Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Da Luz), Lisboa, Portugal
Benfica moved to the top of the Liga NOS after defeating Braga 3-1 at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Da Luz) in Lisboa.
A brace from Kostas Mitroglou on his return from injury and a goal from Pizzi gave the Águias a comfortable lead before a late consolation from Lazar Rosić reduced the deficit as the hosts held on to ensure they maintained their unbeaten start of their league-title defence.
Both sides started well but it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal when Eduardo Salvio found Mitroglou who fired an effort from-range inches wide of the post.
Two minutes later, the visitors should have taken the lead. A misplaced pass from Ljubomir Fejsa gifted possession to the visitors and when Ahmed Hassan was played through on-goal he had just Júlio César to beat, but the forward fired just wide when he really should have scored.
Two minutes later, the visitors had another good opportunity to take the lead when Hassan’s teasing low cross across the face of goal fell to Pedro Santos, who looked set to put the visitors ahead, but César smothered the effort.
In the 10th minute, the hosts went close when Álex Grimaldo exchanged passes with Gonçalo Guedes, who found Salvio with a deep cross, whose goal-bound effort was somehow tipped over the bar by Marafona.
Eight minutes later, the hosts went close again when Grimaldo surged forward and cut-inside before firing an effort that Marafona did well to palm away.
In the 26th minute the hosts went ahead. Guedes surged forward and pulled the ball back to Mitroglou who curled home first-time past Marafona.
Ten minutes later, the visitors had a great opportunity to draw level. Braga broke on the counter-attack with Santos who found Ricardo Horta who fired an effort on-goal but César made a fine save with his feet.
In the 45th minute, the visitors went close to finding the equaliser. A Braga corner was flicked-on by Rosić with a header but César reacted well to tip it over the bar.
There were four additional minutes and in the third of those, the hosts wet close to doubling their lead. A Pizzi delivery from a freekick was met by the head of Lisandro López, who headed inches over the bar under-pressure.
Four minutes into the restart the hosts went close to a second when a Guedes freekick took a deflection to wrongfoot Marafona but the keeper reacted magnificently to palm the effort behind.
In the 68th minute, Guedes went close again. The Benfica forward received the ball and drove forward before firing an effort at goal but Marafona palmed it away.
Six minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead. After a Mitroglou pass ricocheted off substitute Douglas Coutinho, Pizzi who was standing in an offside position, now became onside and he fired home from close-range.
Three minutes later, Benfica made it three. After a Nélson Semedo cross fell to Pizzi, the midfielder did well to keep the ball and send in a deflected cross that was met by Mitroglou who headed home.
Six minutes later, Benfica went close to extending their lead. Guedes found substitute José Gomes who fired an effort at goal but Marafona palmed it away.
The visitors grabbed a consolation a minute from time when Rosić met a Coutinho cross to head home off the post to reduce the deficit.
The result meant that Benfica leapfrogged Sporting to go to the top of the league on 13 points, one point clear of their neighbouring rivals. Whilst Braga remained in fourth on 10 points.