Sporting 2-4 Benfica

Benfica maintained the pressure on first-placed FC Porto with a 4-2 victory over bitter rivals Sporting at Alvalade this evening, opening up an eight-point gap between the two Lisbon outfits.

The Eagles, in a dominant display, looked poised to take a 2-0 lead into the interval courtesy of first-half goals from Haris Seferovic and João Félix before Bruno Fernandes pulled a goal back for Sporting prior to half-time.

Ruben Dias reinstated Benfica’s two-goal-advantage almost immediately coming into the second period, however, before a penalty apiece for Pizzi and Bas Dost completed a 4-2 score-line.

Coming into the hotly-contested clash, Sporting maintained a line-up excluding Marcos Acuña at left-back, with Marcel Keizer welcoming André Pinto, Bruno Gaspar and Nemanja Gudelj back into his side, whereas Bruno Lage opted to repeat the same XI that gave Benfica a 5-1 triumph over Boavista, last Tuesday.

Alejandro Grimaldo had the Sporting backline chasing early as he attempted to fashion a chance from the left flank, seeing a dangerous cross flash past both Haris Seferovic and João Félix in the 4th minute, via Bruno Gaspar’s deflection.

After the initial warning, Grimaldo was on hand to offer an avenue to goal again from the left, providing Seferovic with the service to comfortably head past Renan Ribeiro and give Benfica a 1-0 lead.

João Félix thought he had grabbed the visitors’ second from range before the VAR’s intervention chalked the 19-year-old’s goal off in the 22nd minute for a foul on Wendel, moments before Renan stood strong to deny Seferovic another way in with a left-footed volley inside the box.

As emotions ran high in the green half of Lisbon, João Félix was handed a second opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet following Seferovic’s through ball, with the young prospect picking his spot one-on-one versus Renan to make it 2-0 in the 37th minute.

The Lions were on hand to bite back on the brink of half-time, breaking at pace following Wendel’s recovery in midfield and Nani’s vision to spot Bruno Fernandes emerging in the half-space, as the Sporting midfielder found the bottom corner with a first-time strike across goal.

Having seen their lead halved going into the break, Lage’s side were quick to reinstate their two-goal-advantage in the second period, with Ruben Dias leaping in behind André Pinto to guide Pizzi’s delivery into the top corner with his head. 

[To watch the match highlights click on the screen below]

A disorientated Sporting looked set to concede a fourth in the 54th minute after Seferovic reacted first to Renan’s save from Pizzi’s shot, but the Eagles were again denied by a correct call to disallow the goal, this time for offside.

Raphinha edged us closer to a goal at the other end from a free-kick, taking aim at the top-right corner before seeing his effort crash off the post and go out for a goal kick, just past the hour mark.

Goal number four eventually came for an inspired Benfica side, as an on-rushing Renan lost out in a race for the ball versus João Félix to bring the forward down inside the box, as Pizzi prepared his spot-kick in the 74th minute. The Sporting keeper came close to redeeming himself but Pizzi’s conversion contained too much power on its way in for 4-1.

A fifth wasn’t too far away, as Seferovic struck the post inside the box before João Félix skied the rebound in front of a semi-unattended goal in the 78th minute.

Penalty drama at the other end saw the VAR assist the officials in sending Odisseas off for a last-man foul inside the box on Dost. The Dutchman picked himself up and made no mistake up against Mile Svilar, on to replace the dismissed Greek goalkeeper.

But it wasn’t to be enough to spark a late revival for the home fans at Alvalade, with Benfica’s 4-2 triumph moving them up to within two points of league-leaders Porto, who face fifth-placed Vitória de Guimarães away from home later this evening.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Sporting: Renan Ribeiro - Bruno Gaspar, Sebastian Coates, André Pinto (Luiz Phellype, 90’), Jefferson - Nemanja Gudelj, Wendel, Bruno Fernandes - Raphinha (Jovane Cabral, 86’), Nani (Abdoulay Diaby, 45’)- Bas Dost

Benfica: Odisseas Vlachodimos - André Almeida, Jardel, Ruben Dias, Alejandro Grimaldo - Pizzi (Eduardo Salvio, 94’), Andreas Samaris, Gabriel, Rafa Silva (Mile Svilar, 87’)- João Félix (Franco Cervi, 76’), Haris Seferovic

 

Goals:

0-1 - Haris Seferovic (11’)

0-2 - João Félix (37’)

1-2 - Bruno Fernandes (43’)

1-3 - Ruben Dias (46’)

1-4 - Pizzi (73’)

2-4 - Bas Dost (89’)

Comments (13)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Wow, certainly didn't expect that outcome. Benfica really came to play!
Can't wait for he cup game this Wednesday. Hopefully it'll be another hot contest with the three teams on top of their game.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

A dissapointing night and confirmation of another failed league campaign for Sporting. You do wonder if this will ever end and now a struggle to be the third best team in Portugal with the rise of Braga.

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Well done to Benfica and really it should've been a battering for Sporting, only a 2 goal difference was too kind for Sporting, I thought Benfica could beat Sporting but wasn't expecting this kind of result and as I write it was a kind result,...

Well done to Benfica and really it should've been a battering for Sporting, only a 2 goal difference was too kind for Sporting, I thought Benfica could beat Sporting but wasn't expecting this kind of result and as I write it was a kind result, the defence of Sporting is getting worse each game. Mathieu is the only good defender Sporting have and is sorely missed when he is not playing, Coates is good but too inconsistent, every time I see Jefferson playing I know our defence is going to struggle. I forget Bruno Gaspar and Ristovski are defender seeing how they play...


Sporting also need a good defensive midfielder like they did have with William last year, whats the point of having a good attack and have nothing at the back or even mid when things go wrong, you can clearly see even with the hotheaded Acuna leaving that there are none worthy to even tie his shoelaces at Sporting let alone play in his position.

I was looking forward to Europa League for Sporting but they need Mathieu back in that defence and that just says it all really a 35 year old defender who has injury problems is your best defender... I guess if he doesn;t comeback Sporting have to go in with a mentality of we score more than you go because god forbid this defence Sporting have.

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VAR got a good workout and the ref was correct in his decisions.

6 goals was great to watch for the neutrals but a bad night all round for Sporting. Benfica/Sporting WAY better than the Superbowl was.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This confirms a trend that has been ongoing throughout most of January for Sporting. They look very disorganized going forward. I know that Kaizer had them playing some very attractive football at first, and they had some big wins, but watching...

This confirms a trend that has been ongoing throughout most of January for Sporting. They look very disorganized going forward. I know that Kaizer had them playing some very attractive football at first, and they had some big wins, but watching their games against Braga, Porto (x2), Setubal, Feirense, there seems to be something missing. In those games, if you remove penalties or individual performances - namely from Bruno Fernandes and Wendel - there is very little to like about the way this team performs going forward. They almost remind me of some of those national teams from years ago when the likes of Albania would park the bus and we seemed unable to figure out how to break through.

I'm a little surprised that Raphina continues to start. I know that there has been much praise for Kaizer, but when was the last time the Jovane got more than 5 minutes of playing time? A few months ago he was all the rage (and rightly so), and now hes stuck behind an ineffective winger that cannot produce.

The midfield is very fragile. I actually had to look it up because I forgot about him, but Battaglia has been a big miss. I don't know if Ilori will be the remedy the backline needs, but this team seems VERY vulnerable.

I read on this site many months ago after a Europa League game that Nani should be played upfront and not on the wing. I can't agree with this more. Out on the wing, he takes too long to make decisions, tries to do too much and ends up playing a wayward ball or being tackled. When he plays a ball first time without trying to do as much - you get the type of play that lead to Sporting's 1st goal. Funny - he is literally the exact same player now as he was 10 years ago.

I think the rather fortunate League Cup victory has masked some of this team's weaknesses. That, and the play of a select few players. I truly hope that they can continue to challenge for a top 3 place, as unlikely as that looks. As someone else pointed out - this may also be a good opportunity to focus on Europe.

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In all honesty, the 4-2 scoreline flatters Sporting quite a bit. Benfica were completely dominant from start to finish, something we never saw under Rui Vitoria in any of our games against Porto and Sporting. Sporting's incompetence certainly...

In all honesty, the 4-2 scoreline flatters Sporting quite a bit. Benfica were completely dominant from start to finish, something we never saw under Rui Vitoria in any of our games against Porto and Sporting. Sporting's incompetence certainly made our jobs easier, but the difference in attitude between what we've seen thus far under Lage and what we grew accustomed to under Vitoria is night and day. And it's not just the quality of the football that Lage has us playing, it's the mentality, the intensity, the discipline.

Joao Felix was superb yet again. Pizzi, Grimaldo, Seferovic, and Gabriel also put in excellent shifts. I also can't forget to mention Ruben Dias. While the young defender has had his issues with consistency this season, I do not think it's a coincidence that his two best performances of the season have come against our two main rivals. He is a big-game player and a natural leader.

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Benfiquistas pounding their chest on beating a club in complete shambles .

Joao Felix is a gem, most benfica youth are vastly overrated but Felix is brilliant for his age. What he is doing this season is impressive. He has a great touch and...

Benfiquistas pounding their chest on beating a club in complete shambles .

Joao Felix is a gem, most benfica youth are vastly overrated but Felix is brilliant for his age. What he is doing this season is impressive. He has a great touch and passing ability. Also seems to have an eye for goal. His intelligence and off the ball movement are light years ahead of most players in his age group.

I am quite impressed with Joao Felix, I think he has potential to be a world class player and contender for ballon dor one day.

As for Sporting, our squad lacks depth. We really only have 3-4 good players (Bruno Fernandes, bas Dost, Wendel, matheiu).
It’s amazing we won a league cup after what has happened . Unfortunately we are back to square one after bdc ripped up the script and set back our project with the incident from last season. It’s too bad because if sporting held on to Patricio , William, Rafael leao (who is scoring a lot of goals in Ligue 1), and gelson Martins they would have had a shot at the title this season.

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I’ll say one more thing
Why doesn’t benfica play like this against Porto? Porto always beats benfica when it counts so you need to step up against them if you want to win the league title.

Fortunately for benfica , Porto still has to play...

I’ll say one more thing
Why doesn’t benfica play like this against Porto? Porto always beats benfica when it counts so you need to step up against them if you want to win the league title.

Fortunately for benfica , Porto still has to play sporting again and for some reason Porto struggles against sporting.

I am a Sporting fan. I equally dislike benfica and Porto but if I had to chose, I might prefer benfica to win this league because of Joao Felix . Porto has hardly any portiguese players and Sérgio Conceição acts like a douchebag.

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-Z-, Zoro, or whatever--- almost clever. You're the last Sporting fan alive. Congrats for winning the 100 million prize for being the last man standing. Keep the faith. You never know. You just never know. Someday, many years from now, Sporting...

-Z-, Zoro, or whatever--- almost clever. You're the last Sporting fan alive. Congrats for winning the 100 million prize for being the last man standing. Keep the faith. You never know. You just never know. Someday, many years from now, Sporting may again finish ahead of Braga as runner up to either Porto or Benfica.

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How about that last game in Taça where benfica won 2-1 with sporting getting a crucial away goal. Clear penalty not called in favor of sporting and no VAR review , could have been 2-2. Sporting is well positioned for the return leg given their...

How about that last game in Taça where benfica won 2-1 with sporting getting a crucial away goal. Clear penalty not called in favor of sporting and no VAR review , could have been 2-2. Sporting is well positioned for the return leg given their away goal. Of course , benfica -biased Portugoal doesn’t report on it yet .

As for you Danny, what you have to say is inconsequential. I have built a successful life following my own path. let’s just say my bank account puts many to shame and my interest in posting on Portugal in but a mere distraction from my life of success, money, travel, and company with fine young ladies.

Regards ,

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

@--Z-- You are so proud of your successfull life you post under a childish handle

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