A Bruno Fernandes hat-trick, making the Portuguese playmaker the highest-scoring midfielder in history on 31 goals, powered Sporting to an eye-popping 8-1 victory over Belenenses, this Sunday, as the third-placed Lions confirmed their spot on the Primeira Liga podium for yet another season.

Marcel Keizer's men responded to big wins around them in the league table, starting with Benfica's 5-1 triumph over Portimonense at the Estádio da Luz that left the Eagles needing just four points to clinch the Liga title, as the Portuguese footballing season nears its conclusion.

FC Porto reciprocated with a 4-0 victory at home to Desportivo das Aves on Saturday night, meanwhile Sporting de Braga renewed their poor form with an away loss to Marítimo, 1-0, and surrender in the race for third place. PortuGOAL has more from the crux of the Primeira Liga campaign.

 

Marítimo 1-0 Sp. Braga

Anything other than a win for Braga would see them succumb to finishing fourth in the Primeira Liga, as they went head-to-head in Madeira with another side, Marítimo, equally keen to triumph and, in turn, confirm their top-flight status for another season.

A 34th-minute red card for Getterson, awarded upon a VAR review, spelled trouble for Marítimo going into half-time, as a couple of handy saves from Charles kept the score locked at 0-0 before the interval.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

The best Braga could offer with their one-man advantage over the hosts came from Nuno Sequeira’s cross-shot in the 51st minute, desperately palmed away by Charles between the sticks.

As Abel Ferreira’s side pushed further up the field in search of an opener, Rodrigo Pinho was on hand to land a killer blow on the Arsenalistas in the 83rd minute, racing through on goal on the counter-attack before eventually hooking a shot past the goalkeeper and giving Marítimo the lead.

Claudemir failed to equalise late on for Braga with a free header inside the box, soaring over the bar and concluding a sorry performance for the once title-hopefuls.

 

Benfica 5-1 Portimonense

Three ‘finals’ stood between Benfica and the Primeira Liga title prior to Portimonense’s visit to the red half of Lisbon, who were forced to take on the table-toppers without ex-Porto man Jackson Martinez through injury.

The Colombian’s absence wasn’t to be felt too much as Portimonense, shortly after Haris Seferovic neared the game's first goal with a chip, dominated the quality of chances in the first period, going closest through Dener’s first-time shot wide inside the box.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

António Folha’s team pressed on in the second period, rewarding themselves with a goal through Rodrigo Tabatá in the 53rd minute when rounding Odisseas Vlachodimos, but that goal was soon cancelled out after Rafa Silva took advantage of sloppy play at the back for Portimonense to nip in and equalise moments later.

Rafa turned the game on its head when frantically stroking the ball into an empty net in the 66th minute, meanwhile it wasn’t until the 84th minute that Benfica reached a higher degree of comfort with a third goal, courtesy of Seferovic’s touch and half-volley inside the box.

The Swiss striker popped up again to make it 4-1 in the 88th minute with a tap-in before Jonas, attacking André Almeida’s cross from the right, nodded in the fifth and final goal for Benfica, edging them closer to an eagerly-anticipated league title.

 

FC Porto 4-0 Desp. Aves

After a difficult week that saw the Dragons concede ground to Benfica in the race for the title and Iker Casillas’ recent absence in light of heart complications, Porto were out in search of a positive response against Aves at home.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

Jesús Corona got Porto off on the right foot with a headed goal in the 18th minute, courtesy of Alex Telles’ delivery from the left, before a Tiquinho Soares penalty set Porto up for a 2-0 lead going into the break.

Wilson Manafá got off the mark in blue and white in the second half, rifling hard and across goal with a shot inside the box to make it 3-0 in the 68th minute. Soares drew the curtains on a 4-0 victory just two minutes later with his second, volleying coolly into the back of the net in the face of a scrambling Aves defence.

 

Belenenses 1-8 Sporting

Having nailed down automatic qualification for next season’s Europa League campaign, Sporting looked to top-up their momentum ahead of the Taça de Portugal final versus Porto in their trip to Jamor, the venue of the season's curtain-caller itself.

Belenenses appeared to make their bed inside the first 22 minutes after slack play at the back from the hosts allowed Raphinha to put the Lions ahead before a last-man challenge from goalkeeper Muriel left his side reduced to ten men shortly after.

Sporting’s Luiz Phellype’s made it seven goals in seven appearances just before the break to double the score, an advantage halved in the second period via Licá for Belenenses.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

Nemanja Gudelj boosted the visitors' lead up to 3-1 in the 64th minute via a heavily-deflected shot, with Bruno Fernandes following up the Serbian’s effort to notch Sporting’s fourth goal from the penalty spot.

The capitulation commenced for Belenenses in the final 15 minutes, as Bruno Fernandes made it 30 for the season before Dost grabbed Sporting’s sixth goal on his return to the first team.

A volley for Bruno Fernandes at the back-post rewarded the Portuguese midfielder with his first career hat-trick in the 83rd minute, on top of registering his name in history as the highest-scoring midfielder, leaving the finishing touches in the Green and Whites’ biggest win of the season to Idrissa Doumbia, who was on hand to steer a shot in for 8-1.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 32

Moreirense 1-2 Rio Ave

Marítimo 1-0 Sp. Braga

Feirense 4-4 Chaves

Benfica 5-1 Portimonense

FC Porto 4-0 Desp. Aves

Tondela 1-3 Santa Clara

Belenenses 1-8 Sporting

Vit. Guimarães - Nacional

Vit. Setúbal - Boavista

Comments (6)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Didn't watch Porto or Benfica

So thats the Liga pretty much done, only team that can do anything is Rio Ave against Benfica but I don't see that happening, can't see Nacional winning against Porto, but they do have to win in order to give...

Didn't watch Porto or Benfica

So thats the Liga pretty much done, only team that can do anything is Rio Ave against Benfica but I don't see that happening, can't see Nacional winning against Porto, but they do have to win in order to give themselves a chance of staying in the Liga... who knows?

I made the mistake of not watching the 2nd half of Sporting, thought to myself its 2-0 and a man more no point... missed the biggest win in 35 years in the league for Sporting... FML 'facepalm.jpg'

Can't see Bruno's goal scoring record being broken any time soon and he still has 3 games left, ridiculous... even in the Portuguese league that is a lot for a midfielder to score, really hope he doesn't go to Man United, I think he will get worse if he goes there, hopefully he goes to a proper attacking team with an actual manager with proven record that can improve him as a player even if its Wolves or Everton would be a better choice than Man United.

I see Braga collapsed completely again and they are still miles ahead in points of 5th place... just says it all really about the smaller sides.

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Benfica's match was almost a carbon copy of their previous match against Braga. Really poor first half, the players looked nervy and passive and just didn't get going at all in the first 45 mins. Portimonense did very well for the first hour and...

Benfica's match was almost a carbon copy of their previous match against Braga. Really poor first half, the players looked nervy and passive and just didn't get going at all in the first 45 mins. Portimonense did very well for the first hour and if they played like that every week, they would surely be a top 5 or 6 team. But just like against Braga, it was a huge improvement from SLB in the second half, and we were rampant by the end. In football, its the full 90 mins that count, and I've noticed this trend quite a bit with Lage in charge so far, even in games that we started very slowly, there's a good tendency to finish very strongly in second halves. Most of the attention has been on Felix and Seferovic this season, but what a season Rafa and Pizzi are having and both were super important in the comeback on Saturday.

Well Benfica need 4 more points from the last two matches to secure the title. But this is in the case of Porto winning their last two games, which is no guarantee. There are plenty of permutations that could happen. You would expect Porto to beat Nacional, even though they tend to struggle in Algarve, but it's a huge pressure game for Porto because failure to win there would give us match point against Rio Ave. Likewise if Porto win and we lose to Rio Ave, that would put Porto on top with one match left. But even if that would happen, it would still be going down to the wire because Porto will have a tough last match of the season against a very in-form Sporting who will want to finish the season on a high and who traditionally give problems to Porto in classico matches. Clearly lots of things can still happen. Benfica just have to focus on beating Rio Ave, if we are able to do that then I can't see us not winning the title. Let's see what happens..

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** I meant Porto tend to struggle in MADEIRA, not Algarve!!!

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Bruno Fernandes is the best player in the world. Right now. He should win the ballon dor.

Yes, he’s better than Messi and streets ahead of one dimensional cr7.

All Ronaldo does now his wait in the box for headers. He’s basically a deluxe...

Bruno Fernandes is the best player in the world. Right now. He should win the ballon dor.

Yes, he’s better than Messi and streets ahead of one dimensional cr7.

All Ronaldo does now his wait in the box for headers. He’s basically a deluxe version of bas dost. Can’t believe how far he has fallen and people are blind to see his obvious decline.

Portugal has to build around Bruno Fernandes for euro 2020.

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Z, even if we were to look past your obviously green tinted glasses, it is easy to see Bruno Fernandes has been the best player in Portugal this season.

Val and I commented a few years ago on what a great deal his acquisition was for Sporting....

Z, even if we were to look past your obviously green tinted glasses, it is easy to see Bruno Fernandes has been the best player in Portugal this season.

Val and I commented a few years ago on what a great deal his acquisition was for Sporting. And in fairness, no one can be mad at him for leaving at the end of the season as it's been 3 seasons or so and that's the typical timeframe most players stay at one club.

Sadly, the Ballon d'Or has been a joke for a long time. Messi winning in 2010 was a joke and a clear sign of Sepp Bladder's bloated love for the one team, play it safe Argentine. 2010 was Wesley Sneijder's year.

Also factor in that 2006 was the last time a defender won, and the last time until 2018 a non-forward won (Modric is a midfielder). The Ballon is nothing more that a glorified popularity contest that goes to Messi by default because he's "likable", or that Ronaldo has to shatter records to get.

Some seriously talented players have been deprived of the honour in that time; Robben, Ibrahimovic, Cavani, Wesley Sneijder, Ribery, Iniesta, Xavi. If these guys couldn't win, imagine what chance a player in the Portuguese league stands.

This is why football is on a decline, in my opinion. Champions League has become stagnant, and it took a team like Ajax to make things interesting again this season. I remember in the 2000's when teams like Porto, Ajax, Lyon, Dortmund, Lazio, Shaktar, Zenit, etc, were all regulars in the Champions League knockout stages. The football was better and more exciting too.

Blatter, FIFA, UEFA and Saudi oil money have helped ruin the sport, sadly.

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Z, you are spot on about Ronaldo waiting in the box for headers. But I'm not sure if that is an indictment against him or against Juve. It seems to be the only style of play they are currently capable of given their inept midfield.

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