The first part of the 2016 Macau Elite League has just finished with Benfica de Macau on top of the league. The reigning champions have currently 7 points more than Sporting Macau who remain in second. Offside.hk Macau correspondent Afonso Pires offers a round-up of what has happened during the last month.
Since our latest update, Benfica de Macau have increased their lead from 2 to 7 points, winning all of their matches so far and only conceding one goal against Sporting Macau.
It seems Benfica won’t be challenged by the chasing pack and only a big surprise would keep them from winning their 3rd title in a row. Sporting, C.P.K., Ka I and Monte Carlo are the current followers. Sporting is in 2nd with 20 points, 1 more than 3rd C.P.K.. In 4th is Ka I with 17 points and in 5th Monte Carlo with 16 points.
Match day 9 just saw the top 2 teams facing each other in the most important match so far and Benfica won 2-1 against Sporting. It was almost the last chance for Sporting to keep the dream of the title alive, but two early goals from Benfica (Edgar Teixeira 4′; Carlos Leonel 26′) crushed their hope, despite Sporting still managing to score one goal through a penalty kick (Pio Junior 79′), making it the first conceded goal of the season for Portuguese Benfica goalkeeper Rui Nibra. However, Sporting finished the match only with 10 men, after Rafael Bastardo had been sent off in the 73rd minute.
Benfica Macau coach Henrique Nunes concluded at the end of the match: “I think that the result was justified. We played against a strong team that caused us some difficulties in the final moments of the match. We could have scored more goals, but we have now 7 points more than Sporting. We are on a good path.”
Sporting Macau coach, João Pegado said: “We were not aggressive enough and we conceded the goals early in the match. In the second half we improved and we even could have tied the match. Everything is more complicated now, but we still have hope. We definitely want to secure the second place and try to reach Benfica on top.”
In fact, the highlight of the 2016 Macau Elite League for the remaining season will be the fight for the second place. Monte Carlo is already 4 points behind Sporting and lost another important match against rivals Ka I 1-2. Both teams had to win that game, as they already lost too many points at the beginning of the season. In addition, 2014 and 2015 Macau Elite League top scorer William Gomes got injured and his absence will be a challenge for Ka I in the matches to come.
C.P.K., which only lost to Benfica (0-2) and Sporting (0-1) is the team that appears to be most capable of competing with Sporting for the 2nd place. C.P.K. have been growing from season to season and they proved again that last year’s 3rd place was not a coincidence.
In the relegation fight Lai Chi is the strongest team with 11 points, followed by Kei Lun with 7. Casa de Portugal and Policia are on 8th and 9th with 4 points each, while Chuac Lun is in last spot with only 3 points. The last two teams will drop to the 2nd division, which means that everyone except Lai Chi is still in danger.
In the top scorer list Brazilian striker Amarildo Ristof (Monte Carlo) is in the lead with 17 goals, followed by Portuguese striker Carlos Leonel (Benfica) with 15 goals.
(photo source: Benfica Macau facebook)