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Why We Love The O Clássico Rivalry - FC Porto vs Benfica

Why We Love The O Clássico Rivalry - FC Porto vs Benfica

Article by: Kevin Chan

Fri, Oct 21.22

Why We Love The O Clássico Rivalry - FC Porto vs Benfica

Whether it be a fiercely fought local rivalry or a fixture between two sides gunning for domestic glory, derby matches are always great for the game.


Ahead of this weekend's clash between Portuguese giants Benfica and FC Porto, we dive in and take a look back at the history and significant events which have shaped the O Clássico.


Benfica and Porto are two of the "Big Three" in Portugal, the other being Sporting CP. This rivalry comes about with no surprise as both clubs are from Lisbon and Porto respectively, just happening to be two of the biggest cities in the country. 

When the two Portuguese giants meet, it's never just a game

 

Why We Love The O Clássico Rivalry - FC Porto vs Benfica

The Benfica-Porto rivalry goes way beyond football. It's a match that divides an entire nation like few others do.


"In Porto, they work. In Lisbon, they spend the money." goes a famous saying by the locals.


It's the more laidback and wealthier south, facing the industrial and hardworking north. The capital Lisbon against the second-largest city in the country. The "alfacinhas" (little lettuces) versus the "tripeiros" (tripe-eaters). A tale of two regions that compete against each other in seemingly every area of public life.


Stories about police searches, hacked emails, espionage, bribe accusations and even witch doctors have added fuel to the flames over recent years. 


In 2018, Benfica were formally accused of corruption by Portugal's state prosecutor. The case began after Porto's communication director, Francisco J. Marques revealed a series of internal emails from their Lisbon rivals. However, Benfica fired back at Porto for illegally paying a hacker to steal their emails.


The atmosphere around "O Clássico" has arguably never been hotter.


This is more than just a game. Every tackle, drop of sweat and second ball is fought over. The bitterness between them has not subsided one bit over time.


How The Numbers Shape Up

 

O Clássico Rivalry - FC Porto vs Benfica


Traditionally, Benfica were the league's strongest side since the pair first met in 1912, and for years, had a better head-to-head record over their most fierce rivals. However, in recent years Porto was able to catch up with Benfica and has now even surpassed them.


The two sides have faced each other in a total of 250 competitive fixtures, with Benfica winning 88 to Porto's tally of 100.


Unfortunately for Porto though, Benfica are still domestically the most decorated club. They've won seven more league trophies than their rivals with 37 Primeira Liga titles, as well as edging it on the domestic cup front too.


So, Benfica win in terms of domestic trophies. Porto win in terms of overall derby showdowns. It is truly a competitive battle that gives both sets of fans optimism.

 

Key Players To Watch

 

O Clássico Rivalry - Pepe

Although Porto are without key defender Pepe who is an icon for big matches, they have a set of attacking players in fine goal scoring form. From the silky winger Otavio, to the sharp Iranian striker of Taremi.


Benfica will more than likely continue relying on key players in their dynamic midfield to perform, including Diogo Gonçalves, Rafa Silva & João Mário. Not to forget the technical genius of Julian Draxler who is on loan from PSG.


The top two sides of the Primeira Liga will face off this Saturday morning, when Porto play host to rivals Benfica at Estádio do Dragão.


FC Porto are currently three points adrift of the visitors, who currently sit top of the league table having only dropped two points this season. 


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