João Mário scored both goals as Benfica beat Vizela 2-0 in a tremendous game of football in the Primeira Liga.

The match went back and forth before the Eagles went ahead in the 38th minute, converting a counter attack with João Mário steering the ball past Fabijan Buntic.

It was all Vizela in the second half, the hosts going incredibly close to an equaliser in the 65th minute when Milutin Osmajić and Kiko Bondoso hit the woodwork.

Anderson was sent off late which ended Vizela’s chances, Alejandro Grimaldo brought down in the box in added time where Mário sealed the deal from the penalty spot.

Benfica on the front foot

It was all Benfica early on with Gonçalo Guedes’ shot deflected wide, the winger firing another effort over the bar after being teed up by Fredrik Aursnes.

David Neres and Guedes then combined to create a chance for Gonçalo Ramos, the striker unable to beat Fabijan Buntic from a tight angle.

Vizela were frequently losing the ball after booting it long, but they finally caught Benfica on the back foot in the 18th minute.

Vizela respond

Milutin Osmajić showed speed to break clear before being taken down by Nicolás Otamendi, the defender duly shown a yellow card. António Silva was in the vicinity which prevented it from being a straight red, the home crowd furious alongside a Vizela assistant coach who was sent off for verbal abuse.

It proved to be a turning point for Tulipa’s side who had a great chance to score eight minutes later. Samu sent Kiko Bondoso through on goal, Odysseas Vlachodimos making a strong save to keep the scores level.

It was becoming an end to end game with Guedes’ shot saved before Alejandro Grimaldo burst into the box before his effort was blocked.

Vizela spurned another glorious opportunity to open the scoring in the 35th minute when António Silva played the ball back to Vlachodimos. The keep lost possession under pressure, Osmajić unable to fashion an attempt on goal with the ball falling to Nuno Moreira who smashed it way over the bar.

Benfica take their chance

It proved to be a costly miss with Benfica taking the lead in the 38th minute, the goal coming from Samu’s turnover in the Eagles' box. Guedes broke clear and was tackled, the ball finding Neres who squared it to João Mário beat Buntic via a deflection off Anderson. 

All Vizela

Vizela were on fire at the start of the second half, Samu’s quick free kick releasing Osmajić who forced another save from Vlachodimos.

Otamendi then gave the ball away with Moreira forcing a save from the Greek keeper, the winger collecting the rebound and playing it to Osmajić who fired wide. The home crowd was upset at Alexander Bah who appeared to clatter into the back of the Montenegrin striker.

Both managers made changes in the 60th minute with Schmidt replacing Guedes with Chiquinho, Tulipa bringing on Pedro Ortiz and Matías Lacava for Raphael Guzzo and Nuno Moreira.

The chances kept coming for the hosts who were desperately unlucky not to find the net. Osmajić directed Samu’s cross off the underside of the bar, Bondoso’s follow up effort slamming into the post with Vlachodimos beaten.

Tulipa tried to take advantage of the momentum his side had established by introducing Alex Méndez for Claudemir, making his final two substitutions in the 77th minute when Kiki and Osmajić made way for Matheus Pereira and Etim.

Schmidt brought on fresh legs up front in the 83rd minute when Neres and Ramos made way for Rafa Silva and Petar Musa.

Vizela’s chances were dealt a big blow in the 87th minute when Anderson, who had been booked eight minutes earlier for clattering into Neres, went in late on Chiquinho and was shown a second yellow card.

Mário seals the deal

Benfica guaranteed the three points in added time when Lacava brought down Grimaldo in the box. Mário stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to make it 19 goals this season.

Schmidt was involved in an incident in the technical area after appearing to be hit by a water bottle, sent off for his reaction and reminding the hostile home crowd of the score on his way down the tunnel.

Benfica do it the hard way

It was far from easy for Benfica, the 2-0 result not telling the true story of the match. They suffered for large parts of the game with Odysseas Vlachodimos making some important saves.

When Milutin Osmajić and Kiko Bondoso hit the woodwork with successive chances, it was almost inevitablely not going to be Vizela’s night.

The Eagles did what champions have to do, win ugly on the road.

Roger Schmidt will be relieved and thrilled to go back to Lisbon with the victory. His side go eight points clear of Porto who host Gil Vicente on Sunday, and ten points above Braga who travel to Guimarães for a 9.15pm Monday night Minho derby.

By Matthew Marshall at Estádio do Futebol Clube de Vizela



Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Tough game for Benfica, now 8 points ahead of Porto, should be enough margin to become champions. That ball on the bar by Vizela looked offside to me, but they had other chances as well.

Johan (Netherlands)
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It was. Would have been VAR'd.

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