As we enter the halfway mark of the season, the Macau Elite League had a week full of surprises, with the top three teams all losing their respective matches, including an historic win for Sporting Macau in the Macau derby.
The highlight of the 8th round was the always anticipated Macau derby between Benfica and Sporting. Both teams are already far away from the title fight, but following the defeats of the top two teams the day before, the derby just gained more importance.
It was already expected to be a closer contest than the previous seasons. Both teams were separated by six points, with Benfica in 3rd and Sporting in 7th. The recent two defeats suffered by the Macau champions caused a huge blow to the team morale. In contrast, Sporting have been gaining momentum after a slow start into the season and came with full confidence into this match.
Eventually, Sporting successfully buily on the recent success and defeated Benfica for the first time since both clubs are in Macau’s top division. Sporting showed a great performance and were already 3-0 up at half time, with goals scored by Iuri Capelo, Alexandre Matos, and Maiachy. In the second half Benfica tried to react, but it was only in minute 75 that Benfica managed to score by Denilson through a penalty kick. The goal gave some hope to Benfica and in the 81st minute Nicky Torrão’s goal made sure that there was an exciting game until the final whistle. Despite the late effort Sporting managed to secure the win and won three important points in their very first derby victory.
The remaining matches in Round 8 also offered quite some action on the pitch. On the day before the derby, league leaders C.P.K. had a surprising defeat against Monte Carlo, losing 1-4. However, Ka I, who had the perfect opportunity to close the gap to the top, also lost their match 0-2 to Hang Sai, making this the second major upset of the round. The team that benefited most with those results was Cheng Fung, who celebrated an easy 4-1 win over Macau U23 and climbed to the second place of the league standings, leapfrogging Ka I and Benfica. The final match of the round was a relegation six pointer in which Policia defeated Tim Iec 3-1.
Next week will see the final round of the first half of the season, with some important matches on the fixture list. C.P.K. will try to make up for their first defeat playing against a highly confident Sporting side, while Ka I will want to reclaim the second place facing Cheng Fung. Benfica will take on Tim Iec and Monte Carlo will squre off with Hang Sai. The final match of the round will be another relegation six pointer, this time between Macau U23 and Policia.