Opened on October 25, 2003, the officially named Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica , better known as Estádio da Luz, succeeded the old one, debuted in 1954, as the home of the red emblem.
Located in the Lisbon parish of São Domingos de Benfica, the Eagles stage is approved with a total capacity of 64,642 spectators, around a thousand fewer than the initial capacity, due to the creation of the safety box for visiting fans.
In recent years, the possibility of increasing the stadium’s capacity has been admitted, both by Benfica leaders and by the architect himself, who explained that “another level could be built at the top, all the way around”, in order to increase capacity. for 80 thousand seats.
Architected by Damon Lavelle, from the North American company Hok Sport, currently called Populous, it had a construction cost of 165 million euros and hosts Benfica ‘s home games but is also usually the stage for the national team’s main meetings, having also hosted five games of Euro 2004 (including the final) and the Champions League finals in 2013-14 and 2019-20, having also hosted concerts, the New Seven Wonders of the World ceremony on 7/07/2007 and the International Congress of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the end of June 2019.
Next to Estádio da Luz are also located the Benfica Cosme Damião Museum, a Statue of Eusébio, Praça dos Herois, the club’s official store, two sports pavilions and a swimming pool complex. It is therefore worth remembering the ten most memorable games ever played at the new Estádio da Luz.
June 24, 2004 – Euro 2004 (quarter-finals)
Portugal 2 – 2 England (Portugal Win on Penalties)
One of those national team games not suitable for those with heart failure. After starting with a defeat against Greece at Dragão, Portugal beat Russia at Luz and Spain at Alvalade to complete the group in first place.
Ahead, in the quarter-finals, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men faced England, Portuguese executioner in the 1966 World Cup, but Portuguese prey in the 1986 World Cup and Euro 2000 . This time, the coach of the three lions was a well-known figure in the Benfica world , the Swede Sven-Göran Eriksson.
The game started in the worst possible way for Portugal , who could not count on the suspended Pauleta and had the hero of the victory over Spain, Nuno Gomes, in the attack. After three minutes, Michael Owen appeared alone in Ricardo’s face and beat the Portuguese goalkeeper.
The result remained that way for 80 minutes. At a stage in which Scolari had already given up on a right-back (Miguel), a defensive midfielder (Costinha) and even Luís Figo to put on the field a winger (Simão), a striker (Postiga) and an attacking midfielder (Rui Costa), Portugal equalized in the 83rd minute, following a cross from Simão from the left, with Hélder Postiga rising in front of central defenders John Terry and Sol Campbell, who were stuck on the pitch, and heading towards the back of the net by David James, who only reacted.
In the second half of extra time, Rui Costa turned the result around with a fantastic shot from outside the area (110′), but, five minutes in, Frank Lampard leveled the match again and postponed the decision to a penalty shoot-out. In the drama of the penalties, at a time when Postiga had already scored his own against Panenka, Ricardo took off his gloves and saved Darius Vassell’s kick before scoring the goal that put Portugal in the semi- finals .
July 4, 2004 – Euro 2004 (final)
Portugal 0 – 1 Greece
If you’re Portugese, just thinking about this game gives you a feeling of heartburn, doesn’t it? After finding their ideal eleven and eliminating heavyweights like Spain , England and the Netherlands , it seemed that the European title was in Portugal ‘s hands . Due to the home factor, the opponent in the final and the value of a selection that combined resisters from the golden generation (Figo and Rui Costa), a new wave of talent (with Cristiano Ronaldo at the head) and recently crowned European club champions at the same time. service for FC Porto (Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Deco, Maniche and Paulo Ferreira).
But Portugal never really managed to cause problems for the solid defensive block of Otto Rehhagel’s Greece and ended up suffering, just before the hour of play, a header from Angelos Charisteas that left goalkeeper Ricardo, hero of the match against England , very bad in photography (57 minutes). The home team never recovered from that punch in the stomach and the final whistle confirmed an authentic Greek tragedy.
May 14, 2005 – I League (33rd round)
Benfica 1 – 0 Sporting
Benfica and Sporting appeared tied at the top of the championship heading into the Luz derby, on the 33rd and penultimate round, although with an advantage for José Peseiro ‘s lions in direct confrontation and goal difference. Whoever won would be in a privileged position to win the title and whoever lost would be left out of the race.
The game, in which the suspended Liedson did not participate, ended up being decided by a solitary goal from Luisão in the 83rd minute, taking advantage of a false start by goalkeeper Ricardo to head home after Petit’s free-kick. The Eagles, coached by Giovanni Trapattoni, would confirm their return to the titles, eleven years later, with a draw at Bessa in the last round.
April 3, 2011 – I Liga (25th Game Week)
Benfica 1 – 2 FC Porto
In a phase of enormous tension between the rivals, Jorge Jesus ‘ Benfica presented itself as defending champions, but FC Porto had the possibility of becoming champions at their rival’s home, a year after having been deprived for several months of one of the its main stars, Hulk, due to the famous Tunnel of Light case. The exchanges of provocations and accusations were daily and the duels between dragons and eagles were quite heated.
After having beaten 5-0 in the first round, at Dragão , the northerners beat their rival again and were not encouraged in the celebrations of winning the championship , despite the lights having been turned off and the irrigation system activated. The result was decided in the first half hour: Guarín (played by Benfica goalkeeper Roberto) gave the blue and whites the lead in the ninth minute, Saviola equalized in the 17th minute by converting a penalty and Hulk, also from a penalty, it made it 1-2 for André Villas Boas’ FC Porto in the 26th minute.
May 2, 2013 – Europa League (2nd leg of the semi-finals)
Benfica 3 – 1 Fenerbahçe
For the first time since the inauguration of the new Estádio da Luz, Benfica qualified for a European final.
After being relegated to the Europa League after finishing behind Barcelona and Celtic in the group stage of the Champions League , Jorge Jesus ‘s men eliminated Bayer Leverkusen , Bordeaux and Newcastle , always in a very convincing manner. In the first leg, in Istanbul, a team with some second lines ( Jardel , Ola John, André Gomes and at the time Pablo Aimar himself) was defeated by Fenerbahçe of Raul Meireles and Dirk Kuyt, thanks to the solitary goal from Egemen Korkmaz (72 minutes), after the Brazilian Cristian had missed a penalty (44’).
A week later, Jorge Jesus did not give up on undisputed starters who had not started the game in Turkey in the eleven, such as Enzo Pérez, Salvio, Lima and Gaitán, and managed to tie the tie after just nine minutes, through Nico Gaitán. Dirk Kuyt tied the game in the 23rd minute, converting a penalty, and put Benfica two goals away from the final. But those two goals would appear, both by Óscar Cardozo, who scored his first goal at 35′ and completed the double at 66′, thus taking the Reds to a European final after 23 years of absence.
January 12, 2014 – I Liga (15th Game Week)
Benfica 2 – 0 FC Porto
A week after Eusébio ‘s death , Benfica went to a game for the first time and decided that all players would have, instead of their own name on the shirt, that of the greatest figure in the club’s history .
The truth is that the red footballers embodied the spirit of the “ Black Panther ” and beat FC Porto convincingly, at a time when the dragons then coached by Paulo Fonseca had the status of three-time national champions and the leadership was tripartite between the big three. , all with 33 points after 14 rounds. The triumph over their rival, combined with Sporting ‘s draw at Estoril the day before (0-0), isolated the Eagles at the top of the championship, as they never let go again. Rodrigo following a pass from Markovic (13 minutes) and Garay following a corner (53’) were the scorers of the goals.
April 16, 2014 – Taça de Portugal (2nd Leg of the semi-finals)
Benfica 3 – 1 FC Porto
After three seasons in which they practically only saw FC Porto celebrate and in which they won little or nothing, Benfica held off Jorge Jesus and took revenge in 2013-14, managing to overcome their rival in all internal competitions and showing an affirmative role in confrontations. direct. The most blatant example of supremacy over the rival occurred in the second leg of the semi-finals. After a defeat at Dragão in the first leg, Benfica was forced to turn things around in the tie. Things even started to go well for the Reds , with Salvio opening the scoring and tying the tie after 17 minutes.
However, left-back Siqueira received a red card due to the accumulation of yellow cards and left the eagles playing with one less and, at the beginning of the second half, Silvestre Varela equalized for Luís Castro’s FC Porto , doing what seemed to be the decisive goal towards Jamor (52′), taking into account the numerical superiority of the blue and whites and the two goals that Jorge Jesus ‘ men needed to score.
Despite this handicap , Benfica made it 2-1 shortly after Varela’s goal, through Enzo Pérez, converting a penalty (59′), and reached the third and decisive goal in the final stretch of the match, through a work of art by André Gomes (80′).
May 24, 2014 – Champions League (Final)
Real Madrid 4 – 1 Atlético Madrid
For the first time in history, two teams from the same city faced each other in the final, in what was the fifth time that the decisive game was played between clubs from the same country. Furthermore, Real Madrid were looking for the much-desired La Decima , while Atlético were chasing their first European title.
At the Estádio da Luz, in what was the second time that Portugal hosted the final – after the National Stadium had hosted Celtic’s victory over Inter Milan in 1967 –, Atlético Madrid took the lead in the 36th minute , by Diego Godín. Then the colchoneros lowered the block, joined the lines and maintained the advantage practically until the end of the day, when Sergio Ramos equalized for the Merengues (90+3′) and sent the decision to extra time.
The first half of extra time had no goals, but in the second it was all Real Madrid : Gareth Bale (110′), Marcelo (118′) and Cristiano Ronaldo (120′, gp) built the Madrid team ‘s victories , which achieved their 10th. European title in its history in the same stadium where, ten years earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo cried compulsively after losing the Euro 2004 final against Greece. On the way to the final, Real Madrid had eliminated three German teams: Schalke 04 , Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich . Atlético had already beaten AC Milan , Barcelona and Chelsea .
February 10, 2019 – I Liga (21st round)
Benfica 10 -0 National
Not since Benfica had beaten Seixal at the old Estádio da Luz, in 1964, has there been such an uneven result in the I Division. Since Bruno Lage took over as coach of the Reds , in January 2019, the team has played very offensive football, having scored four goals against Rio Ave and Sporting and five against Boavista . What no one was expecting was a 10-0, no matter how fragile Costinha’s Nacional was.
A goal from Grimaldo (in the first minute) and two from Seferovic (21′ and 27′) took the Eagles into the break with a comfortable 3-0 lead. In the second half, a slowdown or a similar number of goals as in the first half would have been expected, but what we saw was a storm of offensive football, which provided the more than 54 thousand spectators with seven goals: João Félix (50′ ) , Pizzi (54′, gp), Ferro (56′), Rúben Dias (67′), Jonas (85′ and 90′) and Rafa Silva (88′) were the scorers of the goals.
August 23, 2020 – Champions League (final)
Paris Saint-Germain 0 – 1 Bayern Munich
At the beginning of 2020, the covid-19 pandemic changed the plans of all world football. The Champions League was interrupted with round of 16 matches still to be played, with the rest of the competition obviously still to be played, including the final, initially scheduled for the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, in Istanbul, on May 30th. However, on 17 June the UEFA Executive Committee decided to relocate the final to the Estádio da Luz as part of a one-game final eight tournament to be played in Lisbon in matches behind closed doors, not only in Luz, but also in Alvalade .
During that mini-tournament, Bayern defeated Barcelona 8-2 in Luz – in a game that I found difficult to leave out of this article – and Lyon (3-0), in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. For its part, Thomas Tuchel’s PSG had already defeated Atalanta (2-1) and Leipzig (3-0) in Lisbon . The Bavarians , who had won all their games in this edition of the Champions League, scored in Luz, with Kingsley Coman scoring, with a header (in the 59th minute), the goal that earned the German club their sixth European title .