Benfica 1-1 FC Porto

An exciting encounter in front of 64,036 fans at the Estádio da Luz tonight finished all square to leave Benfica one point ahead of Porto at the top of the Primeira Liga with seven matches remaining.

Jonas gave the hosts an early lead, but Maxi Pereira equalised for Porto at the start of the second half.

Benfica piled on the pressure in the last 30 minutes but were denied by another excellent Iker Casillas exhibition (mirroring what happened last season in the same fixture), above all an incredible reaction save from Mitroglou.

Contrary to reports, Serbian midfielder Fejsa had not recovered from his injury meaning Samaris started in central midfield for Benfica alongside Pizzi, while Rafa was preferred to Zivkovic on the left of midfield in Rui Vitória's starting XI, with Salvio on the other flank and Jonas and Mitroglou up front.

Porto coach Nuno Espírito Santo left André Silva on the bench, opting for a 4-3-3 with Brahimi and Corona wide and Tiquinho Soares at centre-forward.

Benfica make lightning start

In the 6th minute a swift passing move released Jonas, who was clearly upended by Felipe in the box. The Brazilian picked himself up to dispatch the spot kick into the back of the net.

At this point Benfica were threatening to overrun Porto in a blistering opening 20-minute spell. The Portuguese champions played some lovely one-touch football, Nelson Semedo in particular making a series of electric runs down the right-hand side, and the aggressive response whenever Porto got a sniff of the ball made it impossible for the visitors to settle.

However, driven forward by Brahimi's dangerous dribbling and with Óliver Torres growing into the game, Porto began to get a foothold in the match. Óliver fired narrowly wide, then Brahimi drew a diving save from Ederson from a free kick. Just before half time Benfica came close to doubling their lead as Luisão rose highest but headed over from six yards out.

Porto came out fast after the break, pushing Benfica back and the travelling fans did not have wait too long to celebrate an equaliser. An intense spell of pressure resulted in the ball breaking to Maxi Pereira 10 yards out, who fired low into the corner of the net. The former Benfica right-back celebrated wildly - none of the no celebrating against your former club nonsense from the Uruguayan!

The equaliser opened up the match with both teams sensing the opportunity to grab a vital win over their title rivals. Soares had a great chance to put Porto ahead when he raced through on goal, but he took an extra touch and when he tried to round Ederson the Brazilian goalkeeper was upon him, diving at his feet to smother the danger.

Video Highlights

From that moment onwards Benfica took charge of proceedings. A Jonas cross-shot forced Ederson into a sprawling save, then a wonderful move involving Mitroglou and Salvio set up Jonas for what looked like a certain goal, but the normally lethal striker did not catch the ball cleanly allowing Casillas just enough time to make a superb diving save.

Urged on by the huge crowd, Benfica sent wave after wave of attacks towards the Porto goal. In the 72nd minute a goal seemed certain as Mitroglou had the ball at his feet inside the six-yard box, but Casillas pulled off a brilliant reflex save. The ball bounced to Jonas who also looked certain to find the net, but his shot was somehow kept out by desperately lunging Porto defenders.

Only in the final ten minutes did the frantic pace of the game drop, with Porto's go-slow policy when the ball went out of play clearly showing they were happy with a draw.

Benfica remain top but still have to travel to Sporting, while Porto also have tricky away fixtures at Marítimo, Chaves and Braga to negotiate. It promises to go to the wire.

by Tom Kundert, at the Estádio da Luz

Benfica: Ederson, Semedo, Luisão, Lindelöf, Eliseu, Samaris, Pizzi, Rafa (Carillo, 87'), Salvio (Cervi, 69'), Jonas, Mitroglou

FC Porto: Casillas, Maxi Pereira, Felipe, Marcano, Telles, Danilo, Óliver Torres, André André, Brahimi (Otávio, 87'), Soares (André Silva, 72'), Corona (Diogo Jota, 66')


[1-0] Jonas, 6'

[1-1] Maxi, 50' your social media marketing partner

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  • Guest - jon/usa

    As a Benfiquista, I must admit that while I am more than satisfied with the performance, I am extremely frustrated with the result. Yes, Casillas deserves a great deal of credit for his clutch saves, but Mitroglou and Jonas need to bury those chances. Apart from a 20-30 minute stretch towards the end of the first half and the begging of the second, Benfica were in complete control. This is possibly the first time we've truly imposed ourselves against either Porto or Sporting ever since Rui Vitoria took over.

    At the end of the day, a 1-1 result is far from disastrous for both sides, especially when you consider that both Benfica and Porto have some very tricky fixtures between now and the end of the season. Sporting away is going to be extremely difficult, but Porto still have to play Braga, Chaves, and Maritimo away from home. At least our fate is still in our hands, and with the long-awaited return of Fejsa and Grimaldo on the horizon, Benfiquistas have every reason to remain optimistic.

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  • Not happy with the result or the officiating. Nuno ES played it safe again by sitting Andre Silva, and starting Andre Andre. Porto also clearly checked out of the game after tying things up, with the midfield content to let Benfica have the ball.

    The Benfica crisis talks with the head of Portuguese officials really paid off though! First Benfica touch in the box...penalty. Jonas purposely body checks Nuno ES, no card, nothing. 5 Porto players get a yellow, not a single card towards a Benfica player.

    Jota goes by Nelson Semedo in the box, Semedo elbow-checks him across the chest, no penalty, no nothing. Considering Porto were playing against 12, I'd say it was a decent result. I can't wait to hear from the usual Benfica suspects on here who will deny any benefits their team gets from officials and just say "the level overall is poor".

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    I was very pleased with Benfica's performance last night, one of our best (if not the best) performances of the season, and it was a complete injustice not to have won the match. Anyone who claims that a draw was a fair result last night is either completely biased or clearly didn't see the match. So much for Benfica "playing on the break", as some were suggesting would happen before the match!!! We totally bossed the game, had almost all the real scoring chances, and only (another) masterclass from Casillas prevented us from getting a comfortable win. Yep it was almost an exact replica of last season's Classico at the Luz when again Benfica were totally dominant and should have won convincingly where it not for an incredible performance from Santo Iker! And to think some Porto fans have suggested on this site that Casillas should be on the bench!!!

    So yeah, disappointing for Benfica not to have claimed all 3 points last night, but I always prefer to look at the glass as half full, and it was a very good performance, which should serve as inspirational and give the team confidence for the remaining 7 finals. If SLB play as well as they did last night and with that same intensity and drive for the remaining matches, we'll almost certainly be champions again. To me, the way the Porto players were celebrating a draw at the end of the match, says an awful lot. Really it should have been the opposite, Porto needed the win more than Benfica because failing to win means they stayed in second position for yet another week. But considering what happened in the match, I think Porto's celebrations at the end where an acknowledgment that it was very much a point gained for them and they were relieved not to be 4 points behind us.

    Anyway this is how football goes, we all know that the better team doesn't always win on the day, and the result was a draw which leaves everything open in the title fight. We have everything in our own hands, but saying that I very much doubt whether either Benfica or Porto will win every single remaining game. I think both will likely drop points in at least one more match before the season's through. Benfica have Sporting, Rio Ave and Boavista away and Porto have Braga, Maritimo and Chaves away. I think if either team wins all 7 of their remaining fixtures, they will be deserving of the title, but I doubt either will. All to play for, but I think SLB remain the favorites. Let's see how it pans out on the pitch!!!!

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  • Guest - Uniao

    Reading folks' perspective on this match is like watching the match again on ridiculous SL5 TV. Benfica's only goalcame from a baited error from Porto's defense in the 5th minute of the match. That is the only thing Benfica achieved yesterday. A generous penalty 5 minutes after kickoff. Benfica ain't that good. Here is a statistic I am sure all those Benfica fans love to recall: Since 1962, Benfica has played in and lost 8 european trophy final matches. 0 for 8. Porto is 4 for 4 since 1987 in the same matches. Maybe Antonio Costa can sit next to Vieira at all of Benfica's matches? The populist crap about a mediocre team in Lisbon is just dumb. It is classically Portuguese but it is just ridiculous. Summarize the match based on the events, not on the fact that there are 4 or 5 million more Benfica fans than the population of Portugal.

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