Benfica press on with healthy victory in local affair

Estrela 1-4 Benfica

Benfica have momentarily surpassed Sporting at the top of the table after defeating Estrela da Amadora 4-1 away from home, this evening.

The Eagles were forced to come from behind after Léo Jabá’s opener placed the hosts a goal up in the 28th minute.

The turnaround was complete before the first half was even up, however, as Arthur Cabral and Rafa Silva both emerged to get their names on the scoresheet.

Nicolas Otamendi’s second-half finish added some much-needed breathing space to Benfica’s otherwise complex night, completed by a third goal in as many games late on for Marcos Leonardo, signing out a 4-1 win at the Reboleira.

Following the demise against Estoril in the Allianz Cup semi-final, Roger Schmidt welcomed back Arthur Cabral to lead the line as rumours of Petar Musa’s imminent departure refuse to go away.

The game commenced with a penalty awarded to Benfica in the third minute but, upon closer inspection, Mansur’s challenge on Rafa was judged to have been clean and the spot-kick was eventually overturned.

An Orkun Kökçü free-kick was as threatening as it got from Benfica’s side, forcing a save from Bruno Brígido before Léo Jabá spiced up the affair in the 28th minute, issuing a shock with Estrela’s first goal of the evening.

Regis N’Do could’ve doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 40th minute after rounding Anatoliy Trubin, subsequently narrowing his angle to strike at goal before taking aim at the side-netting. 

The price was paid via an Arthur Cabral equaliser in the 44th minute with a beautiful moment of improvisation inside the box from the Brazilian, finishing with an overhead kick after controlling Angel Di Maria’s cross on his chest.

Rafa followed in with a second goal on the brink of half-time, thundering a half-volley into the bottom corner to facilitate Schmidt’s half-time team talk somewhat.

But the second period wasn’t to be stress-free as Ronaldo Tavares threatened to claw Benfica back level with Estrela when arriving late to a fizzed cross, just minutes in. Schmidt and his men could breathe a little easier in the 52nd minute, however, as Otamendi made it 3-1 from a strike originating from a set-piece. 

Estrela weren’t to be disheartened but a second yellow card awarded to Regis, reducing the home side down to ten men, was a sure way of stifling the 14th-placed outfit.

Marcos Leonardo’s goal in the 93rd minute landed the knockout punch for Benfica, securing a generous 4-1 victory that took them two points above Sporting, yet to play Casa Pia at the time of writing.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Estrela XI: Bruno Brígido - Mansur, Pedro Mendes, Omorwa - João Reis, Aloísio Souza, Leonardo, Jean Felipe - Léo Jabá, Regis N’do, Ronaldo Tavares

Benfica: Anatoliy Trubin - Morato, Nicolas Otamendi, António Silva, Frederik Aursnes - Orkun Kökçü, João Neves, João Mário - Rafa Silva, Angel Di María, Arthur Cabral