Benfica leave it late to beat Gil Vicente 2-0 in Barcelos

Benfica reestablished their lead at the top of the Primeira Liga after a 2-0 victory against Gil Vicente.

David Neres missed a great chance in the first half before Chiquinho came off the bench and headed home Fredrik Aursnes’ cross in the 72nd minute.

The Eagles were awarded a late penalty that was converted by Alejandro Grimaldo.

It was a great atmosphere in Barcelos, the significant number of Benfica supporters going home happy.

Chances at both ends

Benfica were making inroads down the left wing through Alejandro Grimaldo and João Mário, Gonçalo Ramos with an early shot that was deflected side.

Gil Vicente weathered the storm and started to get the ball forward, Murilo de Souza’s powerful shot flying over the bar and Carraça’s cross deflected past the post.

The chances kept coming for the hosts, Pedro Tiba’s effort blocked and Juan Boselli’s shot tipped over the bar by Odysseas Vlachodimos.

Benfica got back on the front foot, Fredrik Aursnes and João Mário with dangerous crosses that were cut out before David Neres shot wide.

Neres can't get it done

The Eagles had a great chance to break the deadlock in the 38th minute when Neres was released by Rafa. The winger looked certain to score or provide Ramos with a tap in, he decided to go himself and was denied by Andrew who made an important save.

Benfica finished the first half strong, Florentino’s shot tipped wide by Andrew who smothered the follow up effort from Neres, Grimaldo with the last opportunity that drifted wide.

Game continues to open up

The chances fell to Gil Vicente at the start of the second half, Fran Navarro volleying wide and Boselli unable to find the target with Vlachodimos caught out after a failed clearance.

Pedro Tiba’s swerving shot from distance was slapped wide by Vlachodimos which forced Roger Schmidt into action in the 61st minute, João Mário and David Neres making way for João Mário and David Neres.

Daniel Soares immediately replaced Tiba and Boselli with Kanya Fujimoto and Bilel Aouacheria.

The game was opening up with both teams looking shaky in transition, Schmidt going to his bench again in the 72nd minute when Chiquinho and Petar Musa replaced Florentino and Ramos.

Substitute makes the breakthrough

It proved to be a shrewd move with the Eagles taking the lead less than 60 seconds later, Chiquinho getting forward and heading Fredrik Aursness’ cross powerfully past Andrew.

Soares’ third and final substitution saw Depú come on for Giorgi Aburjania with 10 minutes remaining.

Late penalty seals the deal

Nicolás Otamendi’s header at the back post was saved by Andrew, but Benfica supporters were soon celebrating after Rúben Fernandes was ruled to have handled the ball.

Referee Fábio Veríssimo watched replays on the touchline monitor and pointed to the spot where Grimaldo converted with ease.

Musa hit the bar in the final minute of regulation time but it was job done for the Eagles, reestablishing their six point lead ahead of Braga, Porto seven points back before hosting Boavista at Estádio do Dragão on Sunday.

By Matthew Marshall at Estádio Cidade de Barcelos