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Benfica celebrate once again after clinching 37th Portuguese league title

Video Credit: Reuters - Sports - Duration: 01:37s - Published < > Embed
Benfica celebrate once again after clinching 37th Portuguese league title

Benfica celebrate once again after clinching 37th Portuguese league title

Benfica and fans celebrate after winning record-extending 37th Portuguese league title on final day of the season.

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Benfica celebrate once again after clinching 37th Portuguese league title

SHOWS: LISBON, PORTUGAL (MAY 18, 2019) (REUTERS ACCESS-ALL) 1.

VARIOUS OF BENFICA PLAYERS RECEIVING CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY / FIREWORKS 2.

BENFICA SUPPORTERS CHANTING " WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS" / FLARES 3.

BENFICA MIDFIELDER LJUBOMIR FEJSA KISSING TROPHY 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) BENFICA SUPPORTER, FERNANDO TEIXEIRA, SAYING: "It was a difficult championship, Benfica on the first round was almost out of the race but we managed to overcome it, so it was a good championship and a deserved win." 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) BENFICA SUPPORTER, JOAO CAETANO, SAYING: "The change of coach, to Bruno Lage, made the diference and also the victory against Porto" REPORTER ASKING "You think the team improved a lot?" "Yes we have an average of three goals per match, not every team could do and in the second round we only lost two points." 6.

BANNER READING " BENFICA CHAMPIONS, 37" STORY: Benfica won a record-extending 37th Portuguese league title by hammering Santa Clara 4-1 at home on Saturday (May 18) on the final day of the season.

A group of young and ambitious players who came through Benfica's famous youth academy in Seixal, south of Lisbon, helped the team secure the title, a victory celebrated by fans across the country.

Benfica's coach Bruno Lage, 43, took a leap of faith in January this year by giving a chance to Seixal-based youngsters, elevating them to the club's first-team squad.

The key to Lage's success was uncovering the potential of 19-year-old Joao Felix, who trained at the youth academy, giving him a role in the team that helped him to find space between the lines and behind main striker, Haris Seferovic.

Benfica also moulded centre back, 21-year-old Ruben Dias, into a key player both for the Lisbon club and for Portugal's national team.

He made almost 60 appearances this season.

Players including Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and Ederson, Juventus' Cancelo and Bayern Munich's box-to-box midfielder Renato Sanches are just some to have come through Benfica's youth academy in Seixal, which was founded in 2006.

Lage took other important youth players from Seixal, including 19-year-old Florentino Luis, a defensive midfielder who has been linked with a move to Manchester City and 20-year-old Jota, a creative winger who previously had a trial at Manchester United.

Benfica had a disappointing start to the season under former coach Rui Vitoria, suffering three defeats in 15 games, leading to his departure in January.

Turning an inflexible 4-3-3 formation into a dynamic 4-4-2, Lage brought right-footed Portuguese winger Rafa to life by moving him to the left side, which allowed midfielder Pizzi to attack more freely on the right.

Benfica regained first place in the table after beating former champions Porto away in March, a pivotal result in their journey to winning a 37th Primeira Liga title, with 87 points.

In terms of goals scored, the season was one of their best in decades, boosted by a 10-0 win against Nacional.

Despite their domestic success, Benfica failed in European competition.

After being beaten by Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League group stage, Benfica dropped into the Europa League.

They reached the quarter-finals where a 4-2 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their last-eight clash was not enough to put them through after losing 2-0 away.

(Production: Miguel Pereira and David Grip)




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