Benfica Macau not only lost the derby against Monte Carlo, but also allowed C.P.K. to return to the top of the table – with just three rounds remaining.
Week 15 of the Macau Elite League saw a big match between Benfica Macau and Monte Carlo. This was a crucial game for the title race,, since Monte Carlo were four points behind Benfica, and a defeat would have put their title ambitions at rest. At the same time, Benfica couldn’t afford to lose the match either, if they wanted to keep C.P.K. at bay.
At the end of the day it was Monte Carlo that took all the the three points, beating Benfica 2-1 despite having less possession throughout the 90 minutes. The result came as a bit of a surprise, as their previous meeting in this season ended in a 6-0 victory for Benfica. This time, Monte Carlo tried a different approach and mainly waited for opportunities in the counter-attack. And that worked perfectly well. Monte Carlo’s Neto scored an early goal in the 2nd minute and Keverson doubled the lead just half an hour later. Benfica on the other hand lacked efficiency in the final third of the pitch and also had some some difficulties in the back as both center backs just returned from injuries.
In the second half, Benfica tried to close the gap, but Monte Carlo goalkeeper Ho Man-fai kept frustrating the opponents. Carlos Leonal finally overcame the defense in the 85th minute, but it was too little too late.
After the match Benfica coach Henrique Nunes da Silva said: “We had a lot of chances, but we made bad decisions in front of the goal. If we would have managed to make the 2-1 in the first half, I think we could have achieved a positive outcome.”
However, for Monte Carlo manager Claudio Roberto it was a deserved win: “It’s a fair result that will help our team grow.”
For C.P.K. the Monte Carlo win was the perfect result. They jumped from third to first in the Macau Elite League after beating the Macau U23 side 5-1 in what was a rescheduled game. For a short while this season it appeared that C.P.K. were already out of the title race, but they had an impressive comeback with a win against Monte Carlo, while also benefiting from Cheng Fung that drew with Benfica. C.P.K. are now 1 point ahead of Benfica, and two points ahead of Monte Carlo, promising three exciting last rounds.
But C.P.K.’s Diego Patriota tried to stay cautious: “Now let’s see what will happen and let’s just enjoy the moment.”
In Round 16 of the Macau Elite League, C.P.K. will play against Benfica Macau, in what now appears to be the decisive title match. The winner will basically have an open road to the championship, while a draw could even see Monte Carlo go back on top.
In the relegation fight, Macau U23 and Lai Chi are still in the danger zone, but even Policia and Sporting Macau are not yet completely safe from dropping to the 2nd Division.