé scored Benfica’s second goal against Nacional and gave the team some tranquility in a usually hard venue. Cardozo opened the scoreline at the 12th minute with a powerful strike from long range. Nacional tried to find a way to Artur’s goal, but Mr. Hughes’ tactics proved to be unbeatable once again. “Yes, you can say that our opponents have yet to figure out how to beat us in a clean, fair game. My team is very solid and focused in winning the title. We’re not going to lose any more game until the end, that I can guarantee.”

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 22
Nacional 0 – 2 BENFICA

Cardozo (12)
Dedé (54)

Benfica squad: Artur; Ruben Amorim, Luisão, Dedé, Emerson (Garay, 45); Javi Garcia, Wtisel (Miguel Vitor, 62), Aimar; Enzo Pérez (Rodrigo, 72), Gaitán, Cardozo.

Benfica celebrate in Old Trafford despite defeat.

Dramatic match in Old Trafford as visitors Benfica, in spite of the 1 – 0 lead, came with the underdog status and left looking ahead to the next stage of the Champions League. Mr. Hughes had warned that the team would not play an openly attacking game and tried to hold on to the advantage while trying to hit Man Utd with the counter. Cardozo had an early warning when he hit the crossbar from a header but at the minute 15, Enzo Pérez concluded a fantastic through ball to score Benfica’s goal. Man Utd now had to score three goals to go ahead, but Benfica held on until the end, enduring the injuries of Gaitán and Witsel, and ended up with an away goal advantage after 2 – 2 on both legs. Mr. Hughes was so ecstatic that he lost his voice and couldn’t speak to the journalists, but spent his 30 seconds of press conference smiling and giving thumbs up. The Theater of Dreams proved true for Benfica.

Champions League 1st Knockout Round – Leg 2
Manchester Utd 2 – 1 BENFICA

Enzo Pérez (15)
Javier Hernandez (40)
Rooney (78)

Benfica squad: Artur; Miguel Vitor, Luisão, Dedé, Capdevila; Javi Garcia, Witsel, Bruno César (Matic, 56); Enzo Pérez, Gaitán (Rodrigo, 24), Cardozo (Nolito, 78).

Who can stop Benfica?

We’re entering the final League run and Benfica seems unstoppable as they send Académica home packing with a 5 – 0 win. “The whole team was a joy to watch today, no doubt the Champions League experience has the boys in high spirits.” Mr. Hughes also had some comments to make on possible transfers. “Yes, it’s true, we’re looking for a way out for Degen. Babangida is almost settled with Parma.”

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 23
BENFICA 5 – 0 Académica

Nolito (17)
Enzo Pérez (23)
Luisão (39)
Bruno César (66)
Cardozo (71)


Benfica squad: Artur; Ruben Amorim, Luisão, Dedé, Capdevila; Javi Garcia, Witsel (Matic, 55), Bruno César; Enzo Pérez, Nolito, Cardozo.

Benfica through to the League Cup final.

Benfica keeps true to their promises by not faltering in any competition. After a solid 4 – 1 win against Gil Vicente, they will now play rivals Sporting in the final. New signing Vukusic was again in good form scoring one of the goals and offering another to Enzo Pérez. “The team has a fantastic dynamic going on now, we believe we can win everything” – commented Mr. Hughes after the match. The game also marked the first senior match of Tiago Duque, an exciting prospect from Benfica’s youth squads.

Bwin League Cup – Semi-final
Gil Vicente 1 – 4 BENFICA


Enzo Pérez (19)
Bruno César (pen 48)
Yero (49)
Miguel Vitor (65)
Vukusic (74)

Benfica squad: Eduardo; Ruben Amorim, Tiago Duque, Miguel Vitor, César Peixoto; Matic, Javi Garvia, David Simão; Enzo Pérez, Bruno César, Vukusic (Rodrigo Mora, 81).

Marítimo holds Benfica to a draw.

In form Benfica had a setback in Madeira tonight with locals Marítimo playing very well both in attack and defense, forcing Benfica to concede a draw. Luisão scored first with a well-placed header but Marítimo never looked beaten and would level the score with a good curled shot by Bruno Veiga. Mr. Hughes was upset but remained confident in the title: “Porto is now only 2 points behind so we cannot allow any more slip ups. Marítimo is a tough team, they are doing well this season and the game was overall pretty evenly matched. I hate to say it, but probably the draw was the fairest score.”

Liga ZON Sagres – Round 24
Marítimo 1 – 1 BENFICA

Luisão (55)
Bruno Veiga (78)

Benfica squad: Artur; Ruben Amorim, Luisão, Dedé, Miguel Vitor; Javi Garcia, Witsel (Matic, 53), Enzo Pérez; Nolito (Bruno César, 73), Rodrigo, Cardozo (Vukusic, 75).

Liga ZON Sagres roundup:

Things are looking good for Benfica but still very tight up in the table as Porto lost some steam after losing Hulk, Otamendi and Alvaro Pereira in the transfer window. Sporting is also looming 4 points behind and could take advantage of more bad results from the leaders to sneak in for the title. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the table, Beira-Mar and Vit. Setúbal look doomed for relegation.


Champions League roudup:

Benfica was the big giant killer this round, eliminating powerhouse Manchester Utd with away goal advantage. In other matches, Porto eliminated Arsenal on a 3 – 2 aggregate, Barcelona had little trouble dispatching CSKA Moscow with a total 7 – 0 win and Real Madrid demolished Inter with a total 4 – 1 aggregate. Benfica will now play French champions Lille, another surprising team in this year’s Champions League. Both teams already met earlier in the pre-season with Benfica winning 2 – 0 in Lille at the time.

quite a few surprises in this stint! good to see your impressive league form continues, and congratulations on your marvelous CL match-up! I have to admit though, your Champions League is extremely far fetched, I find it hard to believe so many top teams are out before the quarter-finals! Boa Sorte!
# portugalthemig : quite a few surprises in this stint! good to see your impressive league form continues, and congratulations on your marvelous CL match-up! I have to admit though, your Champions League is extremely far fetched, I find it hard to believe so many top teams are out before the quarter-finals! Boa Sorte!

The CL in my game is indeed a bit odd, I have finished the Season already (more updates soon) and all I can say is that one particular team seems to be having a bit of luck with the draws. Not that I'm complaining. :)
haha, i wonder what teams that is???? looking forward to it!
mr_hughes's avatar Group mr_hughes
9 yearsEdited
Alright, time for some updating, this time for the month of April. I'm changing the layout a bit for these updates, sorting it by competition instead of chronological order, and cutting squad composition. I'll be also uploading some match highlights to my youtube account, so check it out if you want :)

Part I - League Cup

BWin League Roundup - April

Sporting CP 1 - 2 BENFICA
BWin League Final

Benfica wins the League cup four times in a row! - Benfica won the League Cup on a sunny afternoon by beating rivals Sporting by 2 - 1. Bruno César scored an early goal for Benfica at 15' and the scoreline wouldn't change until Capel materialized a bigger domination by Sporting in the second half by scoring the 1 - 1 at minute 63. Cardozo replied almost instantly with a powerful shot for the winning goal at minute 69. "Fantastic day for the supporters", said Mr. Hughes. "We've won this one brilliantly and hopefully it will be a great tonic for the remainder of the season."

Match highlights: CLICK ME. < Updated with better resolution.
mr_hughes's avatar Group mr_hughes
9 yearsEdited
Part II - Portuguese League

Lig ZON Sagres Roundup - April

BENFICA 2 - 1 Sporting CP
Liga ZON Sagres - Round 25

Goals: Cardozo (48), Bill (63), Rodrigo (90)

Benfica edges Sporting in exciting derby - Rodrigo was the man of the hour as he scored a late winning goal for Benfica in today's derby. Mr. Hughes was ecstatic with the match and made a promise to the fans: "We have won this match and with the current form that we're in, we're unbeatable. I'm sure we will win the title, that I can promise the fans!"

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Rio Ave 0 - 2 BENFICA
Liga ZON Sagres - Round 26

Goals: Cardozo (36), Gaspar (og 53)

BENFICA 3 - 0 Vit. Setúbal
Liga ZON Sagres - Round 27

Goals: David Simão (2, 10), Javi Garcia (59)

Vit. Guimarães 1 - 2 BENFICA
Liga ZON Sagres - Round 28

Goals: Vukusic (6), Gaitán (75), Barrientos (89)

Benfica one win away from the league title - Benfica has a 4 point advantage coming to the last two league matches, and the next one is the exciting derby against rivals FC Porto in Stadium of Light: the game that will decide the title! "It's all for it next week, and we are in good form to win" - said Mr. Hughes. "We are playing better and with the support of our wonderful fans, we cannot fail to win the title this year!"

League Table:
Part III - Champions League

Champions League Roundup - April

BENFICA 0 - 0 Lille OSC
Champions League Quarter-final - Leg 1

Lille OSC 1 - 1 BENFICA
Champions League Quarter-final - Leg 2

Goals: Hazard (32), Javi Garcia (65)

Benfica through to the semi-finals again on away goals lead! - Javi Garcia powerful scorcher proved invaluable as Benfica beaten the likes of Joe Cole, Hazard, Payet and Pedretti and secured a 1 - 1 draw, enough to proceed to the semi-finals of the Champions League. The game was intense, and Mr. Hughes was still sweating profusely by the time the press conference began: "we made it hard on ourselves in the first leg but luckily we manage to pull through in this match. I'm really tired just shouting, can't imagine how wasted my boys are. Time go home and celebrte!"

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Quarter-final Results:



BENFICA 1 - 0 Shakhtar
Champions League Semi-final - Leg 1

Goals: Cardozo (69)

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Shakhtar 0 - 1 BENFICA
Champions League Semi-final - Leg 2

Goals: Luisão (21)

Impressive tie display nets first Benfica Champions League final in 20 years! - In a day to remember, Benfica dominated Shakhtar in Ukraine and signed a place in this year's Champions League Final against Barcelona. After a convincing 1 - 0 win in the first leg, the Eagles repeated the result with a good goal by captain Luisão. Mr. Hughes was borderline speechless: "Wow, I mean, wow. It's the final. We are there... it's been great so far, the players have been magnificent... I know that some people say that we've been lucky in the draws but the fact is that we're in the Final... and now anything can happen!"

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Semi-final results:
Well, the final games of the first Season of my FM12 Story with Benfica are coming soon. And what a season it has been! The team clearly outdid itself in all aspects and some players were putting in some very nice performances throughout the season even though I wouldn't rate them that well to start with. Before the games are presented in the next post, some considerations about the game itself.

I found FM12's away games to be frighteningly hard at first, but that was because I was playing with an FM11 mindset - if the team is weak on paper, going there with an attacking tactic will destroy them no matter what. Nope. Doesn't work that well this time. However, what I found that it DOES work, and a bit too well, are defensive/counter tactics. In most of the matches away and some matches at home against very tough teams, I use a 4-2-3-1 Deep tactic with all defenders set to "defend", and one of the def midfielders also set to "defend" while the other has a "support" role. Team instructions are usually defend/counter with passing to spaces and a running to ball target man up front. I found it to be very, very effective against pretty much all big teams I've played with, as long as my team had the tactic well learned.

This said, FM12 ended up being actually easier than FM11. I got to the point that with a better-than-average team like Benfica I felt I could go on and win pretty much against anyone just by using a conservative and turtle-ish approach. I basically ended up using only 3 tactics throughout the game - the defensive 4-2-3-1, a more solid, all-round 4-2-3-1, which I used more often in home games and some easier away games, and an all attack 4-2-4 for those games that aren't suppose to cause many troubles or when you need to clinch that goal back. Having only 3 tactics with slight variations on tempo and positioning, and making sure that they are well assimilated by the team was the key to success, in my point of view, more than having good players, which I had a few, but nowhere near the level of some teams I've beaten along the way.

Another very important factor that contributed to the team's success is the staff. In the very beginning of the season, I hired the most talented staff I could find; an Assistant Manager with high tactical knowledge and man management so he could take care effectively of opposition instructions (I can't be bothered with that) and provide accurate reports during the match. Coaches that could elevate most of the training regimens to at least 4 starts. I just assign them automatically and never look at training again. Very sporadically I adjust new position trainings but that's it.

Finally, team meetings. It's a new feature of FM12 and I really like it. I had only four team meetings in the season but they seem to be a powerful tool for you to raise the morale of a battered team or give just that extra little bit of confidence they need to win titles. A team talk at the beginning, middle and near the end are essential and I did an extra one after we lost with Porto and drew with Leiria and felt the team might need a little push. Also, I realized that "doing it for the fans" doesn't carry the same weight as in the previous game and an Assertive/Calm approach to match talks is the best way to go. Don't be afraid of telling your team that they are not playing well, but if some player gets upset, try to encourage him with a private chat.

OK, I think that's it. On to the games in a little while :)
Great first season so far mate! I've had the most up and down season i've ever had on FM... Beating higher ranked teams 4-0 away from home then getting battered 5-0 by lower ranked teams at home the following week!
Might try your 4-2-3-1 (deep) formation
Liga ZON Sagres Roundup - May

BENFICA 3 - 1 FC Porto
Liga ZON Sagres - Round 29

Goals: Enzo Pérez (16), Witsel (84), Cardozo (91); Luuk de Jong (61)

Benfica win the title with a memorable performance - After much suspense and a remarkable fight up in the top, the Eagles were crowned today Portuguese champions as they defeated rivals Porto by 3 - 1 in front of a fully booked Stadium of Light. Benfica seemed really up for the challenge and, safe for Dutch striker De Jong's goal, gave Porto little to no chance during the match. "Today is a day to celebrate! We have fought hard and manage to win the title, it's an amazing feat. We had in our minds all this time the idea that we could do it and here we are. I am very proud of all the team that made this day possible." Mr. Hughes couldn't contain his emotion, a confessed Benfica fan, and the party is said to clog up Lisbon's downtown well into late hours.

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Olhanense 0 - 5 BENFICA
Liga ZON Sagres - Round 30

Goals: Rodrigo Mora (18, 39, 45), Gaitán (31, 41)

Final League table:


Awards:

Best Goalkeeper: Hélton (FC Porto)
Best Centre Back: Luisão (SL Benfica)
Best Full Back: Elderson (SC Braga)
Best Striker: Cardozo (SL Benfica)
Best Young Player: Axel Witsel (SL Benfica)
Best Player: Diego Capel (Sporting CP)
Top Scorer: Cardozo (SL Benfica) - 24 Games / 22 Goals
Manager of the Year: Mr. Hughes (SL Benfica)
# Mikethemanc : Great first season so far mate! I've had the most up and down season i've ever had on FM... Beating higher ranked teams 4-0 away from home then getting battered 5-0 by lower ranked teams at home the following week!
Might try your 4-2-3-1 (deep) formation

I've been having good results with it, make sure that your team confidence with the tactic is very high for the best results. Good luck!
Portuguese Cup - Final

FC Porto 1 - 2 BENFICA

Goals: Witsel (30, 84); Defour (40)

Benfica adds more silverware with Witsel on song - Axel Witsel was the hero in the Portuguese Cup final as he score both goals for Benfica in this sunny Spring afternoon at Estádio Nacional. Former comrade at Standard Steven Defour still balanced the net for FC Porto, but it would be the Eagles that were set up for celebration. With an impressive run of three national titles, Benfica won it all this year in Portugal! "This was a memorable win, a very solid match from our lads. Witsel was amazing, such a great player at such a young age. This has been clearly a season to remember and he have to build up on this and remain competitive next year." Mr. Hughes, just named manager of the year in Portugal, quite happy in the press conference.

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Champions League - Final

BENFICA 3 - 2 Barcelona
(after extra time)

Goals: David Villa (pen 45, 50); Rodrigo Mora (61, 64), Dedé (101)

Football World speechless as underdogs Benfica surpass Messi-less Barcelona - Barcelona may have felt a little too much the lack of their star Messi, but that alone cannot explain the remarkable achievement of the Lisbon side. Benfica came out from 2 goals behind, scored by the devilish David Villa, to force Barcelona to a dramatic extra time with two magnificent goals from ace-in-the sleeve Rodrigo Mora. The uruguayan striker was a veritable wonder as he jumped out the sub bench to replace lackluster Cardozo and score two goals in five minutes. Barcelona was stunned and they never found their way after that. In the extra time, Benfica piled on the pressure and Dedé scored the winning goal with a powerful long shot from an essayed free kick, a pure labwork play. The Allianz-Arena almost came to the ground with the ref's final whistle, a wonderful conclusion to a season above all expectations for Benfica.

Match highlights: CLICK ME.

Match overview:
http://oi40.tinypic.com/23mo86e.jpg

Match squads:
http://oi43.tinypic.com/vqmgb5.jpg

The Hero - Rodrigo Mora
http://oi39.tinypic.com/2dsfl77.jpg

Awards:

Best Player: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Golden Boot: David Villa (Barcelona) 12 Games / 11 Goals
Dream Team: Valdés, Daniel Alves, Abidal, Piqué, David Villa, Xavi, Messi (Barcelona); Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain (Real Madrid); Luisão, Aimar (Benfica)

You are reading "Flying the Eagles high".

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