Skip to main content

Benfica maintain Sporting's misery

updated 6:43 PM EST, Mon December 10, 2012
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.
  • 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
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.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.