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Photo by Isabel Silva/José Lorvão

Derby victory denied by late equaliser

By Sporting CP
22 May, 2023

The game against SL Benfica ends in a 2-2 draw

Sporting Clube de Portugal drew 2-2 against SL Benfica on Liga Portugal Matchday 33, in a Lisbon derby that was the last game of the season at the Estádio José Alvalade.

Coach Rúben Amorim fielded Franco Israel, Ousmane Diomande, Sebastián Coates, Gonçalo Inácio, Ricardo Esgaio, Manuel Ugarte, Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos, Marcus Edwards, Pedro Gonçalves and Francisco Trincão in his starting XI.

Sporting CP began well and were the better side in the opening stages, creating a series of chances. Trincão was the first to cause problems, with a shot from distance which goalkeeper Vlachodimos saved, then it was Ousmane Diomande who headed wide of goal.

SL Benfica tried to respond, but were not causing any danger in the final third.

Esgaio crossed from the right to the back post in the 21st minute and Gonçalves appeared behind Vlachodimos, but missed his shot and the chance to put his team 1-0 up. Esgaio himself would have an effort saved just past the half-hour.

In the 39th minute, the goal finally arrived. Nuno Santos put the ball into the area and Trincão shot at Vlachodimos, but won the rebound and, after going around the goalkeeper, made it 1-0.

Sporting CP doubled their lead before the break: From a corner taken by Nuno Santos on the left, Diomande out-jumped Grimaldo and nodded in the second goal.

It was up to SL Benfica to react in the second half and they replaced João Mário with Bah enter. Whilst their approach was more dangerous, Franco Israel was not provided with major difficulties.

In the 54th minute, Amorim also changed his team, taking off Edwards and bringing on Paulinho. The striker had the ball in the net ten minutes later, but the referee had already whistled for an offensive foul.

SL Benfica then made it 2-1, with a goal scored by Ausnes. Sporting CP reacted with two more substitutions, introducing Héctor Bellerín and Matheus Reis.

Bellerín began well and, five minutes later, after a good individual move, Sporting CP were close to scoring again: Vlachodimos failed to catch Paulinho's cross and Hidemasa Morita appeared for the rebound, but struck over the crossbar.

Morita and Nuno Santos were withdrawn for Dário Essugo and Arthur Gomes, and the latter smashed a shot into a defender almost immediately upon arrival.

In the 86th minute, Paulinho had a golden chance after beating the defence and entering the area with only Vlachodimos in front of him, but he hesitated with his shot and was smothered by the keeper.

In the eight minutes of stoppage time, SL Benfica equalised after much confusion in the area, off a move that was checked by VAR.

The derby thus ended in a 2-2 draw. Sporting CP sign off in Liga Portugal for 2022/2023 next weekend away at FC Vizela, with the kickoff time yet to be scheduled.