Sporting 0-2 Benfica: Salvio And Gaitan Secure Derby Day Win For Ten-Man Eagles

Benfica defeated Sporting in the Lisbon derby, despite the Reds playing half the match with ten men...
Sporting 0-2 Benfica

Benfica continued their staggering run of victories with a 2-0 win at the Estadio Jose Alvalado over Sporting in the Lisbon derby. A feisty evening saw Benfica play the second-half with only ten players after Sidnei saw red, but it only made their victory more impressive as Sporting struggled to break the visitors down.

Salvio latched on to a cross from Nicolas Gaitan to give the Eagles the lead early in the contest but despite having their rivals down to ten men for the whole second-half, the Lions couldn't create any clear cut chances and suffered a hammer blow when Gaitan volleyed in Benfica's second to seal the points.

The game was delayed as early as the second minute when a flare was thrown on to the field but it was Benfica who sparked to life first. An intricate move between Salvio and Gaitan found the latter in space inside the box, but the midfielder wrapped his foot round the ball too much and bent it harmlessly out of play.

The urgency of a derby occasion was preventing either side settling in the first ten minutes. Mistakes were creeping in, one of which almost proved costly for Benfica when Joao Pereira was bundled over in the box, however three players were offside in the move and Benfica escaped.

The Eagles made their bright start pay dividends in the 15th minute after a poor clearance from Rui Patricio landed at the feet Gaitan, who skipped past his marker and drifted a cross through the box to Salvio for a smart low finish.

Benfica were biding their time holding out Sporting and striking them on the break. Another cross from Gaitan, who was a joy to watch in the first-half, was met once more by Salvio at the far post but this time the winger could only force his header wide under pressure.

Sporting were creating their best openings themselves on the break from Benfica corners as twice Yannick Djalo found space to aim at goal but Roberto remained untroubled.

As the game began to swing in the home side's favour, the Lions thought they had pulled level five minutes before half-time. Helder Postiga was alert on the edge of the box to take his chance brilliantly but the referee's assistant adjudged the forward offside.

With less than a minute left to play before the break Benfica were reduced to ten men. Central defender Sidnei was the culprit in a heated affair which was inevitably going to see the referee step in. A second yellow card was shown to the Brazilian for bringing down Postiga on the run and it left Benfica coach Jorge Jesus with some concern for his side for the second-half.

Sporting very nearly scrambled their way back into the game following a clash of heads between Cristiano and Jardel. Seven minutes into the second period, and while others were waiting for the referee to react to a double head injury, Matias Fernandez dribbled his way into the box only for Roberto to deny him with a super save. Djalo was then unable to follow the rebound in with the Red Devils in panic.

Benfica were making their chances count and when it mattered just after the hour mark. Gaitan's initial burst from his own-half won his side a free-kick on the edge of the area and the resulting corner was finished off by the young Argentine. A deep ball was held up by Oscar Cardozo and the cross of Maximiliano Pereira was volley home by Gaitan with the aid of a touch off Anderson Polga.

Delays for injuries and substitutions allowed the hosts six minutes of additional time at the end of the game but it wasn't to be.

The victory pulls Benfica to within eight points of Porto at the top of the table, leaving Sporting trailing top spot by 23 points.

Sporting: Rui Patricio; Pereira, Anderson Polga, Torsiglieri, Grimi (Maniche); Andre Santos; Mendes (Saleiro), Fernandez; Djalo. Cristiano (Diogo); Helder Postiga.

Benfica: Roberto; Pereira, Luisao, Sidnei, Coentrao; Javi Garcia, Salvio, Martins (Airton), Gaitan; Saviola (Jardel), Cardozo (Jara).

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