The sole point dividing Benfica and FC Porto at the top of the Liga NOS table continues to weather the storm, but for how long was the question on everyone’s lips following the pair’s 1-1 draw at the Estádio da Luz last week.

First up in the upper echelons of the league table was the emblematic clash between Porto, at home, versus Belenenses, as Nuno Espírito Santo sought to get back to winning ways.

Few victories spell ‘back on track’ quite as well as a 3-0 win, supplemented by goals from Danilo Pereira, Yacine Brahimi and Tiquinho Soares, to take the Dragons to the top of the table momentarily.

Sporting’s Bas Dost was intent on stealing the spotlight with yet another dash of goals, this time bagging three in the Lions’ 4-0 victory versus Boavista, but Benfica’s 1-0 win at the hands of Moreirense 24 hours later restored the scenario that’s now headlined the title race for months.

 

FC Porto 3-0 Belenenses

Last week’s draw away to Benfica in the ‘Clássico’ will have been served as a bag of mixed emotions for parts of northern Portugal, but the fight resumed with little time for deliberation in light of Belenenses coming to town.

Soares warmed the hands of Cristiano in the 25th minute with a tame effort, but it was Danilo who’d serve as the ice breaker on the night, following up André Silva’s knockdown with a volley from close range in the 37th minute.

The Brazilian striker edged closer to his first goal of the day with a glancing header past the far-post in the 57th minute before resorting to an acrobatic effort just moments later.


Highlights


Óliver Torres saw his work inside the box cleared off the line by Sporting loanee Domingos Duarte in the 66th minute, whereas Felipe’s rather comical attempt at goal in the same minute with a ballooned volley heightened the wait for Porto’s second.

Goal number two would eventually come for the blue and white outfit and, this time, Soares’ luck was in with a header inside the box to fire the hosts into a 2-0 lead.

A dubious foul on Yacine Brahimi inside the box allowed the Algerian the chance to get in on the act, as he buried the opportunity from 12 yards to conclude a 3-0 victory for the Dragons and apply pressure on Benfica.

 

Sporting 4-0 Boavista

Much like Porto and Belenenses before them, a Sporting-Boavista match-up was one that held a wealth of historical context, as the two fought for three points at the Alvalade.

The visitors were dealt their first blow of the night during the warm-up, as the injured Vagner made way for Mickaël Meira to start between the sticks, who was warned by Sporting’s Bruno César no less than two minutes into the game of the kind of night he’d be in for.

One playmaker who’s had his left peg well calibrated in recent times is Alan Ruiz, and he put Jorge Jesus’ side ahead with his 6th league goal of the season, all of which have come since February of this year.

Sporting were left counting their blessings after Edu Machado’s loose back-pass fell to Bruno César behind the last man, who was kind enough to square the ball over to Bas Dost and assist the Dutchman for a tap-in in the 29th minute.


Highlights


Daniel Podence attempted a carbon copy of the aforementioned move in the 35th minute, but his good intentions proved to be too heavy for Bryan Ruiz to meet, as the danger fizzled away.

The Lions then lured in the ideal start to the second period, as Bruno César earned his side a penalty kick inside the first minute of the restart. Dost stepped up to the plate and clinched his 26th league goal of the season, as Sporting soared to a 3-0 lead.

Bruno César was there to assist the ex-Wolfsburg man again in his quest to land the European Golden Boot, Dost guiding the Brazilian’s cross past Vieira and clinching another hat-trick for the collection.

The likes of Podence and Joel Campbell threatened to add greater volume to Sporting’s lead, but 4-0 to the hosts would be how this chapter at the Alvalade would end.

 

Moreirense 0-1 Benfica

The Primeira Liga holders knew that only a win would suffice away to a Moreirense side that’s faded since their mid-season Taça da Liga heroics, but the chances were few and far between for the favourites prior to the half-hour mark.

Luisão can consider himself lucky not to have compromised the game plan after a rash challenge from behind saw him walk away from a tackle on Boateng with just a yellow card to his name in the 30th minute.

Further doubts surrounded the foul on Nélson Semedo from Ousmane Dramé in the 40th minute, as Benfica took full advantage of the set-piece to nip in the lead via Kostas Mitroglou’s headed effort.


Highlights


Cauê scuppered a good chance for the hosts to get back into the equation in the 61st minute, but Neto’s opportunity six minutes later did a good job of eclipsing all efforts thus far, as Dramé’s cutback was dragged wide by the Brazilian in the mouth of the goal.

Giorgi Makaridze avoided further suffering at the other end to deny Mitroglou in the 77th minute, with emotions running high towards the end of the game.

Among the commotion was Andreas Samaris’ altercation with Diego Ivo in the 91st minute - a sly punch to the stomach that went unnoticed during the game, but one that could land the Greece international in hot water ahead of the final weeks of the season.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Gameweek 28 Results

Feirense 0-1 Sp. Braga

P. Ferreira 1-1 Arouca

FC Porto 3-0 Belenenses

Sporting 4-0 Boavista

Rio Ave 0-0 V. Setúbal

V. Guimarães 2-1 Tondela

Moreirense 0-1 Benfica

 

Monday, 10th April 2017

Marítimo – Chaves

 

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