Yesterday’s grand derby of Lisbon brought a new record in attendance, already the 2nd this year. Unfortunately for the hosts, Sporting, it also ended with Benfica winning and becoming new league leaders.
Lisbon’s Sporting hasn’t been successful in recent years. In fact, the last domestic championship they won was before moving to the brand new Estádio José Alvalade in 2003. That’s why the club’s superiority in this year’s Liga NOS proved magnetic for supporters.
The attractiveness peaked yesterday, when the largest crowd since opening appeared to watch the great derby against 2nd-placed Benfica. 49,699 people out of 50,095 seats is already the second record this season, first one seen against FC Porto on the 15th weekend of the league.
While Sporting won against Porto, yesterday this wasn’t the case. 0:1 defeat at home was enough to knock the club down to 2nd place. Instead of 4-point advantage, now Sporting are 2 pts down to Benfica, though still with chances to regain the title.
Overall attendances of Sporting this year are on their way to establishing another record. Up to the 25th week the average crowd is 38,573, more than in any previous season at the new stadium. If Sporting remain in the rest until May, it’s almost certain to break the record from last year (35,149 per game).