With only one win in their last six games, including a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League, these are worrying times for the league champions as they once again failed to win against Marítimo in Madeira.
The top two in the Primeira Liga, FC Porto and Sporting shared the spoils at the Alvalade in a scrappy but entertaining first clássico of the season whilst SC Braga closed in on the top three with six of the best against Estoril Praia.
The eagerly awaited clash between Sporting and Porto at the Estádio José Alvalade ended goalless mainly due to the outstanding performance of the Lions’ keeper Rui Patrício.
The Portugal international, his brilliance in the European Championship triumph against France last year will long be remembered, was mainly responsible for denying Porto all three points.
Yacine Brahimi, Moussa Marega and Vincent Aboubakar were in imperious form as the Sporting defence struggled to contain a rampant Porto.
Five minutes before the interval Porto so nearly took the lead but Patrício foiled Aboubakar with a perfectly timed interception.
Minutes later Patrício was beaten by a Marega header but the ball rebounded off the crossbar with the keeper on hand to divert Aboubakar’s follow up shot.
Ten minutes from time, it was that man Patrício who once again saved Sporting as substitute Otávio played in Marega for an opportunity from point-blank range.
The keeper spread himself to make a vital save to maintain the Lions unbeaten start to the season.
Benfica fans were in vitriolic mood following two heavy defeats in the Champions League so the early goal in Madeira was just the tonic needed. Jonas curled in a superb shot after just two minutes to get the Eagles off to a flier.
Midway through the second-half Marítimo drew level when Bebeto unlocked Benfica’s defence with an out-swinging cross for Ricardo Valente to head firmly past Júlio César.
The Benfica keeper was left stranded ten minutes before the final whistle as Everton robbed Jardel to charge through on goal before curling his shot wide of the goal to maintain a 1-1 scoreline that will have done little to pacify the Benfiquistas.
Benfica are also embroiled in a war-of-words with Glasgow Rangers after pulling out of a scheduled Eusebio Cup match in Hamilton, Canada today (Friday).
Rangers are said to be taking legal advice but Benfica blame organisers Elite Soccer Entertainment for the cancellation of the game which was due to take place during the international break.