LISBON: The houses of several Benfica players were vandalised hours after the Portuguese champions’ bus was attacked following Thursday’s goalless draw with Tondela, newspaper Tribuna Expresso reported yesterday.
The report said the vandals had spraypainted threats against the players on the houses, adding that one of the homes targeted belonged to star midfielder and Portugal international Pizzi.
Benfica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The team bus was attacked by people throwing stones from a motorway as it was returning from the Estadio da Luz to the club’s training ground.
German midfielder Julian Weigl and Serbian winger Andrija Zivkovic were taken to hospital as a precaution after being hit by broken glass.
The match was Benfica’s first since the season resumed after being disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although they could only draw against lowly Tondela, they returned to the top of the table on goal difference, but failed to open up a gap on title rivals Porto.
Fans were unable to enter the stadium to prevent further spread of the virus although supporters still greeted the team’s arrival before the match.
The Portuguese league’s organising body condemned the attack, which has marred what should have been a triumphant return of the season.
“Liga Portugal strongly condemns the cowardly attack on the Benfica squad,” the league said in a statement.
“The stoning of the team’s bus is deeply regrettable, especially at a time when Portuguese football has joined forces to resume an activity that means so much to millions of people in our country.”