A goal up at half-time through Rafa Silva,Benfica ran riot after the break to score four more to equal the largest winning margin for twenty-three years.

A lightning start from Sporting almost saw the Lions take the lead after just two minutes when Ferro almost prodded the ball in to his own net but for a fine save by Odisseas Vlachodimos. Benfica broke the deadlock five minutes before the break when Rafa Silva side-footed home Pizzi’s cross from the right. Rafa returned the favour fifteen minutes after break when he set-up Pizzi to make it 2-0.

Sporting were struggling to contain their arch-rivals and three minutes later a Sebastian Coates’ challenge from behind offered the Eagles another opportunity. Grimaldo duly obliged as he rifled the free-kick into the back of the net. Another Rafa assist for Pizzi added a fourth goal fifteen minutes from time before the Lions were reduced to 10-men, in the closing minutes, when Idrissa Doumbia picked up a second yellow card. Chiquinho, on his debut, dealt Sporting a final blow with Benfica’s fifth from close range.

Captain Bruno Fernandes, who could have been playing his last game for Sporting, apologised to the supporters on social media, following his side’s humiliation against bitter rivals Benfica: ”This is not a time for many words, it is not a time to raise our heads. It is a time to bow our heads and think about the mistakes we have made and that we should never make them again.

It is the moment to think about what made us win the cups we won last year and that the unity and fellowship we had led us to those achievements!” Fernandes is being courted by Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur but Sporting were still holding out for an increase on the reported transfer fee of €60/65m. The Primeira Liga kicks-off on Friday evening (9 August) when SC Portimonense entertain Belenenses (Lisbon) at the Portimão Municipal Stadium at 8.30pm.