Sporting battered by Benfica after Lisbon derby postponed for 48 hours

Fans throughout Portugal were packing into bars and restaurants on Sunday evening, ready for the big Lisbon derby between Benfica and Sporting, unaware of the drama that was about to unfold. There were 60,000 in the Estádio da Luz, home of Benfica, when pieces of fibre-glass insulation wadding and plastic started falling onto the pitch. An inspection by safety officials resulted in the game being called-off and shortly afterwards sheets of roofing material fell onto to a seating area just vacated.
A similar occurrence happened in January 2013 prior to the game between Benfica Reserves and Feirense. UEFA, European football’s governing body, will be greatly concerned as the Estádio da Luz is due to host the Champions League Final in May.
Two days later the much anticipated top-of-the-table clash finally got under way. In a surprisingly one-sided match, Benfica beat Sporting 2-0 at the Estádio da Luz on Tuesday night, thanks to a goal in each half from Argentine pair Nico Gaitán and Enzo Perez.
A decidedly nervy Sporting were under pressure from the very first minute. Left-back Piris and English born holding midfielder Eric Dier were well off the pace and neither would have started but for injury (Jefferson) and suspension (William Carvalho).
Benfica’s utter dominance of the opening half was highlighted by a wonderful performance by Fejsa who had the added responsibility of playing without Matic who was sold to Chelsea for €25 million.
Rodrigo on three occasions, Enzo Perez, Markovic and Luisão had all threatened Rui Patrício’s goal in a storming start by the Eagles, so it was no surprise when the breakthrough came in the 27th minute. Fejsa won a midfield tussle with Adrien, fed Maxi Pereira, whose pinpoint cross was met by the head of the Gaitán from close range.
Benfica took their foot off the pedal after the break but Jorge Jesus’ men continued to look the only team likely to score.
Midway through the second-half, the ball fell to Enzo Perez twenty yards from goal. He waltzed past Eric Dier before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net to create an explosion of joy among the vast majority of the big crowd.
Benfica’s stranglehold over their cross-town rivals remains intact, Sporting having failed to win at the Luz in the Primeira Liga for almost a decade.
Benfica go four points clear of FC Porto at the top of the table and five ahead of third-placed Sporting.