MATCH REVIEW: Benfica Start Slowly But Defeat Sporting in Deserving Win at Alvalade

Posted: December 11, 2012 in Match Review, Primeira Liga, SL Benfica, Sporting Lisbon
Tags: , , , , , ,
Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Juntas

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Juntas

Benfica 3 vs 1 Sporting

(0-1) Wolfswinkel 31’
(1-1) Rojo (OG) 57’
(2-1) Cardozo (PG) 81’
(3-1) Cardozo 86’

Sporting XI: Patricio, Boulahrouz, Insua, Rojo, Dier, Pranjic, Capel (Izmailov), Elias (Xandao 83’), Rinaudo, Wolfswinkel, Carrillo (Viola 69’)

Benfica XI: Artur, Garay, Pereira, Jardel, Matic, Salvio (Almeida 87’), Gomes, Lima, Cardozo (Rodrigo 90’), Melgarejo, John (Gaitan 81’)

Benfica faced off at the Estadio Alvalade on Monday against city rivals Sporting trying to keep pace with Porto who defeated Moreirense this weekend. Sporting on the other hand, was hoping for a good result after a terrible start to the season. They were hoping to build their confidence after a few decent results over the last few games.

For the first half hour, it looked like Sporting came to play. The best chance came from Argentinian defender Emiliano Insua, who came close through a free kick. Luckily for Benfica, goalkeeper Artur was up to the task.

But a breakthrough came in the 31st minute. Striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel dribbled into the Benfica zone, finding enough room to feed Diego Capel on the wing. Capel returned the favour with a cross back to Wolfswinkel in the box for the opening goal.

Benfica responded well, with a few neat passing plays that resulted in chances by Lima and Cardozo. At half time, Sporting looked the better team but Benfica was clearly coming into the game. Capel and Wolfswinkel causing Benfica all sorts of trouble.

As the second half unfolded, we saw an ever more confident Benfica. An early defensive blunder by Fabian Rinaudo, lead to an early chance by Benfica’s striker Lima who fired a shot just wide. And this seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the game as benfica began to pressure Sporting very hard.

Benfica’s breakthrough came in the 57th minute with an own goal from Sporting Defender Marcos Rojo after more terrible defending from the home side.

From then on, it was all Benfica. Subsequent opportunities from Cardozo and Lima tested Rui Patricio’s resolve. After Khalid Boulahrouz received a red card for a deliberate handball in the box in the 80th minute, Cardozo converted the penalty and from then on Sporting was completely deflated. Cardozo scored his second of the match in the 86th minute.

Sporting manager Franky Vercauteren will stress the positives in the first half, but ultimately his team was clearly second best in this game and remain buried in the lower half of the Portuguese Liga. Benfica remain tied with archrivals Porto on top of the league. Elsewhere on Monday, Sporting Braga defeated Academica 3-1 with goals from Ismaily, Ruben Amorim, Marcio Mossoro and Carlao. Salim Cisse scored the lone goal for Academica.

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