The Macau Elite League is progressing and with half a season already played Benfica Macau are comfortably in the lead, 7 points clear of runners-up C.P.K.
Round 9 of the season saw the biggest match in the league, the Macau derby, which is following the tradition of the Lisbon derby between Sporting and Benfica.
Prior to this match, Sporting were eight points behind Benfica, but due to the meaning that the derby has for the Portuguese community the outcome is always unpredictable. Both teams were missing some key players: Benfica’s center back Vitor Almeida was unavailable due to an injury, and Sporting were also without two of their key players, Eric Peres and Bright Ike.
Although expectations were rather high, the match itself offered little for the history books, as it ended in a one-sided 5-1 victory for Benfica, who are still unbeaten in this season. In fact, the game was already decided by the end of the first half, when Benfica had a 3-0 lead thanks to goals by Pang Chi Hang, Carlos Leonel and Tito Okello.
The second half started in similar fashion. Sporting’s Fong Chan Fai was sent off after causing a penalty, making the conditions even worse for the team in green. However, the penalty was saved by Sporting keeper Rui Oliveira, and Sporting managed to grow on the game. They eventually managed to pull one back, when Prince converted a free-kick, which could have been the prelude to a potential comeback. Benfica also appeared to suffer some fatigue, since the team had just returned from a disheartening 8-0 defeat in Pyongyang, North Korea, against April 25 in the AFC Cup. But in injury time the game was eventually decided, with two more Benfica goals scored by Carlos Leonel and Nicholas Torrão to close the match with a final result of 5-1.
With this win Benfica have solidified their lead in the table, since runners-up C.P.K. drew their match with Ka I at the same time. Both Ka I and C.P.K. recently signed some new foreign players to strengthen their chances for the second half of the season. William Maronesi joined C.P.K., while Brazilian duo Diogo Gama and Fabio Ribeiro were signed by Ka I. It was a balanced game, which ended 1-1 with goals by William Gomes and Danilo Lins respectively. Both teams are now separated by 3 points, with C.P.K. in 2nd with 20 points and Ka I in 4th with 17 points. Cheng Fung, who won 3-0 against Policia, are in 3rd position with the same 20 points as C.P.K., and Monte Carlo, who won 5-0 against Alfandega, are in 6th with 10 points.
The relegation fight also had an important match in round 9, when Lai Chi and Hang Sai drew 1-1, which proved to be the first point for Lai Chi this season.
The Macau Elite League will have a break and come back on April 27th, kicking off the second half of the season.