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Player Ratings: Benfica 5-0 Everton

BENFICA  

Julio Cesar – 6: Had a few routine saves to make in the first half but had absolutely nothing to do in the second.

Amorim – 7: Stood his ground to keep the likes of Bilyaletdinov and Jo on a leash whenever they drifted off to his flank.

Luisao – 8: Rock solid at the back and even looked threatening when he joined the attack for set-pieces. Capped off a remarkable evening with a trademark header.

David Luiz – 6.5: Collaborated well with Luisao and the two often showed great understanding. Rarely troubled at the back.

Peixoto – 6.5: Didn’t always have his own way against Cahill but nothing significant materialized even when he was beaten. Never abandoned his post and always made sure his flank was covered.

Ramires 7: Drifted in and out of the game but whenever the Brazilian had the ball at his feet, he didn’t miss a beat in terrorizing the visiting backline.

Javi Garcia – 7: The quietest of all the outfield players but he did his job brilliantly by stifling Everton’s midfield assaults.

Di Maria – 9.5: Absolutely unplayable and ripped Everton to shreds. Constantly whipped in dangerous crosses and his assist for Saviola’s opener was delivered with pin-point accuracy. Also set up the third and fifth goals, had a hand in the fourth and almost scored one of his own, but was denied by the bar.

Aimar – 7.5: Nothing flashy but pulled the strings in midfield with his runs forward from deep. Dictated the pace and direction of his team’s attacks. Delivered a precise corner for the fourth goal.

Cardozo – 8: Put his height and strength to good use and netted twice from close range. Had a few chances to nab a hat-trick but he did more than just wait around for the ball in the box. Combined brilliantly with the rest of his attackers.

Saviola – 8.5: Struck his volley with superb technique and poise. A constant nuisance whenever he sneaked in quietly to the box. Made an assist for the second goal and initiated the third.

Substitutes:

Carlos Martins – 6: Didn’t have much to show other than a few shots and crosses.

Coentrao – 6: Settled into the game quickly and made one dashing run into the box.

Weldon N/A

EVERTON

Howard – 5: Had to be very alert to deal with Benfica’s aerial raids in the first half but left cruelly exposed by his defenders after the break. Couldn’t have done anything with any of the goals.

Gosling – 3: Struggled to cope with Di Maria’s pace and trickery. Beaten by the Argentine every time and it was no surprise that four of the five goals came through his flank.

Hibbert – 4: Had to peel out wide to cover for Gosling at times but in the middle, he had no answers to the towering Cardozo or the nippy Saviola.

Distin – 5: Showed great strength and speed to cope with Benfica’s lightening quick attackers initially but once the home side clicked into gear, he was left hapless.

Coleman – 4: The inexperienced debutant was easily targeted and swamped by defenders every time he had the ball.

Fellaini – 6: He made himself available to pick up any loose balls and lead the attack from deep. Like the rest of his team-mates, completely vanished in the second period.

Cahill – 6: Offered very little upfront but had to drop back to help out in defence, especially on his right flank where Di Maria was wreaking havoc.

Rodwell – 5: Had moments when he looked as though he would explode to life. But it never happened as he quickly fizzled away.

Bilyaletdinov – 7: The only player to show any attacking intent and provide any threat to the Benfica goal.

Jo 5: Full  marks for effort and running but without any support from his team-mates, he just had too much to do and couldn’t pull off anything in the end.

Yakubu – 4: Did not have a single shot to show. Swapped roles back and forth with Jo in the second half just to get a touch of the ball.

Substitutes:

Saha – 6: Unlucky to see his scissor kick cannon back off the post in what was Everton’s only attempt at goal in the second half.

Baxter – N/A

KS Leong, Goal.com

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