Benfica, the leader of the Liga NOS, travel to the Azores, to the Estádio de São Miguel – a venue where they never lost–, to play matchday 11 at 6:00 pm on Saturday, November 9.
The record against Santa Clara is not vast and is limited to the National Championship. Still, there are numbers and curiosities to extract. The first trip to São Miguel happened in 1999/2000, Santa Clara's debut season in the Portuguese top flight. Benfica, coached by Jupp Heynckes, won by 0-3 (Maniche (23’), Kandaurov (25’) and Nuno Gomes (44’).
In 2001/02, the Portuguese League returned to the Azores. On matchday 30, Benfica traveled to Santa Clara's home ground and the match ended with a scoreless draw.
In 2002/03, the reds won by 1-2, with a brace from Simão, at 42’ and at 71’, after the opening goal from João Pedro for the hosts.
After that match, Benfica had to wait 16 years for their return to the Estádio de São Miguel. On January 11, 2019 – on matchday 17 –, already with sob Bruno Lage at the helm, the eagles beat Santa Clara, by 0-2. Seferovic opened the scoring at 22’ and Jardel sealed the win at -o at 48’, with the curiosity that the captain was the first (and only) defender to score for Benfica in Santa Clara's stronghold.
In four matches, Benfica won three and drew and drew one. They scored seven goals (1,75 per game) and conceded only one, and of the seven goals scored, five were in the first half and two in the second half.
Under Bruno Lage, the stats of Benfica in the Liga NOS have been impressive. One of them is directly related to Santa Clara and with the Estádio de São Miguel. It was here, a on January 11, 2019, that the coach had his first match away from home for the Championship. Since then, and until the last match, in Tondela, the eagles, as visitors, won every game. In total, 13 wins!
After Santa Clara, there were triumphs against V. Guimarães (0-1), Sporting (2-4), Aves (0-3), FC Porto (1-2), Moreirense (0-4), Feirense (1-4), SC Braga (1-4) and Rio Ave (2-3); in 2019/20, the path continued against Belenenses SAD (0-2), SC Braga (0-4), Moreirense (1-2) and Tondela (0-1).
Text: Marco Rebelo
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica