Benfica and FC Porto have extended their tug-of-war at the top of the Primeira Liga table after both sides emerged victorious in Matchday 28, taking the leading points total up to 69.

The Dragons ramped up the pressure on Friday night with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Boavista, as Brazilian duo Tiquinho Soares and Otávio produced the goods.

Benfica’s reply came on Sunday evening, coming from a goal behind to defeat relegation-bound Feirense 4-1 away from home and return to the summit of the table via head-to-head results.

Elsewhere, a 1-0 defeat for Braga against Moreirense offered Sporting the chance to go three points clear of Abel Ferreira’s fourth-placed side in the penultimate fixture of the week, doing so with a 3-0 victory at home against Rio Ave. PortuGOAL, as always, brings you the latest goings-on at the top of the Liga NOS.

 

FC Porto 2-0 Boavista

After confirming a spot in the Taça de Portugal final, attentions in the Porto camp switched back to the title race where local rivals, Boavista, looked to throw a spanner in the works at the Estádio do Dragão.

The Dragons threatened early through Tiquinho Soares, denied twice inside the box by a Rafael Bracalli double-save before Pepe neared the opener with his head in the 32nd minute.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

Joy came for Sérgio Conceição’s men with four minutes to go until the half-time break after a foul on Yacine Brahimi earned Porto the chance to break the deadlock via the penalty spot, converted by Soares.

Porto doubled up soon after the restart via Otávio, earning himself the time and space to let rip from outside of the box, squeezing his effort from range under the goalkeeper.

Two goals were enough for the hosts come full-time, pushing themselves above Benfica momentarily before the Eagles could take to the field versus Feirense.

 

Moreirense 1-0 Sp. Braga

Having been overtaken in the table by third-placed Sporting and being dumped out of the Taça de Portugal by Porto, Braga were tasked with bouncing back against none other than Primeira Liga high-flyers Moreirense in a meeting between two Minho outfits.

Volleys at either post headlined the best of Braga’s chances in the first half, with Pedro Trigueira making himself big enough to stop both Bruno Viana’s and Paulinho’s efforts on goal.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

The former Académica keeper wasn’t to stop Murilo Costa from finding the back of the net further on in the half, however, but the linesman did, chalking off the winger’s shot across goal after Ricardo Horta was caught coming into play from an offside position before assisting.

Sporting’s on-loan product Ivanildo Fernandes led Moreirense’s charge in the second half with a goal as early as the 47th minute, taking advantage of Tiago Sá’s inability to gather up a cross to scramble his touch in.

As Braga struggled to find a way through, Moreirense threatened on the break, going closest through Chiquinho in the 57th minute with a strike just over the bar from a one-on-one position.

The doors remained locked at Moreirense’s end, lining up a 1-0 defeat for Braga that opened up the prospect for the Arsenalistas to fall further behind in the race for automatic Europa League qualification.

 

Feirense 1-4 Benfica

The Eagles were on the hunt for a win that would place them back on top of the Primeira Liga for another week, following Porto’s success in the Invicta Derby, as Bruno Lage’s men came up against last-placed Feirense.

Far from routine for the Lisbon outfit, Feirense pegged Benfica behind in the 10th minute through Fábio Sturgeon, meeting Edson Farias’ whipped cross towards the back-post and powering a header past a helpless Odisseas Vlachodimos. 

Things got worse for Benfica in the 20th minute when Vitór Bruno’s crossed free-kick from the right flank made its way into the back of net before, rather controversially, the VAR judged Briseño to have been in an offside position and active in play. 

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

Feirense’s run-in with technology didn’t end there after the referee, upon further consultation, pointed to the spot for a perceived foul on Pizzi inside the box, with the latter equalising from the 12-yard-mark in the 40th minute.

Benfica turned then the game on its head just before half-time through André Almeida, picking up Andreas Samaris’ header towards the back-post and firing deep into Caio Secco’s net from close range.

The route to victory became clearer for the Red and Whites in the 49th minute when Haris Seferovic took advantage of a lack of communication in Feirense’s backline to lob Secco with a side-footed volley, making it 3-1.

Benfica’s Swiss striker left the game beyond any doubt with an 89th minute header to grab the visitors’ fourth of the evening, propelling the Eagles back to first place with a 4-1 victory.

 

Sporting 3-0 Rio Ave

Defeat for Braga at the hands of Moreirense meant Sporting could edge as far as three points ahead of its competitive rivals with a win over Rio Ave at the Alvalade, fresh from Wednesday night’s cup heroics against Benfica.

Via a quick counter, Luiz Phellype augmented the feel-good factor in the green half of Lisbon with a 12th-minute strike, getting himself on the end of Wendel’s through ball before slotting a finish in at the near-post for 1-0.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

The goalscorer was at the heart of Sporting’s next venture into goal-getting, as Messias Júnior came flying into the back of the Brazilian inside the box before the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Bruno Fernandes was the man elected to take the spot-kick, dispatching a finish beyond Léo Jardim and tallying up his 27th goal of the season for the Lions’ second of the night.

Wendel was on hand to nab his first league goal for the club in the 54th minute, receiving Bruno Fernandes’ pass on the edge of the box before finding the top corner with finesse to make it 3-0.

Tarantini offered a rare threat for Rio Ave en route to defeat, with Keizer’s men crowning a fifth consecutive league victory with a clean sheet.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 28

FC Porto 2-0 Boavista

Belenenses 1-1 Santa Clara

Nacional 0-0 Desp. Aves

Vit. Guimarães 4-0 Chaves

Moreirense 1-0 Sp. Braga

Vit. Setúbal 1-0 Marítimo

Feirense 1-3 Benfica

Sporting 3-0 Rio Ave

Tondela - Portimonense

Comments (7)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I suppose we should just gloss over the blatant 12th man for Benfica, which was the referee. To take a 2-0 Feirense first half and make it 2-1 Benfica is quite the stroke of genius.

The 2nd Feirense goal was not only not offside, the striker...

I suppose we should just gloss over the blatant 12th man for Benfica, which was the referee. To take a 2-0 Feirense first half and make it 2-1 Benfica is quite the stroke of genius.

The 2nd Feirense goal was not only not offside, the striker didn't touch the ball. The diving of Olympic diver Pizzi was acting so bad, it could have gone into "The Room".

But in both cases, despite VAR showing what happened, the ref decided to call it for Benfica.
The top 3 get calls their way all the time, but the benefits Benfica get even more so are a true illustration of a league that can't be counted on for fairness.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Huge robbery as Chris mentioned.

Should have been 2-0 feirense . This is why benfica can win leagues easily. The fact that their moronic fans continue to support the circus says it all.

Expect bad things to come feirense way as they spoke out...

Huge robbery as Chris mentioned.

Should have been 2-0 feirense . This is why benfica can win leagues easily. The fact that their moronic fans continue to support the circus says it all.

Expect bad things to come feirense way as they spoke out against the blatant corruption. Typically, smaller clubs who express dissent against benfica usually end up getting screwed over. I predict Feirense will be playing in the lower tiers of Portuguese football within 5 years .

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I can't believe I'm on the same side of an argument with Z. That being said Z, I didn't see you posting on here about poor officiating when Boavista got blatantly screwed by a Sporting penalty next week.

I for my part, have to admit Porto also...

I can't believe I'm on the same side of an argument with Z. That being said Z, I didn't see you posting on here about poor officiating when Boavista got blatantly screwed by a Sporting penalty next week.

I for my part, have to admit Porto also got awarded a non-penalty this weekend also against Boavista. So really, Boavista got the double screw 2 weeks in a row.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree that the penalty on Pizzi was soft, but let's not pretend that Benfica were the only club in Portugal to benefit from a soft penalty this season. Porto's first penalty against Braga was equally soft, and Sporting seems to get a penalty...

I agree that the penalty on Pizzi was soft, but let's not pretend that Benfica were the only club in Portugal to benefit from a soft penalty this season. Porto's first penalty against Braga was equally soft, and Sporting seems to get a penalty every time they get the ball in the opposition's box. In fact, whereas Benfica and Porto have scored 4 and 5 penalties respectively, Sporting have had 13!

The refs clearly weren't on Benfica's side when we got red cards both home and away against Porto. Benfica actually have 7 red cards this season whereas Porto have yet to receive a single one. Benfica have therefore played 117 minutes with 10 men this season. Porto, on the other hand, have played 181 minutes with a man advantage (stats courtesy of whoscored.com). Therefore while many continue to push all sorts of fanciful conspiracy theories regarding far-reaching pro-Benfica and anti-Porto/Sporting officiating, the stats very clearly prove otherwise.

Moreover, a player does not need to touch the ball to interfere with play. Any player in an offside position who either interferes with or obstructs the view of an opposing goalkeeper is still offside. The replays on Sport TV were far from conclusive. The only person in the stadium who had a clear view of that free-kick was the linesman. He raised his flag, the play was reviewed, and there was not enough concrete evidence to call the play back. Sure, it was close, but I have yet to see an angle that clearly shows that the Feirense player is onside when the ball is played.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Jon, with all due respect, this is a load of nonsense. You start off with "yes it's questionable" and end with "but actually Porto is worse!"

Even though it was a joke of a punishment, Porto was at least docked points in 2008. I don't think it...

Jon, with all due respect, this is a load of nonsense. You start off with "yes it's questionable" and end with "but actually Porto is worse!"

Even though it was a joke of a punishment, Porto was at least docked points in 2008. I don't think it was enough and I make no excuses for my clubs conduct.

Benfica were outed in the Toupeira scandal and magically it just goes away. That's what I find reprehensible. There is no consistency in punishment.

Porto get beneficial calls, no doubt. It is wrong when it happens. There's no "but in this instance, Benfica is worse", we are looking at the game on its own. There is no question Feirense got screwed twice in the same game WITH VAR. This is a joke.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Chris, my post was a response to the Porto and Sporting fans who continue to push this ludicrous narrative of pro-Benfica and anti-Porto/Sporting bias among the referees in the Primeira Liga. Their conspiracy theories are completely undermined by...

Chris, my post was a response to the Porto and Sporting fans who continue to push this ludicrous narrative of pro-Benfica and anti-Porto/Sporting bias among the referees in the Primeira Liga. Their conspiracy theories are completely undermined by cold, hard facts.

As you mentioned, all three teams benefit from questionable officiating, especially against the smaller clubs, and each of the big three can find themselves on the wrong side of officiating mistakes. That is the unfortunate reality of our league. My issue is with the delusional -- and incredibly vocal -- minority of Sporting and Porto fans who continue to push conspiracy theories regarding the corruption of referees.

I also have an issue with Benfiquistas to immediately scapegoat the referees when we really only have ourselves to blame for poor performances against minnows of our league. Sure, refs make mistakes, and some are certainly bigger than others, but at the end of the day, Benfica, Porto, and Sporting shouldn't have to rely on a last minute penalty to defeat the likes of Tondela or Feirense.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree with most of what you're saying but I refuse to sweep under the rug a few other cold hard truths: up until now, Benfica have faced no disciplinary actions for the Toupeira scandal, one which proved that Benfica were holding regular...

I agree with most of what you're saying but I refuse to sweep under the rug a few other cold hard truths: up until now, Benfica have faced no disciplinary actions for the Toupeira scandal, one which proved that Benfica were holding regular meetings to try and influence league officials, and documents which clearly illustrated that Benfica had an agenda to influence league officials. They even created PowerPoint presentations for this!

By the way, as I said, it was NOT okay when Porto did this in 2008, and even though their punishment was a joke (they still won the league that year anyways), at least there was some form of symbolic punishment which was the deduction of points. In the case of Benfica, whenever these scandals come up, they conveniently disappear without a trace or any follow up. If you deny that, you deny reality my friend.

Even Sporting faced disciplinary action for the BdC-inspired attack on the players. Yes, the big 3 get better treatment, but even among their exclusivity, you will find Benfica get a bit more of the rub.

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