Benfica continued their fine run of form in 2018 with a 3-0 victory over Chaves at the Estádio da Luz on Saturday night.
A brace from Jonas and a second-half goal from Pizzi sealed the three points for Rui Vitória’s men, who now sit just a point behind Sporting in the Liga NOS table after Jorge Jesus’ charges drew 1-1 with Vitória Setúbal on Friday night.
The Eagles made just one change from the side that beat Braga last weekend, with the much-maligned Douglas replacing the suspended André Almeida at right-back.
And after a quiet start, Benfica got the opening goal after thirteen minutes, with Jonas volleying home spectacularly for his 22nd league goal of the season after being teed up by Filip Krovinovic.
The Brazilian marksman soon made it 23 goals for the season, slotting home from Eduardo Salvio’s cut-back to double the advantage. Along with the brace, Jonas also ensured that he had now scored against every club currently playing in the league.
The start of the second half saw Benfica carry on where they left off in the first half, with Pizzi drilling the third past António Filipe in the Chaves goal after being found by Franco Cervi in acres of space.
However, there will be some concern for Benfica though, as Krovinovic limped off in the final minutes of the game after jarring his knee while controlling the ball. If it turns out to be a serious injury, it will certainly be a blow, for Krovinovic has been a huge part of Benfica’s upturn in form this year.
Here are the player ratings:
Bruno Varela (6) - Didn’t really have much to deal with in goal, but made a decent save in the first half to deny Davidson.
Douglas (6) - Still can’t defend to save his life, but certainly showed some attacking capability in the second half, although that might well be the Chaves defence flattering the Brazilian’s ability.
Rúben Dias (6) - Decent enough from the Seixal product. Generally distributed the ball well and defended capably when called upon.
Jardel (6) - Much like his defensive partner, defended well and carried the ball going forward and providing solid distribution to the midfield.
Álex Grimaldo (6) - Not as involved in the final third as he would have liked, but still got forward to decent effect, supporting Cervi well.
Ljubomir Fejsa (7) - Didn’t have much to do defensively, but won the ball high up the pitch on several occasions to kick-start some attacks.
Pizzi (7) - Much more involved than he has in recent encounters, combining well with Salvio on the right-hand side and winning the ball excellently in the build-up to the first goal. Got his rewards with a good finish for Benfica’s third.
Filip Krovinovic (7) - Another excellent performance, setting up Jonas for Benfica’s first and carrying the ball into the final third from deep positions. There will be some concern though for Benfiquistas, as the Croat jarred his knee in the final minutes and limped off with heavy strapping.
Eduardo Salvio (7) - Continued from where he left off against Braga, troubling Djavan time and time again on the right-hand side. Provided a nice little cutback for Jonas’ second and could have notched a goal himself, with a curling effort kissing the outside of the left-hand post.
Franco Cervi (7) - Quietly impressive performance again. Kept possession well and played several incisive passes, including a good cutback for Benfica’s third. Has continued to improve in recent weeks and is certainly one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Jonas (9) - Deadly in front of goal again. A sumptuous volley for the first and the second was a simple enough finish, receiving the ball from Salvio and slotting it home. Could have had a hat-trick after being sent through by Krovinovic but fluffed his lines.
João Carvalho (6) - Roamed in and around the right flank but didn’t cause much trouble. Could possibly be a replacement for Krovinovic in the centre of midfield if the Croat’s injury turns out to be serious.
Raúl Jiménez (5) - Didn’t really do much with both teams content with the result as it stood.
Haris Seferović (N/A) - The Swiss striker made his first appearance since late December with a cameo appearance in the final stages.