Benfica grab opportunity to top the table following comfortable victory over Gil Vicente

Benfica 3-0 Gil Vicente

Benfica have gone two points clear at the top of the Primeira Liga table after taking advantage of Sporting’s postponed fixture to overtake their rivals, following a 3-0 victory over Gil Vicente at the Estádio da Luz.

The Eagles entered the occasion in gear, reaching the half-hour mark with a two-goal lead, helped on by Arthur Cabral and João Neves finishes before the break.

Benfica landed a killer blow fresh from the restart, via Rafa Silva, with three goals in the Lisbon capital earning the hosts a jump to first place, moving six points clear of third-placed FC Porto.

Roger Schmidt offered little by the way of surprises with his XI at home to the Barcelos outfit, with Arthur Cabral prolonging his run in the side behind the usual suspects - Rafa and Angel Di Maria.

It took the Brazilian just five minutes to be found by Di Maria, heading with intent inside the box before the woodwork denied an early goal from lifting the Estádio da Luz.

The Red & Whites’ faithful wouldn’t have to wait much longer for the opener, however, with the same ingredients combining for the game’s first goal from a Di Maria set-piece, finished by Cabral.

A moment of panic set in for the visitors in the 34th minute after Leonardo Buta, striving to intercept Benfica’s final ball into the box, almost did the forwards’ job by nestling the ball into his own net, as Andrew scrambled to see the ball out for a corner.

From the subsequent set-piece, however, João Neves was able to fight for precious yards inside the box before poking the ball in for goal number two, setting the hosts clear at half-time.

There was no let-up coming into the second period, with Benfica overloading the box to great effect and finding a third goal through Rafa’s strike in the 49th minute.

A rare counter led by Tidjany Touré was as good as it got for the trailing Gil Vicente, hoping to find the back of the net with a curling effort from the French winger, but a strong stop from Anatoliy Trubin ensured a 3-0 scoreline remained intact en route to the final whistle.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Benfica XI: Anatoliy Trubin, Morato, Nicolas Otamendi, António Silva, Alexander Bah - Florentino Luís, João Neves, Frederik Aursnes - Rafa Silva, Angel Di María, Arthur Cabral

Gil Vicente XI: Andrew - Leonardo Buta, Rúben Fernandes, Gabriel Pereira, Zé Carlos - Jesús Castillo, Mory Gbane - Murilo, Kanya Fujimoto, Maxime Dominguez - Félix Correira