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David F. Sanchidrián | 27/07/2012
Real Madrid's pre-season campaign took a tumble tonight against Benfica in the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, where they lost 5-2.
Although Benfica have had more time to focus on their pre-season preparations, Madrid's uncertainty in defence will no doubt have angered Mourinho. The Portugese coach saw his side's defence, a hallmark of all his teams and an incremental part of his identity as a coach, destroyed by Benfica, while only two of his players, Di María and Callejón, gave good performances. The Argentine appears to have returned to full fitness and is in great form, while Callejón was his usual self, a 'matador' who always appears when his team needs him the most, scoring twice in the space of two minutes in the first-half to turn the score-line on its head.
Madrid gave a good account of themselves in the first half but were sunk in the second by one of the original footballing giants of Europe. Benfica may not be the team they once were but under Jorge Jesús they have exceeded expectations, winning one league title and enjoying successful Champions League campaigns. With two ex-Madridistas - Garay and Javi García - in their line up and lead by Witsel, Enzo and Carlos Martins, Benfica produced an exhibition of football Eusebio would have been proud of.
Mourinho surprised many by starting Kaká, who these days seems more interested in finding a new club than winning over the hearts of Madrid supporters. He played alongside Di María, Callejón and Higuaín as Madrid flexed their attacking muscles, but it was Benfica who delivered the first punch, with Javi García heading home from a free-kick by Carlos Martins after just four minutes.
Madrid wasted no time in taking control of the game, displaying some quick passing and exploiting the space. They drew level after excellent work by Di María was finished off by Callejón, who then scored a second moments later when Higuaín released him with a stupendous pass which unlocked the Benfica defence.
While Madrid were exemplary in attack, the alarm bells were ringing in their young defence. If the first goal was an indication that they didn't know how to deal with Benfica's forward line, the second confirmed it, as the hosts produced a carbon-copy of their first goal, this time Witsel providing the finishing touch.
Mourinho made no changes at half-time but Jorge Jesús threw on Ola John and Enzo Pérez. This injection of fresh legs gave Benfica an edge and stifled Madrid's creativity, and the Portugese side exploited their advantage. Enzo Pérez put them in the lead again by converting a superb lob over a stunned Ádan from the right-wing, before Carlos Martins finished off a neat triangle involving Witsel and Enzo for the fourth. Benzema and Coentrao were brought on, the latter to a standing ovation from his former club, but they couldn't have been expected to change the result. A second goal from Enzo with five minutes left rounded off a disappointing night for Mourinho's side, which was made worse by the sight of Higuaín struggling with a knee injury.