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Portuguese League Cup boosts Benfica

SL Benfica completed the second part of a possible quadruple by beating Rio Ave FC 2-0 to win the League Cup, Jorge Jesus saying: "We are thinking one final at a time."

Luisão (right) celebrates scoring with Rodrigo
Luisão (right) celebrates scoring with Rodrigo ©AFP

In the first of three finals in less than a fortnight, SL Benfica captured the Portuguese League Cup by beating Rio Ave FC 2-0 in Leiria.

Rodrigo and Luisão were on target for Benfica, who also face Rio Ave in the Portuguese Cup final in Oeiras on 18 May. Four days earlier, Benfica are in Turin to take on Sevilla FC in the UEFA Europa League dedider.

Rio Ave coach Nuno Espírito Santo had said he knew "how to hurt" Benfica, and his team surged into action, especially down the wings. On five minutes Pedro Santos raced down the right, cut inside and sent in a venomous shot that Jan Oblak tipped away.

After that, Benfica took control with forward Rodrigo emerging as the main threat. In the 18th minute, he came close from a free-kick and late in the half Ventura kept out his low effort from Guilherme Siqueira's cut-back. However, from the resulting corner Rodrigo produced a precise finish after Rúben Amorim jumped high to glance the ball into his path.

In the second half, Rio Ave tried to fight back, but Benfica kept pressing. Lima and Nicolas Gaitán were left frustrated by Ventura. However, the young keeper was caught out when he advanced and missed the ball, allowing Luisão to head into an empty net and herald the second part of what Liga champions Benfica will hope ends up as a quadruple. It was the fifth time Benfica had lifted the seven-year-old League Cup.

Midfielder Amorim said: "Our success is indisputable. We have had that little bit of luck that we lacked last season. We are very happy and fully deserve this victory. There are two more finals and our goal is to win both."

Coach Jorge Jesus added: "We had a remarkable campaign in this competition, not losing or conceding a goal. Rio Ave were an organised team, very dangerous while they believed it was possible to beat us. I've always said to my players that we need to think one game at a time. Today we are proud to say that we are thinking one final at a time."