There were no major surprise results in the latest round of Primeira Liga matches. Benfica (home to Belenenses) and Porto (away to Académica) both won 3-0, one week before next Sunday's clash between the two eternal rivals at the Estádio do Dragão.
With Porto's win moving the Dragons up to second and just three points separating the top two, the clássico is set up beautifully.
Sporting climbed two places up to fourth after a 3-1 win at Boavista, taking advantage of the goalless draw between Braga and Guimarães at the Estádio AXA and Belenenses' defeat at Benfica.
Benfica 3-0 Belenenses
The background to the match was surrounded by the controversial decision by Belenenses not to field Miguel Rosa and Deyverson - arguably their two best players this season - because of their links to Benfica, who have an option to re-purchase them.
Nevertheless, the Azuis held out until the 64th minute at the Estádio da Luz when Lima headed in from close range. Enzo Pérez soon doubled the Eagles' lead from the penalty spot, with Salvio adding a third after a brilliant assist from Gaitán.
Académica 0-3 FC Porto
Porto swept aside Academica with ease in Coimbra. Jackson Martínez continued his lethal form, scoring twice in the first half with two clinical strikes, one a powerful left-footed cross-shot, the other a wonderful curling lob from 20 yards with his right foot.
Hector Herrera scored early in the second half after a slide-rule pass form Cristian Tello. Porto are in superb form ahead of the big clash against Benfica, having won seven and drawn one of their last eight games.
Boavista 1-3 Sporting
Sporting kept up their impressive run of form, clocking up a fourth straight victory in all competitions on the artificial Bessa pitch.
Peruvian winger André Carrillo was the star of the show, opening the scoring with a scorching shot into the roof of the net before providing assists for Carlos Mané and João Mário to make it 3-0. Boavista pulled back a goal as Jonathan Silva headed into his own net - Sporting's 5th own goal of the season.
The only piece of bad news for Sporting was a first-half injury picked up by Nani which rules him out of the Champions League Chelsea clash in midweek.
Braga 0-0 Vitória Guimarães
An intense Minho derby finished goalless, which was a fair result on the balance of play. Vitória had the better of the first half, Bernard Mensah crashing a long-range effort onto the post. Braga edged the second half, with Portugal international Rafa coming close on two occasions.
Three sendings-off in the final minutes (Bruno Gaspar and Hernâni for Vitória, Salvador Agra for Braga), and a total of 10 yellow cards may give the impression of a dirty game, but that was far from the case with both sides showing why they are riding high in the Liga with aggressive but quality football.
Braga boss Sérgio Conceição stoked the fierce local rivalry further post-match by insisting: "At the end of the season Braga will finish above Vitória in the table."
Another derby between two bitter rivals took place on Monday in Madeira, with Nacional running out 3-0 winners over Marítimo. A brace scored by Marco Matias and a Willyan goal gave Manuel Machado's men the local bragging rights.
An early goal from Capela proved enough for Penafiel to pick up only their second win of the season and their first away from home, at Arouca. The three points lift Penafiel off the bottom of the table, with Gil Vicente now occupying last place after a goalless draw at Rio Ave.
Estoril and Moreirense both moved into mid-table with home wins against Vitória Setúbal (1-0) and Paços de Ferreira (2-0) respectively.
by Tom Kundert