Estacao da Luz

Estádio da Luz

The Estádio da Luz (pron. ), officially named the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and commonly mistranslated as Stadium of Light, is a football stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, the home of SL Benfica. It is also called A Catedral ("The Cathedral") by Benfica's supporters.

Luz is actually the area of Lisbon in which the Estádio da Luz stands. The area is named after Our Lady of the Light (Nossa Senhora da Luz). As the people of Lisbon often referred to the original stadium, demolished beginning in 2002, as simply the light, the common English name for the stadium became the stadium of light. The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, England may well have been inspired by this Lisbon example, though it has other well established reasons for bearing the name.

It hosted several matches in the UEFA Euro 2004, including the final. The previous Benfica stadium (also called "Estádio da Luz" and one of the largest stadiums in the world with 120,000 seats) was demolished and the new one was built for the tournament with an official capacity of 65,647. The architect, Damon Lavelle, designed the stadium to use as much natural light as possible. It is classified by UEFA as a five star stadium, allowing it to host major European cup finals. The original Estádio da Luz, opened in 1954, hosted the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup final before a crowd of well under 120,000, its absolute capacity in those years. Before that final it also hosted the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship final held in Portugal with an impressive attendance of 130,000. The original stadium replaced Estadio do Campo Grande.

The old Estadio Da Luz saw performances from the likes of Eusébio and Rui Costa. It hosted championship after championship during the glory days of the '50s and '60s.

In the year 1999 Portugal was selected as the host of the 2004 European Championships. After many false starts Benfica presented a proposal for re-building their stadium in order to enable it to become the main venue for that championship.

In October 2003, the stadium opened to a sell out crowd as Benfica took on Nacional Montevideo of Uruguay in an exhibition match.

Benfica return

Immediately, Benfica's aspirations seemed revived. In its first season, Benfica went on to conquer the Taça de Portugal (The cup of Portugal). The Encarnados' first trophy in 8 years came after beating an impressive FC Porto side 2-1. Porto were, at the time, managed by José Mourinho. Simao was the hero in extra time as Benfica battled back from a goal down to claim the Taça. In the stadium's second season, the team recaptured the title of Champions of Portugal after 11 long years. The new stadium was the venue for a historic 1-0 victory over eternal rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal before a 1-1 draw away at Boavista sealed the championship. Following the final whistle, thousands of fans packed into the stadium to celebrate the campeonato (Championship). Benfica had returned!

The all new Estadio Da Luz. A modern structure that can go down as one of the finest modern sports facilities in Europe with UEFA awarding it five stars. After its opening on the 25th of October 2003, it went on to host the final of Euro 2004 as well as some of the other tournament highlights. Most notably for the host nation, one was a penalty shoot out win over England in the quarter finals.

Architect Damon Lavelle designed the stadium to focus on light and transparency, offering an incentive to name the stadium "Estadio da Luz" (meaning stadium of light in Portuguese) as the original stadium was named after the neighbourhood the old ground was built on. The polycarbonate roof of the stadium allows the sun's rays to penetrate it, lighting the stadium. The roof, which is supported by tie beams of four steel arches, seems to float on the underlying tribunes. The arches measure 43 metres in height and help to define the look of the stadium after having been shaped to be similar to the wavy profile of the 3 tiers of the stadium.

Famous results

2004

Superliga - SL Benfica 1-0 Sporting C.P. A late goal, attributed to Luisão despite Sporting's goalkeeper apparently fumbling the ball into his own net, handed Benfica a win that ensured they would go into the final match day with their fate in their own hands. In the same year Greece won the European championships by beating hosts Portugal in the final with a goal from Angelos Charisteas. The stadium since then has lived in Greek folklore where they won their first ever tournament.

2005

UEFA Champions League - S.L. Benfica 2-1 Manchester United. Benfica went into the final match of the UEFA Champions League group stages needing a win against group favourites Manchester United. Benfica had never previously beaten the Reds of Manchester, not even during the days of Eusébio. Benfica's chances of reaching the latter stages of the Champions League for the first time in its modern format seemed limited after Paul Scholes gave Man Utd a 6th minute lead. But goals from Geovanni and a deflected shot from Beto saw Benfica come back to claim a famous victory. Superliga-Benfica 4-0 Leira. Nuno Gomes scored a hat trick that helped Benfica to their biggest win of the season.

2006

UEFA Champions League - S.L. Benfica 1-0 Liverpool After being drawn against reigning European Champions, Liverpool, no one expected Benfica to pose much threat. Central defender, Luisao, sprung a surprise when he headed in a winner 6 minutes from time to see Benfica win 1-0. Benfica won the return leg 2-0 to claim a famous aggregate victory.

2006

Superliga - S.L. Benfica 1-0 F.C. Porto After ending their 14 year wait for a victory away at Porto, Benfica needed to beat their eternal rivals once again to maintain their challenge for the Championship. Laurent Robert scored his first league goal for Benfica with a long range, bending free kick. Benfica hung on to claim a famous double. In a game to open the season Benfica beat Bourdeux 2-0 thanks to goals by Fabrizio Miccoli and Marcel.

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