By Max Jones Valencia came from a goal down to beat Benfica 3-1 in Game 3 of the Emirates Cup on Sunday.
After losing heavily against a Yaya Sanogo inspired Arsenal on Saturday, the Portuguese champions were desperate to impress and, when Franco Jara broke down the right in the second minute, they had their first chance to do so. The Argentinian fed Derley, who coolly finished to double his side’s goal tally for the competition.
But the Spanish side responded within eight minutes. Pablo Piatti drove into the box before cannoning his effort off the post and into the grateful hands of Moraes Artur.
Piatti had another chance in the 25th minute when he connected with Andres Guardado’s short free-kick, but the winger’s powerful drive was straight at Artur.
Valencia looked to have woken up and carved out their best chance of the half when a long ball found Paco Alcacer, whose header crept just wide.
However, it was Benfica who came closest to the game’s second goal. Jara’s 25-yard strike beat Yoel Rodriguez but rattled off the crossbar six minutes before the break.
Valencia started the second half as Benfica began the first. Guardado received the ball 25 yards from goal and fed Jose Luis Gaya, who sprinted past Luis Felipe and smashed his strike into the far corner to level within five minutes of the restart.
And their sharpness after the break was rewarded again in the 53rd minute when Piatti was on hand to power home after Artur had denied Alcacer from close range.
It went from and to worse for Benfica on the hour mark when Artur’s weak flap enabled Guardado to score with a tame attempt from 30 yards.
But Artur had a chance to make amends before he was substituted with 20 minutes left. Piatti again found himself in a dangerous position but the Brazilian goalkeeper was quick to smother his shot.
With 15 minutes remaining Sidnei climbed high to power his header towards goal but Gaya was in the right position to clear off the line and deny Benfica another consolation goal in a disappointing Emirates Cup showing.
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