Benfica take advantage of Porto’s draw to go clear at the top in Portugal.
Lisbon giants Benfica moved two points clear of fierce rivals Porto at the top of the Portuguese standings on Sunday after the latter were held to a surprise draw.
Points are precious at the top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga. Porto were looking to boost their hopes of a 27th league title when they travelled to Sporting Lisbon.
Jackson Martinez came closest for the visitors in the first half. Sporting should have opened the scoring soon after but Ricky van Wolfswinkel failed to convert his clear cut opportunity.
Sporting are not having the best of seasons and things didn’t improve when Marcos Rojo was sent off for a second bookable offence thirteen minutes from time. Van Wolfswinkel found himself free once again but Helton got the better of the striker for a second time to ensure that the match ended goalless.
As Porto drew a blank in Lisbon, Benfica had the opportunity to go top with a win at Beira-Mar.
That looked increasingly likely when Benfica were awarded a penalty after Hugo Fernandes handball. Oscar Cardozo stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick. The Paraguay international should have doubled his tally with twenty minutes remaining but he couldn’t connect with Nicolas Gaitain’s cross.
The victory gives unbeaten Benfica a two point lead at the top of the table. Beira-Mar remain rooted to the bottom.