Benfica bounce back from European blues with win in Portimão

Portimonense 1-3 Benfica

Benfica have responded to their midweek debacle versus Red Bull Salzburg with a return to winning ways in the Primeira Liga, defeating Portimonense 3-1 away from home, this Sunday.

The Eagles got off to a flyer with an early goal from Alexander Bah, followed up by a second via Petar Musa in the 17th minute to leave the title holders firmly in command of the contest.

That grip threatened to be fumbled after Hélio Varela’s second-half goal for Portimonense paved the way for a potential equaliser from the spot for Rildo, prior to an important penalty save from Anatoliy Trubin on the hour mark.

The miss was further compounded by Benfica’s third goal just six minutes later, attained by David Neres, as the visitors secured three crucial points in their bid to climb back up the league table.

Following his red card dismissal in midweek versus Salzburg, 19-year-old António Silva saw his spot in Roger Schmidt’s XI afforded to Morato instead, with the Brazilian highly likely to deputise against Inter in the next Champions League group-stage encounter.

The focus quickly shifted to the right-hand side of Benfica’s defence, however, as Bah, found in space by Orkun Kökçü fired low and hard into the bottom-left corner for the game’s first goal in the 7th minute.

Ten minutes later, the red and whites were celebrating a second goal after Neres was set free down the left flank, finding Musa with success inside the box before the Croatian’s simple stroke into the back of the net made it 2-0 in an exhilarating start.

Portimonense left themselves exposed at the back with Rafa Silva keen to exploit the gaps in defence, leaving the Portuguese forward close to punishing the southern outfit on a couple of occasions before the break.

Coming into the second period, the hosts looked to make Benfica pay for the chances missed with a timely goal from Varela in the 56th minute, fizzing a shot across goal and past Trubin.

Portimonense saw their first goal coupled up with a handball shout on Morato inside the box, gifting them the chance to go level from the penalty spot just four minutes after making it 2-1 at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão.

Rildo stepped up to the spot just as the under-fire Trubin stepped up to the occasion, thwarting the Brazilian winger with a penalty save that kept Benfica’s 2-1 lead intact.

To make matters worse for Portimonense, languishing in 14th in the Primeira Liga table, they were soon staring at the restoration of their two-goal deficit after Neres buried a strike inside the box on his trusted left foot in the 66th minute, silencing the home support.

The ex-Ajax man’s finish proved to be decisive, completing a 3-1 victory that sees Benfica go back up to being within a point of table-topping FC Porto, ahead of next week's Classico at the Luz, with Sporting yet to play in Gameweek 6.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Portimonense XI: Vinícius - Alemão, Filipe Relvas, Pedrão - Gonçalo Costa (Paulinho, 80’), Estrela (Rildo, 40’), Igor Formiga (Guga, 45’), Carlinhos - Dener (Maurício, 80’), Hélio Varela (Zinho, 90’), Sylvester Jasper

Benfica XI: Anatoliy Trubin - Frederik Aursnes, Morato, Nicolás Otamendi, Alexander Bah (David Jurásek, 45’) - Florentino Luis (Tomás Araújo, 86’), Orkun Kökçü (João Neves, 45’), João Mário - David Neres, Rafa Silva (Casper Tengstedt, 91’), Petar Musa (Arthur Cabral, 45’)



0-1 - Alexander Bah (7’)

0-2 - Petar Musa (17’)

1-2 - Hélio Varela (56’)

1-3 - David Neres (66’)