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Sporting scrape their way into the final – Schmidt is left to rue Benfica’s exit

Benfica narrowly missed out on a place in the cup final in the Lisbon derby against Sporting. Roger Schmidt now has just two of his four title chances left – one of which will be decided on Saturday

Benfica have been waiting for a triumph in the Taca de Portugal, the country’s most important cup competition, since 2017. And it remains that way. On Wednesday evening, coach Roger Schmidt’s side were held to a 2-2 draw in the semi-final second leg against Lisbon city rivals Sporting, which was not enough to reach the final for the first time since 2021 after a 2-1 draw in the first encounter.

The visitors were simply more clinical in front of goal and took the lead twice through Danish international Hjulmand (47′) and Paulinho (55′) in a wild spell after the break. Benfica came back in a flash and equalized through world champion Otamendi (52) and Rafa (64), but that was as good as it got in front of goal.

“We played a good game and looked like a team that wanted to reach the final right from the start. Unfortunately, we missed a lot of chances,” said Schmidt, who nevertheless congratulated his team on a “great performance”. Sporting also played very well, “but I think we were the better team today and deserved to reach the final”. Especially as Schmidt, who picked up a yellow card for complaining during the match, accused the referee of failing to whistle for a penalty

On Saturday, Sporting welcome Benfica – with mixed feelings

After Benfica – like Sporting – failed to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup in January, there are only two chances left to avoid a title-less season. In the Europa League, the quarter-final first leg against Olympique Marseille is coming up next week, while in the league on Saturday (9.30pm) there is a potentially decisive showdown for the championship: a quick away reunion with Sporting, who lead the table by one point ahead of defending champions Benfica and have played one game less.

According to Ruben Amorim, Sporting’s successful coach, who is being courted by Liverpool FC in particular, both teams will go into the next derby “with a good and a bad feeling”: “We because we came through but played less well, Benfica because they were better. But this game will be a different story. “

The second cup finalist will be FC Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes, who play each other for the first time this Wednesday (9.15pm)

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