Benfica fans are in dreamland. Coming hot on the heels of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League in fine style in midweek, the Lisbon outfit benefited from a perfect set of results from their point of view on Saturday to consolidate their position at the summit of the Primeira Liga.
Although still relatively early in the season, Benfica’s eight-point cushion at the top of the table makes it tempting to take advantage of the skybet sign up offer and gamble on the Eagles wining the 2022/23 Primeira Liga.
Early in the afternoon Porto were held to a 1-1 draw in the Azores against Santa Clara, while later in the evening Sporting were beaten 1-0 at Arouca. In between, Benfica notched up another impressive victory, swatting aside Chaves 5-0 at the Estádio da Luz.
Santa Clara 1-1 Porto
Porto had the perfect start as Fábio Cardoso headed a Bruno Costa free kick into the net in the 3rd minute, the centre-back celebrating in muted fashion having rose to prominence while playing for the islanders for three seasons.
The Dragons continued to dominate the first half, Evanilson denied by an excellent Gabriel Batista save and Otávio shooting inches wide.
The second half was a different story as Porto sat on their lead and the hosts looked far more dangerous. Diogo Costa saved smartly from Gabriel Silva, but he could do nothing to stop Boateng’s towering header in the 83rd minute from a corner, 1-1.
Taremi almost put Porto back in front late on but Batista produced a flying save to turn his header around the post.
Benfica 5-0 Chaves
David Neres was recalled to Benfica’s starting XI and he did not waste time in making his mark, dribbling across the top of the box and thumping a spectacular 20-yard left-footed rocket into the top corner in the 2nd minute. The huge crowd in the Portuguese capital were soon celebrating another terrific strike, this time Grimaldo sending the ball into the roof of the net direct from a free-kick.
Gonçalo Ramos missed a header from point-blank range after wonderful work by Neres, but he did not miss with his next chance. Neres and Aursnes combined to create the opening, Ramos finishing at the second attempt from the Norwegian’s cross. Half-time, 3-0.
Benfica and the fans were enjoying themselves. Only a marginal offside call in the buildup denied Enzo Fernándes another brilliant goal after a champagne move of riveting football. Substitute Musa got in the act, finishing confidently after more excellent work by Enzo, with Rafa rounding of the rout with a stoppage time header.
Arouca 1-0 Sporting
Sporting’s up-and-down season suffered another blow tonight as the Lions missed out on the chance to move to within one point of second-placed Porto.
Rúben Amorim made a raft of changes after the energy-sapping 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in midweek. Arthur Gomes failed to react quickly to a rebound with the goal at his mercy early on, Rochinha’s burst of pace and shot was repelled by Arruabarrena and Ricardo Esgaio’s volley from a Nazinho cross was also kept out by the Uruguayan goalkeeper.
But Arouca served notice they were not playing for a draw as a well-worked break resulted in a chance for André Bukia, that Adán saved for a corner.
And early in the second half the hosts took the lead, João Basso heading in a corner. Amorim threw on the first-teamers - Ugarte, Pedro Porro, Nuno Santos and Marcus Edwards all entering the fray - but try as they might, they could not find the equaliser.
Porro, Nuno Santos and Pedro Gonçalves all missed presentable chances, and when Coates’ header drew an exceptional flying save by Arruabarrena it became obvious this was to be another night to forget for Sporting.