Soccer-Porto thrash Benfica 3-1 to extend lead

Soccer Football - Primeira Liga - FC Porto v Benfica - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - December 30, 2021 General view outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

PORTO (Reuters) -Portuguese league leaders Porto delighted a capacity crowd at Dragao Stadium with an emphatic 3-1 win over Benfica, who were left shattered on Thursday after being beaten by their bitter rivals for the second time in seven days.

Following on from their 3-0 hammering of Benfica in the Portuguese Cup last week, Porto produced another dominant performance to leave third-placed Benfica trailing them by seven points. Sporting are level with Porto on 44 points from 16 games.

Porto fans were left hollering as Fabio Vieira and Pepe both scored within three first-half minutes to hand them a 2-0 lead.

Vieira latched onto a loose ball to fire home in the 34th minute, while Pepe doubled the lead by heading in a cross from Otavio.

Roman Yaremchuk pulled one back for Benfica right after the break but once defender Andre Almeida was sent off for a foul on Otavio in the 49th minute, their hopes of scoring any further goals were all but over.

The hosts completed the rout when Mehdi Taremi scored in the 69th minute.

“We entered the match with the same mentality from last week and wanted to pound them from the beginning. We controlled the game and could have scored more,” man-of-the-match Otavio told reporters.

It was Benfica’s first game under caretaker manager Nelson Verissimo, who took charge earlier this week after a player revolt led to the dismissal of Jorge Jesus.

Porto are now unbeaten in eight matches against Benfica in all competitions.

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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