Primeira Liga: Benfica blow chance to open up lead on Porto with home draw; bus stoned after game injuring two players

Portuguese champions Benfica missed the chance to move clear of title rivals Porto as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to lowly Tondela in their first game back after the top-flight season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters June 05, 2020 09:04:38 IST
Primeira Liga: Benfica blow chance to open up lead on Porto with home draw; bus stoned after game injuring two players

Portuguese champions Benfica missed the chance to move clear of title rivals Porto as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to lowly Tondela in their first game back after the top-flight season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primeira Liga Benfica blow chance to open up lead on Porto with home draw bus stoned after game injuring two players

Benfica and Tondela players vie for the ball in the Portuguese league. AP

Porto’s 2-1 defeat at Famalicao on Wednesday gave Benfica the opportunity to go two points clear at the summit but, despite dominating the match at an empty Estadio da Luz and having 24 shots at goal, they failed to find a way through.

The draw took Benfica back to the top on goal difference although they are locked on 60 points with Porto after 25 games. Tondela are 13th with 26 points, seven above the drop zone.

Benfica defender Ruben Dias headed against the woodwork from a corner in the second half while substitute Dyego Sousa also headed against the frame of the goal and then had a shot cleared off the line in added time.

“We were almost always in the opponents’ half, we created a lot more opportunities, we were the best team on the pitch, we played pretty well but that is not enough,” said Benfica coach Bruno Lage.

“It is a shame we did not take this opportunity to make a good start and go clear at the top of the championship.”

With no fans allowed at the match to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus , Benfica scarves were hung on the empty seats in an attempt to bring some colour to the bare 60,000 capacity stadium.

“The presence and warmth of the supporters was missing. It was yet another element that was missing today,” added Lage.

Benfica’s neighbours Sporting played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Vitoria Guimaraes, twice taking the lead through Slovenian striker Andraz Sporar but Joao Carlos Teixeira and then Marcus Edwards levelled for the home side.

Sporting also failed to take advantage of Joseph Amoah being sent off for the home side in the 77th minute and the draw leaves them fourth on 43 points, while Vitoria are sixth on 38.

Benfica bus stoned

A bus carrying the Benfica team was stoned, breaking the glass and injuring two players, after they had played their first game since the novel coronavirus halted the season, Benfica football club said in a statement.

German midfielder Julian Weigl, 24, and Serbian winger Andrija Zivkovic, 23, were hit with shrapnel and taken to the Hospital da Luz in Lisbon to be treated as a precaution, Benfica said.

The attack on a major motorway between the club’s Estadio da Luz and training ground followed Benfica’s first game in three months after the season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sport Lisboa and Benfica denounce and lament the criminal stoning the bus of its players was victim to,” the statement read.

“We guarantee total collaboration with authorities to whom we appeal for the greatest effort to be made in identifying the delinquents responsible for these criminal acts.”

Updated Date:

also read

Germany defender Jerome Boateng files appeal against conviction for assault
Sports

Germany defender Jerome Boateng files appeal against conviction for assault

A spokesperson for Munich regional court told AFP subsidiary SID that both Boateng's lawyer and the state prosecutor have contested the verdict.

Arsene Wenger criticises 'emotional' response to biennial World Cup plan
Sports

Arsene Wenger criticises 'emotional' response to biennial World Cup plan

Wenger's idea to stage the World Cup once every two years led to widespread criticism from managers, while UEFA issued a scathing response.

AFC Cup: ATK Mohun Bagan face FC Nasaf in unfamiliar Uzbek territory in Inter-Zone Semis
Sports

AFC Cup: ATK Mohun Bagan face FC Nasaf in unfamiliar Uzbek territory in Inter-Zone Semis

Despite the lack of competitive preparation matches, Antonio Lopez Habas' side hopes to make up for it in talent and ambition.