The unprecedented meeting between Montalegre and Benfica for the Portuguese Cup of football led the emigrant Joe Pinto to travel from Canada to the village of Transmontana, to attend today “a unique moment”.
The businessman based in Toronto, Canada, is one of many emigrants who have traveled purposely to follow closely today’s match at 20:45 between Montalegre of the Portuguese Championship and Benfica of the I Liga for the eighth-finals of the ‘queen’ of Portuguese football at the Dr. Diogo Vaz Pereira Stadium in Montalegre.
“I had a trip scheduled for January but, seeing the draw, I anticipated the return to be in the stadium,” said the 57-year-old Portuguese.
Adept of the club of the earth, that militates in the third step, but also of Benfica, Joe Pinto did not hesitate to cross the Atlantic Ocean and to cross the approximately 5,600 kilometers that separate the two countries, because “a game of these happens once in the life”.
The Portuguese native of Parafita, in the municipality of Montalegre, confesses that while he watched the draw for the last 16 of the Portuguese Cup, he asked “his father to take Benfica to Montalegre.”
“Given that the club has already reached such an advanced stage, which was historic, the draw was good because it could receive a team like Benfica,” he explained.
Despite being a fan of the ‘incarnated’ “in normal conditions”, at the meeting in Trás-os-Montes, Joe Pinto will support Montalegre, although he acknowledges that “it will take a miracle to eliminate Benfica.”
For the emigrant to live in Canada since the age of 13, Benfica visiting the Barroso region is “incredible and to remember later”, remembering that “it will be difficult to happen again”.
Having already acquired ten scarves alluding to the Portuguese Cup, the ‘transmontano’ stressed that “they can make everyone lack in the cold”, wishing it “snowfall” so that the players of Benfica have “a story to tell “.
Already from England, Ricardo Gonçalves also did not ‘resist’ the visit of a ‘great’ of Portuguese football to Montalegre and took a vacation to travel and to be present at the stadium.
“When Montalegre reached this stage, he said that if one of the three big ones went down, he would see the game in Portugal and I did it,” said the 32-year-old emigrant.
A friend of the president of the club, Paulo Viage, and the coach, José Manuel Viage, the ‘barrosão’ recalled that the match “is a unique moment.”
“Probably, while it is alive, it will not happen again, so I made a point of taking a few days off and being able to be in the stadium,” he said.
Always attentive to the development of the Alto Tâmega club’s life through social networks, Ricardo Gonçalves does not hide the desire to see a surprise, but recognizes “the great difference between the teams.”
“I wish Montalegre won 1-0 at Benfica, and it could happen, with some luck too,” he shot.
Regardless of the result, the professional mechanic, nine years ago in England, understands that the game with the Lisbonians is an opportunity for the club to “gain dimension” and players and coach “to value.”
“There are good values in Montalegre, as well as in other lower-level teams,” said the 32-year-old Portuguese.
For the first time in such an advanced stage of the Portuguese Cup, the reception of Montalegre to Benfica motivated many requests for tickets by emigrants, explained the president of the club, Paulo Viage.
“Dozens of supporters who are emigrated in several countries, such as Canada, the United States, England or France, have contacted them to ask for tickets and they will be present in the game,” he said.
The leader of the emblem “Transmontano” expects today’s game to be “a real feast” for the municipality of Montalegre and “a milestone in the life of the club”, adding that there are tickets for sale on the day of the meeting.
Montalegre, in partnership with the municipality, promoted a set of works to receive the game in its stadium. In addition to tripling the capacity of the enclosure from two thousand to six thousand spectators, with the installation of temporary benches, the lawn was partially intervened and temporary lighting was installed for the television broadcast.
Eighth-placed A in the third tier, Montaçlegre will host Benfica, from the I Liga, for the eighth round of the Portuguese Cup at 20:45, at the Municipal Stadium Dr. Diogo Vaz Pereira.