Decisions that earn goals and points! This is the idea that sums up the impact of many of Rui Vitória's options when turning to the substitutes' bench in the matches of the current edition of the Liga NOS. Playing these cards, the coach of Benfica has already created and "scored" 17 goals.
The data survey carried out by the Official Site shows that 22,7% of the 75 goals of the Eagles in the Liga NOS are directly influenced (finish) or indirectly (assist) by the options that Rui Vitória makes when he launches the resources he has on the bench during the matches.
Benfica is the top-scoring side of the competition (it scores 2,5 goals per game) and a significant slice of the 75 goals scored results from Rui Vitória's vision. This another one of the merits of the coach who has been widely praised for the investment in youngsters nurtured at Caixa Futebol Campus, or for the ability to find out solutions to fill in places left vacant due to injury. Gonçalo Guedes in Jonas’ shoes in 2016/17 and Zivkovic in Krovinovic’s this season are just two examples.
With less media attention but equally effective are the bets made when it comes to changing the game. This is a journey with 17 different moments and that began in Chaves. In round 2, Rafa came on at 69’ and in the injury time assisted Seferovic for the winner.
In the following match, at Luz, against Belenenses, another protagonist came off the substitutes' bench to put his name in the match events. Raúl came on at 67’ and at 90’ assisted Jonas for the 4-0 (the Brazilian would complete his hat-trick a few minutes later).
With regard to Raúl, note that he is present in eight of the 17 goals, with particular reference to the goal in Santa Maria da Feira, seconds after entering the pitch, and to the rabona with which he assisted Jonas for the 2-0 against V. Guimarães.
Rui Vitória does not like to individualize, he prefers to elevate the collective, the players know it and "thank" the opportunities with active participation when they come on the pitch. So, it is fair to say that the coach of Benfica has already “scored” 17 goals in this edition of the Liga NOS. The last happened against V. Setúbal, at Estádio do Bonfim, with Salvio winning the penalty kick that would seal the three points. Next comes the trip to the Estádio António Coimbra da Mota for the clash with Estoril and the tickets are on sale.
The 17 goals created by Rui Vitória using the bench
|GD Chaves (a)||Rafa||Assist|
|Desp. Aves (a)||Pizzi||Suffers the penalty that results in the 1-3|
|V. Guimarães (a)||Samaris||Goal|
|V. Setúbal (h)||Zivkovic||Goal|
|Sporting (h)||Rafa||Shot for the penalty that gave the equalizer|
|Moreirense (a)||João Carvalho||Assist|
|SC Braga (a)||Raúl||Assist|
|Rio Ave (h)||Raúl; Rafa||Goal; Assist|
|Portimonense (a)||Diogo Gonçalves||Passes to Zivkovic, who scores in the rebound|
|P. Ferreira (a)||Seferovic||Assist|
|P. Ferreira (a)||Raúl||Assist|
|V. Guimarães (h)||Raúl||Assist|
|V. Setúbal (a)||Salvio||Suffers the penalty that results in the1-2|
Even without scoring goals, there were footballers who came off the bench who ended up taking part in plays that finished with the ball in the back of the opponents' net. The first situation occurred in the Benfica-Boavista: Diogo Gonçalves was brought on at 70’ and in the 90th minute he made the pass for André Almeida who assisted Raúl.
Speaking about Raúl… no one is so influential as the Mexican forward when it comes to coming off the substitutes' bench. In Paços de Ferreira, with the Eagles trailing by 1-0, Raúl made the shot and in the rebound, Jonas scored the equalizer (Benfica would win 1-3); in the home match against Desportivo das Aves, Raúl's shot was stopped by Adriano, but in the rebound, Rúben Dias scored the 2-0.
Text: Marco Rebelo
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica