Two Benfica players have been injured after stones were thrown at their team coach, shattering a window as the team were travelling through Lisbon after their first home game since the Portuguese season resumed.
German midfielder Julian Weigl and Serbian winger Andrija Zivkovic were hit by broken glass and required treatment from club medical staff at the training complex. The club have confirmed both players were taken to hospital as a precaution.
The incident happened on a motorway between the club’s Estádio da Luz stadium and their Seixal training complex on the outskirts of Lisbon. The team were on their way back from their first Primeira Liga match in three months, which ended in a 0-0 draw with Tondela.
“Benfica denounce and lament the criminal stoning the team bus was victim to,” an official club statement read. “We appeal to the authorities for the greatest effort to help us identify the delinquents responsible for these criminal acts.”
The league’s governing body, Liga Portugal, called the incident a “cowardly attack” in a separate statement. “It is absolutely unacceptable that events like these continue to take place in society. It’s important to make clear that the perpetrators of these acts are not football fans, but criminals who will be held responsible.”
This is the second time Weigl has been the victim of an attack on a team bus. The 24-year-old was on board the Borussia Dortmund coach that was targeted by explosive devices before their Champions League quarter-final with Monaco in 2017.
The defending Portuguese champions missed the chance to move ahead of title rivals Porto after a dull and disappointing stalemate. The game was played behind closed doors, but fans still gathered outside the gates of the stadium to support the team.
Benfica and Porto are now level at the top of the table with 60 points each, both 14 points clear of third-placed Braga, who have a game in hand. Porto were beaten 2-1 at Famalicão in their first game back on Wednesday evening.