Despite both teams having equal chances in the opening exchanges it was Sydney Benfica who took the lead from a quick counter attack when the ball was threaded through to Batista who found some space to slot past the advancing keeper.
The goal led to West City pouring forward in search of an equaliser whilst Benfica tried to consolidate and counter attack swiftly. West City were caught napping just after play resumed from a timeout when Sydney Benfica took a kick-in from the sideline, the ball was passed back to the last defender who passed it to the other side of the court to Matthew Murray who lashed the ball past the keeper to give Benfica a vital two goal advantage just before half time.
In the second half West City kept up their power play trying desperately to get back in the game but to know avail as Benfica defended stoically then counter attacked dangerously with both teams keepers being called upon to make some great saves.
But it was Benfica who scored next from a well taken freekick by James Koutroumis to make it 3-0. The goal coming yet again just after a timeout when West City were seemingly slow to switch back on. Frustration was starting to build in West City?s game and but for some sound officiating from the two referees the game could have got out of control as West City?s frustration grew, particularly as the score line did not reflect the closeness of the two sides.
The Crusaders endeavours were eventually rewarded with a deserved goal when Ross Ashdown finally pulled one back for West City. But it came too late to save the game and Sydney Benfica ran out deserved winners on the balance of play.
There was disappointment for the Crusaders mens team which promised much until their recent drop in form, but West City management can reflect well on comfortably winning the Super League club championship.
Benfica coach Fernando Oliviera was very happy with his teams performance, saying they work hard on their quick defence-attack-defence transition play. Plus they work hard on adapting to their 3 and 1 or 2 and 2 formations depending on the opposition. Benfica will take their mixture of good technique and entertaining brand of football to the next semi final round this coming Saturday evening.
– Peter Davies