Minute 88 of the derby played in Alvalade on May 2, 2004, 14 years ago. A scoreless draw was prevailing in the Sporting-Benfica. In the offensive area, Petit, in the center, receives a pass from the left, turn himself and passes to the right flank. Geovanni receives the ball and, with Miguel gathering pace on the right, he finishes that play: in less than two seconds, the Brazilian delivers a right-footed shot and beats Ricardo, sealing a 0-1 win.
With a stunner scored by Geovanni, Benfica won at the rival's home ground in the penultimate round of the 2003/04 edition of the Championship and, as result of that success, paved the way for the Champions League qualification.
An Eagles fan for life, the Brazilian international relives the evening in which, with the number 11 jersey, he had a determinant contribution in another success from Benfica, then coached by the Spaniard José Antonio Camacho. "It is good to remember that derby between Sporting and Benfica and that qualification of the Club. I managed to score that beautiful goal... Sporting was playing for the draw and in the end, with an accurate strike from outside the box, was fortunate, with God's blessing, to score that goal", remembers Geovanni in statements to the Official Site.
The big derby of the Portuguese football is always a relevant event, regardless of the context or sporting situation. "The derby of 2004 was very important for the circumstances", points out Geovanni, later going into details: "Sporting also had a great team but we knew our value. Playing away from home is always complicated, all the more in a derby but on that day we had a total joy."
"I am very pleased to know that I represented a great club as Benfica, which is in my heart because it welcomed me and I was able to play there for four seasons, which for me were phenomenal. The people had a lot of affection for me. I am happy", adds the former winger, who wore the Sacred Mantle from 2002 to 2006.
From the past to the present in an instant, Geovanni takes on the pundit role and makes the preview of Saturday's match, May 5th. "As in 2004, this derby is also decisive for the Champions League qualification, a competition in which Benfica is a usual presence. For the player there is nothing better than to play in the Champions League and Benfica has everything to go to Alvalade and leave with a good result", forecasts the former player.
"The title is difficult because FC Porto is going to play at home and only need a draw to become champion, but Benfica must focus on this match against Sporting to fight for the victory that gives access to the Champions League. I hope, and I am cheering, that Benfica may win", adds Geovanni.
Text: João Sanches
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica