FC v SL Benfica - O Clássico ("The Classic")
These two teams Porto and Benfica are two out of the big three clubs in Portuguese football, known as the Três Grandes, the third being Sporting CP who have all competed in every season of the Primeira Liga since its establishment in 1934. Lisbon (the home of Benfica) and Porto are the two largest cities in Portugal and these are two of the wealthiest clubs who over the years have frequently battled it out to be the top dogs of football in Portugal.
The term O Clássico ("The Classic") is the familiar description of any match between S.L. Benfica and FC Porto. Originally, the term O Clássico was only applied to the their meetings in Primeira Liga but now has been extended to include matches in Taça de Portugal, Taça da Liga and Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira. Strangely enough these two Clubs with nine International titles shared between both of them have never faced each other in a European competition.
Benfica play their games in the 64,000 capacity Estádio da Luz whilst Porto’s home games since 2003 have been played in the Estádio do Dragão (Dragon Ground) which has a current capacity in excess of 50,000. The atmosphere generated for O Clássico games in either of these two stadia has to be felt to be believed.
There have been 162 matches between the two sides in the Liga and Porto which throws up a very interesting statistic in that Porto have won more matches (63-55) but Benfica have the higher goal tally. Looking at the overall head-to-head stats, including all Cup competitions but excluding exhibition games, the record is far more even between these two rivals. Benfica have won 86 to Porto’s 89 and the goal tally taking all games into account is 372 to Benfica compared to Porto’s total of 337.
The game over the decades has thrown up some famous (or infamous) results, depending on which of the two clubs you support. Benfica’s biggest victory margin was 12-2 in 1943 and their biggest away result 8-2 in 1952. Porto can point to an 8-0 win in 1933 and a 5-0 away win in 1996. In terms of consecutive success and failure in O Clássico matches, Benfica have played a run of nine matches without winning (31 January 1988 – 17 April 1991) whilst Porto’s record barren spell was seven matches (24 January 1982 – 8 December 1983). The most common result, believe it or not, has been 1-1 – a score line that has featured no less than fourteen times.
In the 2014-15 season, two goals from Lima gave Benfica a win at the Dragon Ground with the return fixture ending in a goalless draw.
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