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Custódio heads Braga into maiden European final

Published: Thursday 5 May 2011, 23.10CET
SC Braga 1-0 SL Benfica (agg: 2-2, Braga win on away goals)
Custódio's first-half header sent Braga through to the UEFA Europa League final, where they will face FC Porto, despite late pressure from the visitors.
by Patrick Hart
from Estádio Municipal de Braga

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Match statistics

BragaBenfica

Goals scored1
 
0
Attempts on target4
 
2
Attempts off target3
 
8
Corners4
 
8
Offsides3
 
5
Fouls committed16
 
14
Yellow cards3
 
4
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 5 May 2011, 23.10CET

Custódio heads Braga into maiden European final

SC Braga 1-0 SL Benfica (agg: 2-2, Braga win on away goals)
Custódio's first-half header sent Braga through to the UEFA Europa League final, where they will face FC Porto, despite late pressure from the visitors.

SC Braga overcame SL Benfica 1-0 on the night, and on away goals over two legs, to reach the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin.

Domingos Paciência's team progressed to the first all-Portuguese UEFA final – the northern club's debut on such an elevated stage – through a combination of Custódio's first-half header and the away goal scored by captain Vandinho, suspended here along with Benfica's Pablo Aimar, seven days earlier. Having restored parity at 2-2 in the tie, Braga bravely resisted everything Jorge Jesus's side threw at them to book an 18 May meeting with FC Porto.

As in the Liga table, where one place separates them, there was little between the teams here. Lima's cross required the headed intervention of Benfica captain Luisão to keep out Mossoró. Lima himself was on the end of an even better ball from right-back Miguel Garcia but could only poke it over. Benfica's best early sighter was a Carlos Martins free-kick that goalkeeper Artur palmed behind, yet the clue to the first goal came in Braga's quality service from the flanks.

When Hugo Viana's delivery extracted the maximum from a 19th-minute corner won by Albert Meyong's persistence, defensive midfielder Custódio rose highest to head powerfully towards the top-right corner. One-nil to the Arsenalistas. Braga's next threat came disguised as innocuous, Viana's set piece being taken short for Miguel Garcia to scuff a shot centimetres wide.

The danger to Braga was target man Óscar Cardozo and on the half-hour Javi García and Javier Saviola both nearly profited from one of his knock-downs. Artur saved well in each case. Largely, though, centre-backs Paulão and Alberto Rodríguez dealt with the menace of Benfica's first-leg match-winner. Instead, Benfica's closest moment of the first period came when Cardozo went wide and crossed for Saviola to strike against the inside of a post. Fábio Coentrão turned the rebound over.

The tenacious attack led by Coentrão and César Peixoto, and almost finished by Saviola, moments after half-time pointed to the determination of Benfica to reach their first continental final since the 1990 European Champion Clubs' Cup. Artur stretched to keep Nicolás Gaitán's centre from Cardozo. Mossoró's splendid run into the visitors' box had Braga's fans on their feet, before Coentrão had them on tenterhooks until Artur beat Benfica's fleet-footed left-back to a through ball.

However, with tension levels rising inside this picturesque stadium, the suspicion remained that the home crowd's Irish flags were tempting fate. Artur dived full length to deny Gaitán. Luisão nodded the resulting corner just wide. Then Paulão cleared off the line from Benfica substitute Alan Kardec. After Viana and Custódio so nearly made the semi-final victory safe, the referee's final whistle did precisely that.

Last updated: 07/12/13 4.15CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000132/match=2007740/postmatch/report/index.html#braga+into+first+showpiece

Lineups

braga

Braga

benfica

Benfica

1
ArturArtur (GK)
Yellow Card90+5
12
RobertoRoberto (GK)
2
Alberto RodríguezAlberto Rodríguez (C)
4
LuisãoLuisão (C)
Yellow Card90+2
3
PaulãoPaulão
Yellow Card60
6
Javi GarcíaJavi García
8
MossoróMossoró
Substitution80
7
Óscar CardozoÓscar Cardozo
15
Miguel GarciaMiguel Garcia
14
Maxi PereiraMaxi Pereira
Yellow Card59
18
LimaLima
Substitution73
17
Carlos MartinsCarlos Martins
Substitution81
19
MeyongAlbert Meyong
Substitution87
18
Fábio CoentrãoFábio Coentrão
Yellow Card75
27
CustódioCustódio
Goal19
20
GaitánNicolás Gaitán
28
Sílvio PereiraSílvio Pereira
Yellow Card3
25
César PeixotoCésar Peixoto
Yellow Card50
Substitution58
30
AlanAlan
30
SaviolaJavier Saviola
Substitution87
45
Hugo VianaHugo Viana
33
JardelJardel

Substitutes

42
CristianoCristiano (GK)
1
MoreiraMoreira (GK)
4
KakáKaká
Substitution80
2
AirtonAirton
10
Hélder BarbosaHélder Barbosa
Substitution87
11
JaraFranco Jara
Substitution58
20
EldersonElderson
15
RoderickRoderick
25
Leandro SalinoLeandro Salino
Substitution73
16
Felipe MenezesFelipe Menezes
Substitution87
46
PetersonJoseph Peterson
27
SidneiSidnei
48
Aníbal CapelaAníbal Capela
31
Alan KardecAlan Kardec
Substitution81

Coach

Domingos Paciência (POR) Jorge Jesus (POR)

Referee

Martin Atkinson (ENG)

Assistant referees

Michael Mullarkey (ENG), Peter Kirkup (ENG)

Fourth official

Andre Marriner (ENG)

Additional assistant referees

Lee Mason (ENG), Michael Jones (ENG)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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