FC Porto 0-2 Benfica
A brace by Brazilian striker Lima gave Benfica a 2-0 victory at the Estádio do Dragão tonight.
In a game of few chances, the visitors took full advantage of their goalscoring opportunities to score a vital victory and open up a six-point lead at the top of the table.
In what was Jorge Jesus's first victory at fierce rivals Porto in the Liga in six attempts, it was a perfect weekend for the Eagles with Vitória Guimarães and Sporting both dropping points at home.
With 21 games remaining in the Primeira Liga things are far from decided, but Benfica will be overjoyed with their first victory in the league at their biggest rivals since 2005 and there can be no doubting it will be a huge psychological boon for the reigning champions.
Porto came into the game on the back of a hot run of form and the hosts dominated the opening half hour, albeit without creating clear-cut chances to break the deadlock - until the 32nd minute. A swift move saw Alex Sandro play in Jackson Martínez, but Benfica goalkeeper Júlio César showed sharp reactions to deny the Colombian.
In what would be a feature of the match Benfica proved lethal with the few chances they fabricated as shortly afterwards the visitors took the lead. A long throw-in by Maxi Pereira on the right was not dealt with by Porto, with Lima stealing in to chest the ball past the exposed Fabiano.
With the comfort of a one-goal lead, Benfica at last settled and did a fine job at limiting Porto's offensive threat for the rest of the half and after the interval.
Disaster struck for Porto just before the hour mark as the Lisbon club doubled their lead. The hard-working Talisca fired off a firm left-foot shot from 20 yards out, Fabiano was unable to hold it, and Lima followed up for an easy finish to send the travelling fans into dreamland.
Porto coach Julen Lopetegui responded by throwing on Quintero and Quaresma and the Dragons threw everything they had at Benfica in a frantic last half hour.
Woodwork denies Jackson
The hosts can point to a lack of luck, as Jackson Martínez twice struck the woodwork. When the Liga's leading goalscorer did finally find the net, his effort was rightfully ruled out as he had handled the ball before turning it past César.
Nevertheless, Benfica can take credit for limiting Porto's chances throughout with a combative approach - Samaris undoubtedly had his best game in a Benfica shirt - and proving extremely effective when their chances arose. Jorge Jesus's decision to select Lima despite his poor goalscoring form this season proved a masterstroke.
There is still a long way to go, but with 11 wins from the opening 13 matches Benfica are sitting pretty at the top of the table and must fancy their chances of conquering a second successive Portuguese title for the first time since 1983/84.
by Tom Kundert
FC Porto: Fabiano, Danilo, Martins Indi, Marcano, Alex Sandro (Aboubakar 77’), Casemiro, Herrera (Quintero 58’), Óliver Tello (Quaresma 58’), Brahimi, Jackson Martínez
Benfica: Júlio César, Maxi Pereira, Luisão (César 76’), Jardel, André Almeida, Samaris, Salvio (90’+3’), Enzo Pérez, Gaitán; Talisca (Ola John 80’), Lima
[0-1] Lima, 36'
[0-2] Lima, 56'