Skip to main content

Benfica maintain Sporting's misery

December 10, 2012 -- Updated 2343 GMT (0743 HKT)
Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo celebrates as he aids Benfica's comprehensive defeat of struggling city rivals Sporting.
Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo celebrates as he aids Benfica's comprehensive defeat of struggling city rivals Sporting.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sporting's worst season since the Portuguese league was founded in 1933 continues
  • The Lisbon club lost 3-1 at home to Benfica as Sporting's city rivals go top of the league
  • Fulham beat Newcastle in the Premier League while Lazio are held at Bologna in Italy

(CNN) -- Sporting continued their worst start to a season since the Portuguese league was founded in 1933 as they lost 3-1 at home to Benfica, with fans of the Lisbon club further suffering as their city rivals went top of the table.

Already knocked out of the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League, Sporting are now 18 points behind Benfica and second-placed FC Porto, who both boast 29 points, and just four points off the bottom of the Primeira Liga.

Traditionally one of the big three of the Portuguese game, Sporting have - along with Benfica and Porto - won all but two of the 78 titles in the country's football history.

Yet a club that won its last league title in 2002, and which last competed in the Champions League three years ago (when suffering a humiliating 12-1 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich), is now in greater danger of suffering the first relegation in its history.

Read: The curse of Portugal's Benfica

Bela Guttmann was a Hungarian Jew who transformed the face of modern football. He worked across the world, enjoying huge success in Brazil and Portugal, where he won the European Cup on two occasions with Benfica. Bela Guttmann was a Hungarian Jew who transformed the face of modern football. He worked across the world, enjoying huge success in Brazil and Portugal, where he won the European Cup on two occasions with Benfica.
Bela Guttmann
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
Bela\'s Benfica \'curse\' Bela's Benfica 'curse'
Ronaldo's best ever goal?
A different side of Cristiano Ronaldo

Despite leading at the break after a fine Ricky van Wolfswinkel goal, Sporting surrendered in the second half as striker Oscar Cardozo had a hand in all three goals -- forcing two own goals either side of netting an 81st-minute penalty to preserve the Eagles' unbeaten run.

After Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz was sent off for saving a goalbound effort with his hand, Paraguayan Cardozo slid home a cool penalty to spark an exodus for Sporting fans from the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Belgian coach Franky Vercauteren only took charge of Sporting, who won the Cup Winners Cup in the 1960s and lost the Uefa Cup final in their own stadium in 2005, one month ago -- becoming the club's seventh coach in just four seasons.

"In the second half, Sporting had great difficulty in keeping up with our game, because we always had a strong and intense style of play," Benfica coach Jorge Jesus told his club's official website. "We beat a great team, one that will improve."

While Benfica's Eagles regained confidence after last week's Champions League exit, Sporting's current predicament makes a mockery of the team's stated ambition upon its founding -- which was to be "a great club, as great as the greatest in Europe."

Elsewhere across the continent, Lazio extended their unbeaten league run to five games after drawing 0-0 at Bologna -- a result which left the Rome side, who lost striker Liber Kozak to a late red card, three points behind third-placed Napoli in Serie A.

Earlier, Udinese climbed three places to eighth in the table after winning 2-0 at Sampdoria --as goals from Danilo and Antonio Di Natale took the Udine side just behind AC Milan in Serie A.

In the English Premier League, Fulham beat Newcastle United 2-1 at home to end a run of seven games without a win, as Steve Sidwell and Hugo Rodallega scored either side of a dipping Hatem Ben Arfa strike for the visitors.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
ADVERTISEMENT