Benfica edge past Casa Pia in key local affair

Casa Pia 0-1 Benfica 

Benfica have kept the pressure on at the top of the Primeira Liga table after defeating Casa Pia 1-0 at the Rio Maior stadium, this Sunday.

Arthur Cabral was the difference-maker in a game that was frustratingly locked at 0-0 throughout large periods between the two Lisbon emblems. 

Coming off the bench, the oft-maligned Brazilian forward unlocked the game with a curling effort coming into the box, tilting all three points Benfica’s way.

A win was vital to keep Benfica’s title hopes very much alive, as they go neck and neck with city rivals Sporting at the top of the standings. A trip to King Johnnie login can also open the door to enjoyment of that winning feeling.

The big omission from the Eagles’ XI was that of Orkun Kökçü, following his controversial words to the Dutch media regarding his current role in the Portuguese capital, with João Mário deputising.

Despite this, it was the hosts that drew all the focus, going close on a couple of counter-attacks that were poorly executed by Gaizka Larrazabal and Felippe Cardoso on separate occasions in the opening 15 minutes.

The hosts held onto having the best opportunities in the first half with Benfica desperate to change that course coming into the second period, threatening through Rafa Silva in the 54th minute.

On the hour mark, Antonio Silva scuppered the best chance yet for Benfica, racing onto a Fredrik Aursnes cross before heading just wide of the target from a prime position.

Chaos came close to descending on Benfica's night after Aursnes, overly keen on getting on with his team's goal kick, appeared to catch the ball with it very close to being deemed in play by the officials, as Casa Pia saw a big penalty claim turned away.

The golden moment for Benfica came off the bench with the gamble on Arthur Cabral, replacing the uninspired Marcos Leonardo, as he was found wide open by a João Mário opening in the 74th minute.

Fiorentina’s ex-striker was able to run at the Casa Pia backline from the right flank, catching the opposition by surprise by cutting in on his left and finding the bottom corner with aplomb.

Left without a response, Casa Pia succumbed to a narrow defeat against their Lisbon locals Benfica, who go top by two points prior to Sporting’s reception of Boavista.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Casa Pia XI: Ricardo Batista - Tchamba, Fernando Varela, Nermin Zolotic - Leonardo Lelo, Pablo Roberto, Neto, Gaizka Larrazabal - Felippe Cardoso, Nuno Moreira, Telasco

Benfica XI: Anatoliy Trubin - Fredrik Aursnes, Nicolas Otamendi, Antonio Silva, Alexander Bah - Florentino Luís, João Neves, João Mário - Rafa Silva, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Leonardo