2 Benfica players injured when bus hit with rocks

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Two Benfica players were injured when rocks were thrown at the Portuguese soccer club's bus on a motorway after the team was held to a 0-0 draw by Tondela.

Benfica said German midfielder Julian Weigl and Serbian winger Andrija Zivkovic were struck by glass shrapnel when the bus was stoned on the A2 motorway on Thursday. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known, but the club said they were taken to Hospital da Luz “as a matter of precaution.”

The team was returning from the Stadium of Light to its training complex. The club condemned the attack as a “criminal stoning" and vowed to work with authorities to identify those responsible.

Weigl, who started the match, joined Benfica in January from Borussia Dortmund. Zivkovic, a Serbia international, did not play.

Images of the bus released by Portuguese sports daily A Bola show damage in several locations. One rock penetrated the glass and was shown in an aisle with shards of glass strewn about.

The draw meant that Benfica missed a chance to take the outright lead of the Portuguese league in the team’s first match since the competition was halted nearly three months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the match, thousands of scarves with the club’s red and white colors were placed on the seats at the Stadium of Light to represent Benfica fans as the club returned to action a day after rival Porto lost at Famalicão 2-1 in its first game back.

The results left the clubs tied with 60 points with nine rounds remaining. Porto, which has the advantage in the head-to-head tiebreaker, had carried a one-point lead from before the pandemic.

It was the third consecutive draw for the defending champions, and the second at home. Benfica hasn’t won in four straight matches at the Stadium at Light in all competitions.


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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