Sporting have cut the gap between fourth and third place to four points after a 3-0 victory at Alvalade saw them down Sporting de Braga, on Sunday.

Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Bas Dost ensured the Lions’ hopes of automatic Europa League qualification were kept alive, whereas further north, at the Estádio do Dragão, FC Porto safeguarded their lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 win over Vitória de Setúbal.

Benfica replied to the results on Monday night, bringing Matchday 22 to a close by remaining just a point off top spot with a win 3-0 over Desportivo das Aves. PortuGOAL has the latest action from the top of the Primeira Liga.

 

FC Porto 2-0 Vit. Setúbal

The pressure’s increasing at the top of the table after Porto’s slip-up last week away to Moreirense, drawing 1-1, allowed Benfica to come within touching distance of first place.

Sérgio Conceição’s men were out to ensure a different outcome early at the Estádio do Dragão to the one experienced in Moreira de Cónegos, making way for victory in the 15th minute from Héctor Herrera’s close-range header, benefitting from Adrián Lopez’s blocked effort. 

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

After a positive first half from Porto, their task was made a little easier earlier in the second period following Éber Bessa’s second bookable offence for simulation inside the box, leaving Setúbal with 10 men in the 53rd minute.

Porto landed the decisive blow in the 65th minute through Tiquinho Soares, attaining a fine view of Alex Telles’ in-swinging cross from the right flank to head in a second across Cristiano’s goal and secure a 2-0 win.

 

Sporting 3-0 Sp. Braga

The stakes were high at the Alvalade following yet another disappointing performance in midweek for Sporting versus Villarreal, reapplying the pressure on under-fire Marcel Keizer, as they came up against a Braga side keen to shake off a string of poor results against the so-called ‘Big Three’.

The former Ajax manager surprised all with a three-at-the-back formation, supplemented with wing-backs, allowing Sporting to edge proceedings in the early stages. 

After a couple half-chances from the Lions, Bruno Fernandes handed his side its just reward for their early work with yet another goal from a free-kick, putting  his side a goal up in the 33rd minute. 

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

The hosts came into the second period with a prime opportunity to make it two after Abdoulay Diaby was brought down inside the box to earn his side a penalty, subsequently reuniting Dost with goals after picking his spot from the 12-yard mark in the 50th minute.

The Dutchman took advantage of a sleepy Braga backline in the 65th minute to attack Bruno Fernandes’ cutback and slot in goal number three for Sporting, leaving Braga without response come full-time.

 

Desp. Aves 0-3 Benfica

It seems Bruno Lage can do no wrong in charge of Benfica at the moment, as he followed up last week’s ten-goal mauling over Nacional with a more modest triumph against Galatasaray in the Europa League, coming away from Turkey with a 2-1 advantage.

Next on the agenda was 16th-placed Aves, succumbing to Benfica’s firing attack just three minutes in after Haris Seferovic killed Andreas Samaris’ ball into the box on his chest before coolly lobbing the ball over the home goalkeeper. 

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

Rafa Silva was on hand to work a yard for himself inside the box and curl in a second goal for Benfica in the 36th minute, as the Eagles headed into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Ferro amplified the score on the hour mark for Lage’s men, directing a half-volley goalwards into a semi-empty net as a result of Aves’ failure to clear their lines from a corner. The young centre-back attracted the wrong kind of attention in the 64th minute, however, as a last-man pull-back on Derley earned him a red card and left Benfica reduced to ten men, but the visitors held on to their lead comfortably until the final whistle.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 22

Rio Ave 2-1 Santa Clara

Nacional 4-0 Feirense

Vit. Guimarães 2-0 Portimonense

FC Porto 2-0 Vit. Setúbal

Moreirense 2-0 Tondela

Belenenses 0-1 Marítimo

Chaves 1-1 Boavista

Sporting 3-0 Sp. Braga

Desp. Aves 0-3 Benfica

Comments (3)

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Didn't watch Porto or Benfica games

But I watched Sporting v Braga

Well let me be first to say I guess Braga losing 6-2 to Benfica might not been a simple lay down and open legs because Sporting scored 3 and it could've been more. Braga were...

Didn't watch Porto or Benfica games

But I watched Sporting v Braga

Well let me be first to say I guess Braga losing 6-2 to Benfica might not been a simple lay down and open legs because Sporting scored 3 and it could've been more. Braga were just so bad they came with a little team mentality and were punished nicely by Sporting. This 343 formation looked pretty good and this Colombian defender looks like a solid player. Tiago also looked pretty decent.

I know Villarreal won 3-0 against Sevilla but I honestly believe if Sporting plays the way they did against Braga we stand a very solid chance or at least having a great game with a few goals to make the match certainly worth watching for the neutrals.

Acuna might be a dumbass at times with his crazy infield ranting and shouting with needless bookings but he took a clear elbow in the face from Raúl Silva and stood his ground, good to see that he didn't fall over and cry, took it like a boss but honestly also Raúl Silva should get a few matches suspended for that bait elbow somehow missed by VAR...

All good results for the top 3, hopefully Benfica&Sporting can all continue the good work this Thursday and both go through to the next stages of the Europa League.

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Business as usual for the top 2, and Sporting turning out a good result given recent form.

Porto never looked like droppping points to Setúbal and good on them for that.
However a word on Eber bessa. It baffles me that a player would take a dive...

Business as usual for the top 2, and Sporting turning out a good result given recent form.

Porto never looked like droppping points to Setúbal and good on them for that.
However a word on Eber bessa. It baffles me that a player would take a dive when on a yellow. Even more so when VAR is there to correct a potential mistaken penalty call which would result in a yellow for the dive regardless. Literally no benefit to diving in the box with VAR available. (Unless he was really counting on the incompetence of Portuguese officials...which happens more often than I’d like to admit lol)


Fantastic result for Sporting. Braga haven’t looked overly convincing lately when I have caught their matches, but kept on winning. Guess you can’t find fault as long as the wins keep coming. Sporting looked more lively today, not sure if anything’s changed or if it was just a fluctuation of performances, but here’s hoping they out due Villarreal Thursday.
Braga really need to find their feet if they want to challenge for a top spot. Their going to need to grab some points from at least one of the top 2 and they will need some real improvement. You can only squeeze by for so long.

Benfica match vs Aves wasn’t as exciting, but the result went the way I’d like lol.
Good call on the red, and quite frankly Dias could easily have seen his second yellow. Either way I don’t think Aves had it in them for a come back.
It’ll be interesting to see Samaris back at CB next week. I’ve always liked his hard work ethic and am glad he’s getting some playing time. Good luck on Thursday, bring home another win and bag some points for Portugal!

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Another excellent performance against a potentially tricky opponent. I was actually a bit worried about this game since we traditionally have a difficult time against small northern sides that are fighting to stay up in the first division....

Another excellent performance against a potentially tricky opponent. I was actually a bit worried about this game since we traditionally have a difficult time against small northern sides that are fighting to stay up in the first division. Nevertheless, Bruno Lage, managed to drag Aves' defensive block out of shape with some really clever movement from the likes of Pizzi, Felix, and Rafa which enabled us to find space in between their lines.

Ferro, apart from his immature red card, actually had a very solid game. He is neat and tidy on the ball, clean in the tackle, and assured in the air; Seferovic continues to look like the best striker in Portugal; and Rafa continues to make a case for being the best winger in the league.

Next up is Galatasaray at home. Despite the 2-1 away win, we shouldn't take anything for granted. That being said, I still see Lage using this game as an opportunity to give some of the fringe members of the squad some playing time. I'd love to see Jonas, Zivkovic, and Gedson get the start.

Our next home game against Chaves looks pretty comfortable on paper, but it looks like we will only have one natural center-back (Ruben Dias) available. Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised to see Lage move Samaris to center-back and play Florentino as the #6.

There is still plenty to play for this season, but it's hard not to get excited about this new Bruno Lage-inspired team.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It doesn’t matter who takes the penalties. When the team scores, I score too”

Bruno Fernandes
(Manchester United midfielder after passing up the opportunity to score a Champions League hat-trick by telling Marcus Rashford take a penalty instead of him) 

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