SL Benfica won their seventh title and will be back in the UEFA Futsal Cup for next season after beating Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 in the best-of-five league play-off final.
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SL Benfica won their seventh Portuguese title and will be back in the UEFA Futsal Cup for the first time in three years after beating their Lisbon rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 in the best-of-five play-off final.
Having lifted the Portuguese Cup in early May against holders AD Fundão, 2010 European champions Benfica – who topped the regular season table without a defeat in 26 matches – overcame Sporting 2-1 at home in the opening game of the final series. However Sporting, who took bronze as UEFA Futsal Cup finals hosts in April, won match two 7-4 after extra time in a contest where Benfica had goalkeeper Juanjo and Bebé sent off.
Now Sporting had two home games at the weekend, knowing victories in both would give them the championship. But despite having to field 18-year-old third-choice goalkeeper Cristiano on Saturday, Benfica prevailed 3-1 with an excellent performance by the teenager.
A day later Sporting led 2-0 early in the second half, only for Benfica to fight back and force extra time through Alessandro Patias, whose goal three minutes from time was his league-leading 35th of the season.
The overtime period was goalless so the match went to penalties. Sporting’s Djô missed yet so did Xande with Benfica's potential winner. However, after Fábio Lima was unable to score, Jefferson sealed the double for Benfica in their first term under 33-year-old coach Joel Rocha.
Joel Rocha, Benfica coach
My first words go to Sporting, dignified losers and an incredible side. This season our team grew remarkably in all areas. We showed a lot of character today and a very strong identity. I would say that Benfica not only reclaimed the league and cup trophies, but also brought back to the club the very unique identity of this futsal team. Now I want to celebrate but we want to repeat these achievements next season.