Friday, February 29, 2008
Portugal Hosts Several Football Derbies
Someone has to explain how schedules are conceived in some countries. Not long ago, we had Grand Slam Sunday in England when United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal played each other on the same day.
Granted it's on a lesser scale, but Sunday in Portugal, you have the same type of scenario.
Sporting hosts Benfica--which for my money is a top 3 derby in European football--while Porto and Boavista tangle in a city of Porto showdown and Guimaraes and Braga tangle in another traditional northern Portgual war.
Huh? What gives?
Sure the schedule is random; just like the Euro and World Cup draws (not everyone wink at once).
No wonder smaller countries like Portugal and Holland and mired in domestic mediocrity when so many matches of great interest are contested on the same day.
Clearly, the Sporting-Benfica game is the most intriguing. Sporting hosts and must win to keep its slimming hopes for a Champions League spot alive; the title has long slipped away with Sporting 17 points back. Benfica, meanwhile, is 12 back of Porto in second place, five ahead of Sporting, and four on top of third place Guimaraes. A Benfica win closes the gap on Porto should the Dragoes slip, and essentially locks up second place and a spot in the Champions League group stage.
Porto, meanwhile, are runaway leaders and a win over Boavista and the inevitable tie in Lisbon pretty much locks up another championship for the former Mourinho Men.
Lots of intrigue and a spotlight on Portugal for one day--too bad it's one day only. Someone explain this logic to me, please!