Sporting Clube de Portugal won tonight's 'eternal' Lisbon derby against SL Benfica 2-1, with goals from Luís Loureiro and Liedson at the Estádio José Alvalade.
Benfica, who still have just one point compared to the nine of both their city rivals and FC Porto, gave new recruits Fabrizio Miccoli and Georgios Karagounis their debut in the first team while Sporting acquisitions João Alves and Wender started the match on the bench. The home team played their usual system with four defenders and Brazilians Liedson and Deivid in attack.
The opening minutes of the match were tight with few chances created. The first opportunity was created by the home team in the 14th minute, a long-range shot by João Moutinho, but Benfica's goalkeeper José Moreira saved comfortably.
Benfica back line
Sporting had some problems finding their way past Benfica's back line as Ronald Koeman deployed three central defenders. Manuel Fernandes and Karagounis formed the midfield duo while Simão Sabrosa and Miccoli were the most advanced players. Nuno Gomes started the match on the bench.
In the 36th minute João Moutinho tried his luck again outside the area and Moreira made a superb save. One minute later, though, Sporting broke through, Luís Loureiro opening the scoring with a fine shot from Anderson Polga's clever corner.
Ronald Koeman introduced Nuno Gomes in the second half but Benfica were reduced to ten men after a late tackle from Ricardo Rocha on Rogério earned the central defender a red card. Sporting become more dominant and they missed some good chances.
They were punished in the 64th minute when a Simão free-kick took a deflection off a Sporting defender and left home goalkeeper Nélson wrong-footed. However, Sporting responded to this equaliser with spirit and begun to pile on the pressure as Benfica relied on the counterattack.
The winner arrived 16 minutes from time and it was Sporting that snatched it as Rodrigo Tello sent in a cross from the left and Liedson's powerful header found the target. Benfica had some fine chances towards the end, but their opponents made it three wins out of three this season, and will travel to Sweden for Thursday's UEFA Cup first round first leg at Halmstads BK in good spirit.
Benfica have one day fewer to find form before their UEFA Champions League group stage opener against LOSC Lille Métropole at the Estádio da Luz. They at least will be glad to forget their domestic woes.
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