Sporting beat Benfica in the 4th round of the Portuguese Cup to make it a hat-trick of wins this season against their archrivals from across the city.
Benfica made the perfect start against Sporting, taking the lead after just six minutes. Gaitán switched the ball cross field to Pizzi who laid it off to Konstantinos Mitroglou. The Greek international, on loan from Fulham, made no mistake as the ball flew under Rui Patrício’s legs.
It took time for the Lions to get into the game but they gradually put pressure on the visitors defence. Slimani almost scored an equaliser on the half hour mark as Benfica goalkeeper Júlio César was grateful to see ball ricochet over the bar. Sporting levelled matters just before the break when Slimani reacted fastest to a looping ball in the box. His flick over Júlio César gave Adrien the opportunity to smash the ball into the net.
Sporting started the second half strongly but Benfica had more efforts on goals as the second-half progressed. The home side ended the half on top though, forcing a series of corners and peppering the Benfica goal in the final minutes, with Brazilian goalkeeper César producing a sensational save to deny Slimani.
In extra-time Benfica were looking good but failed to find the killer goal and it was left to Slimani to snatch victory for Sporting.
In the 112th minute Adrien hit a fierce low shot towards goal that César did well to keep out, only for Slimani to slot home the rebound.
Benfica protested vehemently with the referee that Slimani had taken advantage of an offside position (wrongly, as TV replays would show), and Samaris was sent off for a second yellow card in the commotion.
Benfica threw everything at Sporting in the final moments, Luisão taking a nasty tumble and fracturing his arm in an incident where Benfica claimed a penalty but to no avail.
A visibly angry Benfica coach Rui Vitória said after the game, “I’ve got two players who have had to go to hospital (Luisão and Gaitán), there was a clear penalty for us, and this has to stop. I have a lot of respect for the referees but this is getting too much.”
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