Estadio da Luz

The race for the top honors of the Portuguese league is heating up, as Sporting Braga intends to crash the FC Porto/Benfica party. But last night was focused primarily on the latter two teams.

The fixture which is popularly known as the “O Classico”; yes a reference based on a similar fixture between the top two teams that exists in the neighboring country.

Going into the match, both clubs were locked level on points (49) at the top of the table.

As the Benfica club anthem was being played at the Estádio da Luz (which is considered as one of the largest stadiums in the world with a holding capacity of 120,000), fans from the opposition tried to drown out the 58,000 or so home fans singing along. With 60,000 hearts pounding, this was surely a prelude to what was to come.

And a game definitely worth watching.

This fixture displayed a battle of two of the best-left feet ever produced in South America since the times of Roberto Carlos and Alvaro Recoba. One being that of Hulk and the other, of the tall and lanky Oscar Cardozo.

The highlight of the game would be when the untamable Hulk, may not be worth the outrageous £80m price tag but he managed to grab an absolute scorcher of a shot at a mere 108 km/h.

At this point, the thought in my mind was did Hulk’s parents give him that name at birth or is it a sobriquet? Either way, it was spot on.

It did not end there though, I thought my eyes were deceiving me as I say Aimar (Yes, the great Pablo Aimar) provide some vintage crosses into the box, one which managed to fell on Oscar Cardozo’s head, which he eventually scored. In fact, Cardozo had a brace in the game.

In the end, Porto managed to snatch the win in the dying period of time with Maicon scoring in the 87th minute with the final score line being 3 – 2.

Indeed, the game lived up to its stature. This being my first “O Classico”, undeniably kept my interest alive throughout the game. It basically had everything one could ask for. Great goals from class players, vintage displays of vision and technique in the center, a red card and most importantly the auditory presence of a crazy crowd. An overall entertaining contest which I for one will be looking forward to; even more than the El Clasico I believe.

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