LIGA PORTUGUESA: FC Porto And Sporting Draw At Alvalade. Benfica Pull Ahead After Defeating Beira-Mar.

Posted: March 3, 2013 in Porto, Primeira Liga, SL Benfica, Sporting Lisbon
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Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Juntas

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Juntas

Benfica officially top the domestic league after a hard fought 1-0 win over last place Beira-Mar in Aveiro on Sunday. Oscar Cardozo’s penalty in the 15th minute of play made the difference.

“It was a difficult match, but were were able to respond well and press hard in various stages. This was crucial to us getting the three points,” Manager Jorge Jesus said after the match.

“In various stages of the match, players who normally take on more of the offensive responsibilities were able to switch to more defensive roles when the match was 1-0. Often, great players have to think more about the team and less about individual quality,” Jesus added.

Jorge Jesus’ club now lead the Liga ZON Sagres by two points after the defending champions FC Porto drew 0-0 with Sporting Lisbon on Saturday.

FC Porto were missing their midfield stalwart João Moutinho who could not play because of a thigh injury. Vitor Pereira’s side were not at their best all game, lacking organization and determination.

“We faced a club that pressed hard and was always well organized. We played well until the last ten minutes of the first half,” Pereira told Sport TV.

“In the second half the anxiety took over the club, we wanted to do everything too fast. Therefore, we committed many errors in transition and allowed Sporting to break free,” Pereira said.

Pereira said that he was not troubled by the result and added that Benfica still have to play the two-time defending champions at the
Estádio Do Dragão in May. A match that looks almost certain to settle who wins the Portuguese league this year.

Sporting manager Jesualdo Ferreira was unceremoniously ejected from the match in the final minutes after arguing with the referee. Ferreira said after the match that he was unhappy with the referring all game.

Defender Marcos Rojo received his second yellow card and was ejected from the match in the 77th minute. Ferreira was angry that Porto defender Nicolás Otamendi was not disciplined after a hard foul.

Ferreira’s status for Sporting’s next match against Académica is now uncertain. But there were positives for the Leões in this match.

Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori played the entire match and was impressive. Winger Bruma came on in the 60th minute and gave his side a lift until Rojo was expelled.

Another youth player, English defender Eric Dier played defensive midfield alongside Fabian Rinaudo and was singled out by his manager for his impressive display.

“Sporting have a good player here. He has great quality, and no one could say whether he will be a central defender or midfielder,” Ferreira said after the match.

“He has good potential and it is important for every club to have a player like him,” he added.

Former Porto and now Sporting defender Miguel Lopes spoke about the importance of the result for the young capital side.

“We had the better opportunities. We worked very hard. It was unfortunate that we did not come away with the three points. We played well and deserve credit. We did not let FC Porto play the way they normally like to. It is a match that will boost our morale for the rest of the campaign,” Lopes said.

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