|Guttmann: Don't cross little men in floppy hats|
The fine old institution that is Sport Lisboa e Benfica will survive far worse than this, but it must be said, looking out on the carnage of a probable lost league title and this defeat in the Europa League Final, both snatched from their unwilling grasp in the dying embers of injury time, the men in red must be feeling like they have been run down by a very fast train this morning.
|Ivanovic remains unspotted at the back post|
All minds fell once more on Bela Guttmann, the floppy hatted Hungarian who once brought fame and wealth to Benfica, but left them with a 100-years-of-solitude curse, when they fell out over how to move forward. The spell seems to be working quite nicely. It is unclear whether the little man, who won the European Cup for Benfica in 1961 and 1962, was a gypsy or not, but he certainly appears to have done a mean line in durable curses.
|Jesus in more (hair)care- free days|
Jesus talks a good talk in his own inimitable way, but he was spitting eagle's feathers by the end of this match, where a crucial flaw did for his men. Branoslav Ivanovic, not one of the easiest players to lose sight of, with his huge frame and plateau shaped backside, was free to leap at a deep cross in the 93rd minute and smack it forcefully with his head back across Artur and into the far top corner of the Brazilian's goal.
Cue pandemonium at that end and the well watered Amsterdam turf littered with pole-axed red shirts.
After a timid and cautious approach to the title decider in Porto, Benfica had reverted to type and gone for the jugular. That both systems had failed him, showed in the lines etched across the trainer's face.
Now Jesus must ponder his season long and hard. A contract waits to be signed. The world was his oyster five days ago. A glorious treble was lined up to reward a season of swashbuckling attacking play. Not a single defeat in the league. And then came that last minute haemorrhage in Porto, meaning that the league has all but gone. European glory has been snatched away. Only a Final de Taça awaits him at Jamor against the dangerous party-poopers of Vitoria de Guimarães. If that too goes west, he may well want to throw himself in the deep blue waters of the Atlantic washing the Lisbon coast so vigorously this morning.