By Manuel Traquete
From Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon
Sporting’s crisis doesn’t seem to be reaching an end; today, they were once again outclassed by Benfica who, despite playing with ten men for 45 minutes, didn’t have much trouble winning.
Benfica dominated from the very start and it was only natural when Salvio scored the first at the sixteenth minute. Sporting were unable to react and Benfica kept dominating. In the final 5 minutes of the half, Sporting finally managed to push forward and create some chances, and Benfica’s centre-back Sidnei was sent off in the 44th minute.
But playing against 10 didn’t help Sporting, well on the contrary. The second half saw Benfica dominate again and easily score the second by Gaitan in the 63rd minute. With this win, Benfica have won recorded wins in their last nine league matches, but are still very far from Porto in first place (eight points behind).
Sporting, on the other hand, are a shadow of the team they once were and are already 23 points behind Porto, with no hope of reaching second place. With the team getting worse and older by the year and the directive crisis in the club, it’s impossible to predict if and when Sporting will become a force to be reckoned with again.
For now, Porto and Benfica easily dominate the league. On Thursday, Sporting will try to somewhat save the season by beating Rangers in the Europa League. Even after the 1-1 tie in Scotland, Sporting’s supporters have no reason whatsoever to feel confident in their team.