SL Benfica U19 faced Maccabi Haifa U19 in the first game of the UEFA Youth League group stage. In a match mainly dominated by Benfica, the visitors were able to make better use of the few opportunities they had in order to snatch the 3 points. The Israeli side took their chance just 14 minutes into the game, making great use of their counter attacking set-up. Just before halftime the current title holders saw themselves reduced to 10 men after Jevsenak put a stop to another dangerous counterattack. The home side tried to get back into the game, but failed to make good use of their chances and the final result settled at 0-1.
1 – Ready for the first team
2 – Good, potential to be first team
3 – Decent, could make first team squad
4 – Decent potential, unlikely to make it to first team
5 – Unlikely to make first team
- Nationality: Guinea-Bissau / Portugal
- Age: 18
- Date of birth: 28/06/2004
- Club: SL Benfica
- Career: SL Benfica
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Left
Franculino Djú played as a striker in the match against Maccabi Haifa. The 18-year-old stands at 1.82 meters and makes very good use of his physique. He shields the ball very well while also being capable of getting defenders off him. Besides, this allowed him to hold the ball for precious time when necessary to then successfully link-up with his teammates. His receiving skills were good, but at times he lacked the ability to keep a good close control. On certain occasions, the time he lost would’ve allowed him to shoot or to do it from better positions. During this game he mostly connected quickly with his teammates and didn’t rely on his dribbling skills.
Franculino dropped down to help Benfica get off pressure and was very well successful doing so. Nonetheless, his decision-making near the final third was quite inconsistent. The young attacker created some good plays by passing the ball fast, but sometimes didn’t fully assess his surroundings to look for better options . He also tried crossing a couple of times and was very unsuccessful with his attempts. On the contrary, his finishing technique was very good. Franculino scored a very good goal that unfortunately for him was disallowed, plus he also had some other good attempts on target. He made good use of his speed to rapidly press his opponents and to exploit defensive errors. Combined, these traits made him very dangerous in the attack, even though throughout this game he wasn’t able to be very impactful.
Rating – 2
Franculino has potential to reach Benfica’s first team, but his performance during this game didn’t do justice to his qualities. As a matter of fact, this season he already scored 9 goals in just 6 games for Benfica’s U23 team. Nevertheless, he still has room for improvement especially regarding his technique.
José Marques (Precatado)
- Nationality: Portuguese
- Age: 17
- Date of birth: 06/12/2004
- Club: SL Benfica
- Career: SL Benfica
- Position: Right Winger
- Preferred foot: Right
Precatado played as a right winger in SL Benfica’s 4-3-3 where he mainly played a wide role, leaving space in the middle for João Tomé, Benfica’s right-back. He didn’t seem to be very physical especially considering he stands at 1.74m with a lean build. He made very good use of his speed and was capable of quickly changing direction when needed. The winger looked good on the ball with a couple progressive runs, but sometimes struggled in offensive 1v1’s. In addition, he made some good runs in behind that combined with his great receiving skills made him a constant threat in the attack. Precatado provided his teammates with quality crosses, showing wonderful technique with a wide and creative range of tries. He was also consistent with his passing and demonstrated good vision to do so. Besides, he didn’t solely rely on his stronger foot and made good use of his left foot as well.
The Portuguese winger revealed great spatial awareness and explored the free spaces near the wing very well. Precatado’s decision-making was quite good and he appeared to be a very committed player. He gave his all in every moment of the game both offensively and defensively, which allowed to recover the ball a couple of times. Some of those recoveries stopped dangerous Maccabi Haifa’s attacks and allowed his team to set up rapid counterattacks. However, he could’ve done better in Maccabi’s goal.
Rating – 3
Precatado wasn’t very impactful during the 69 minutes of game time he saw in this match. He showed some good details and I look forward to watching more from him, but I don’t think he is as talented as Franculino.