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Lads lift Eusebio Cup!

The team won the Eusebio Cup courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Benfica in our penultimate pre-season game in Lisbon.

The team won the Eusebio Cup courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Benfica in our penultimate pre-season game in Lisbon.

Gareth Bale scored the second half goal that sees the cup heading back to London, the previous editions having been won by Inter Milan and the hosts Benfica.

The Eagle swooped around the spectacular Stadium of Light ahead of kick-off before landing near where the teams were in position for the pre-match formalities which, of course, included the great Eusebio taking a bow.

With just four minutes on the clock Franco Jara sent Cardozo sprinting into the left side of the area and the Paraguay striker unleashed a fierce drive from an angle that Heurelho Gomes did well to deflect away from his goal.

Seven minutes later Benfica were carved open in style by a combination of Luka Modric and Bale, which resulted in the full-back whipping in a devilish cross that was coverted with conviction by Peter Crouch. Sadly, the scoreline stayed at 0-0 as the flag of the assistant was held aloft.

The team were performing with poise and authority on a superb surface, enjoying more possession than the hosts, but Saviola was beginning to warm to his task as the half reached the midway point.

Carlos Martins forced a fine save out of Gomes on 27 minutes, but Saviola's accuracy in front of goal did not match his passing when it came to the rebound. Gomes later was quick off his line to foil Saviola after the Argentine was played in by Davd Luiz.

Crouch headed across the face of goal from a Bale corner, before Fabio Coentrao shot narrowly wide on the volley after latching on to a headed clearance at the other end.

Carlo Cudicini, Kyle Naughton, Niko Kranjcar and Jermain Defoe were introduced after the break in place of Gomes, Kyle Walker, Modric and Crouch.

Cudicini was instantly called into action to foil a Cardozo header, five minutes later having to be alert to palm away a swerving effort from Javi Garcia.

On 55 minutes came the breakthrough, Defoe stealing in from the left and finding Giovani dos Santos, who in turn played into the path of Bale, who calmy slotted past Moreira.

Cudicini saved well from Coentrao at his near post as Benfica sought a route back to level pegging, while Bale then made way for Danny Rose.

Martins flashed a free-kick just wide after Jermaine Jenas tripped Felipe Menezes before it took a magnificent tackle by Naughton to deny Cardozo after he was played in by Menezes.

Andros Townsend was next to take to the field in place of Giovani as the team took to playing on the break as the home side applied the pressure.

This was absorbed as a the crowd of 30,215 grew a little frustrated and now it is Fiorentina at the weekend at the Lane before the visit of Manchester City a week later.