A 2-2 draw between SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal provided a suitably dramatic last game at the Da Luz stadium.
In a full-blooded Lisbon derby, Benfica seemed bound for success until two late goals from Sporting’s Mario Jardel wrecked the home side’s chances of avenging their 3-0 defeat in the previous derby in April.
Jardel leaves it late
With ten-man Benfica seemingly cruising to victory, Jardel pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 85th minute and three minutes later the Brazilian struck again to give Sporting a share of the points.
Zahovic on target
António Oliveira's team had taken the lead after eleven minutes when Simão Sabrosa converted a penalty and, despite Andrade being dismissed for a second bookable defence on 53 minutes, Slovenian international Zlatko Zahovic added a second on 55 minutes.
Sporting remain top, a point clear of FC Porto who were held at home by SC Braga, following their fightback. Benfica drop to fourth, two points behind Sporting, after Boavista FC triumphed 2-0 at Varzim SC to move level on points with Porto. Silva, after 15 minutes, and Martelinho, 12 minutes from time, on the mark for the champions.
A Ricardo Ramires goal after 41 minutes gave FC Alverca a 1-0 win over SC Farense, while Iván Miner's goal 14 minutes from the final whistle saw CD Santa Clara defeat SC Beira-Mar by the same score. The three other games ended in 2-1 wins for the home teams. CF Os Belenenses's Marcão scored after seven and 39 minutes against Vitória Guimarães, who responded through Carlos Fangueiro late on.
Danny Miguel put CS Marítimo a goal up at SC Salgueiros on the stroke of half-time, but João Pedro equalised ten minutes after the interval and Rui Ferreira's 67th-minute penalty sealed the result.
UD Leiria's Silas put them ahead of Gil Vicente FC after 19 minutes. Vanderlei Derlei's goal a quarter of an hour from time looked to have made the points safe but a goal from Paulo Lourenço Alves in the 80th minute gave the home fans a nervous last ten minutes.
The Lisbon derby was the final match played at the famous Da Luz stadium before the stands are demolished to make way for a new ground. Benfica’s new stadium is likely to be ready in October 2003 and will host many of the most important games of EURO 2004™.
When it was opened on 1 December 1954, the Da Luz was the largest in Portugal and was subsequently the venue for the 1982/83 UEFA Cup final and the 1991/92 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final and also hosted decisive qualifying games for the 1984 UEFA European Championship, EURO 96™, EURO 2000™ and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
At one point, it was one of the world’s largest venues with 135,000 attending the final of the 1991 FIFA Under-20 World Cup final between Portugal and Brazil – a game which was notable for the participation of of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Giovane Elber and Roberto Carlos. Latterly, the capacity at the Da Luz has been reduced to 92,000.
The process of demolishing parts of the ground will begin on Monday and is expected to last for about two months. The stadium’s capacity will be reduced to 12,000 until the Da Luz is rebuilt.