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
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.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT