Several thousand fans turned up for the pre-season friendlies involving Benfica, Levante (Spain) and Nice (France) at the Algarve Stadium.
The Eagles beat Levante 2-1 with a brace from Lima including a last minute penalty. El Zhar scored for the Spanish side. A day later the Lisbon side took on Nice and were 2-0 up inside thirteen minutes with goals from Markovic and Lima.
The Eagles were flying high but the sending-off of keeper Artur on the half-hour mark completely changed the complexion of the game. The resulting penalty was slotted home by Eysseric. Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said: “It was a good training match because we had the opportunity to play with one less player and the defensive sector had to work hard against opponents who finished fourth in their league last season. We are growing in confidence and with 12 new players it takes time to achieve a top quality performance.”
Óscar Cardozo, who had a physical confrontation with coach Jorge Jesus at the end of last season, missed both games and looks set to join Turkish side Fenerbahçe. Lorenzo Melgarejo may have made his last appearance for Benfica, against Levante, as the Paraguayan international is close to being loaned to Liverpool. Chris Wright