Estádio José Alvalade, Lisboa, Portugal
87′ Silva Sent Off
A first half strike from Kostas Mitroglou was enough for Benfica as they defeated their neighbours in the Derby de Lisboa at the Estádio José Alvalade.
The on-loan Fulham Greek international slotted home to help the Eagles leapfrog the Lions into first place in the league.
Chances were hard to come by in the first half, but the visitors started the better between the two sides. The intent was clear from the defending champions, who looked to break on the counter.
The first real opportunity for either side fell to the visitors after eight minutes when Rui Patrício came out and didn’t claim the ball. Jonas managed to get to the ball before the on-rushing Portuguese keeper, he fed Pizzi who crossed for Mitroglou but he just couldn’t get onto the delivery and the hosts cleared the danger.
The hosts rarely threatened Ederson, deputising from Júlio César (who missed the game through injury), in the first half, but he was almost beaten six minutes before the interval. Following a corner, Jefferson fired the loose ball against the bar from range.
After the break, the visitors went close to making it two. Youngster Renato Sanches received the ball before firing narrowly wide of the far post from range.
On the hour-mark, the hosts should have been level. João Pereira whipped in a dangerous cross into Bryan Ruiz, who was free at the back-post, however with the goal at his mercy, the Costa Rican miscued his effort – missing the ball completely.
The Costa Rican was involved in a calamitous miss eleven minutes later, in what was a contender for the miss of the season. Islam Slimani did well to get to the byline before squaring the ball to Ruiz who had an open-goal in front of him, but he somehow fired over from about a yard out. Ederson did manage to get a touch to the original pass from Slimani, but that was no excuse for the former Fulham striker who really couldn’t miss.
Two minutes later, Ruiz almost made amends. After Andreas Samaris lost the ball in his own penalty area, Ruiz won the ball back before his attempted chipped effort was wonderfully tipped away by Ederson.
In the 81st minute, they went close again. This time João Mário found space to fire just wide of the post.
There was late controversy five minutes later when Sanches received a yellow card for a shocking high challenge with studs-up on Ruiz. The youngster was fortunate to remain on the pitch, which couldn’t be said of Sporting’s substituted skipper Adrien Silva, who despite being off-the-pitch, received his marching orders following comments he made about the tackle.
That was the last action of the match as the referee blew his whistle to bring the Derby de Lisboa to an end.
The result meant that Benfica leapfrogged their neighbours to go two points clear at the top of the league. They are now on 61 points whilst Sporting remain on 59 points, and third-placed Porto can close the gap on the Lions with a victory over Braga. It was Sporting’s first league defeat at home since the 11th May 2014. It was Benfica’s first league win at the Estádio José Alvalade since the 10th December 2012.