FC Porto and Benfica have registered wins in their bid to keep apace with Primeira Liga leaders Sporting, victorious in Madeira with a crucial 2-0 triumph versus Nacional, this Friday.

Originally scheduled for Thursday evening, bad weather meant the Green & Whites had to face off with Nacional, under testing conditions, on Friday night, passing the test with goals from Nuno Santos and Jovane Cabral at the oft-problematic Choupana.

Benfica took to the stage next, returning to winning ways with a 2-0 win of their own at the Estádio da Luz versus Tondela, meanwhile Porto responded with a 4-1 thrashing away to Famalicão, complete with a Mehdi Taremi brace.

 

Nacional 0-2 Sporting

In less than ideal conditions, Nacional and Sporting battled it out in a heavily-showered and muddied pitch, with more rain and strong winds heading for the isle of Madeira throughout the duration of the full 90 minutes.

The opportunities proved difficult to conjure up in a game that, right up until the 34th minute, only really had Pedro Gonçalves’ shot at goal, saved by Daniel Guimarães’ face between the sticks, to show off.

Sporting’s top goalscorer wouldn’t be denied an assist on his way out of the first half, however, volleying a long Nuno Mendes cross at the far-post across goal for Nuno Santos to sweep in on the brink of half-time.

In the space of 20 minutes, Pedro Gonçalves twice came close to sealing a win for Sporting in the second period, firstly striking high and wide from a prime position in the 65th minute before hitting the post in the final ten.

The Lisbon outfit’s second goal would arrive, however, via second-half substitutes Tiago Tomás and Jovane Cabral, as the latter finished the striker’s low cross, fizzed into the box in the 90th minute, to conclude a 2-0 win.

 

Benfica 2-0 Tondela

With no margin for error, the under-fire Jorge Jesus and his array of talent in the red half of Lisbon welcomed 14th-placed Tondela to the Estádio da Luz, needing a win against the regular relegation survivors to reduce the gap from the top back down to four points.

The Eagles lacked real cutting edge in the first-half, however, struggling to leave a mark on a frail Tondela side, dominated by the hosts throughout in possession and attempts at goal.

Come the 53rd minute, Haris Seferovic was finally able to make Benfica’s dominance count, bundling in Darwin Nuñez’s cross and breaking the deadlock.

Jesus’ men wouldn’t go out without a fright, as Odisseas Vlachodimos, one-on-one, denied a late Tondela equaliser that, just a minute later, would be completely relieved by Darwin’s successful attempt at making it 2-0 in the 86th minute, reuniting the hosts with winning ways.

 

FC Famalicão 1-4 FC Porto

Much like Benfica before them, the Dragons were out to register an anticipated victory in their response to Sporting’s win in Madeira, taking on even trickier opposition in Famalicão.

Porto got themselves started with Taremi’s first-time finish in the 13th minute before the Iranian's goal was cancelled out seven minutes later through Jhonata Robert’s penalty. Sérgio Oliveira demonstrated once more that he had a bit about him from the spot-kick too just moments later, dispatching Porto’s second of the night and giving his side a 2-1 lead going into the break.

Taremi added greater comfort to the visitors’ lead in the 57th minute, looping a header into an unattended net to grab a second for himself and make it 3-1.

Famalicão aimed for a final push but, in times of desperation, Porto proved to be ruthless on the counter, adding the finishing touches to a 4-1 victory with a precise drive from João Mário, fresh off Sérgio Conceição’s bench.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 13

Sp. Braga 2-1 Marítimo

Nacional 0-2 Sporting

Benfica 2-0 Tondela

Rio Ave 3-0 Portimonense

FC Famalicão 1-4 FC Porto

Saturday 9th January

Moreirense vs. Vit. Guimarães

Boavista vs. Santa Clara

Sunday 10th January

Farense vs. Gil Vicente

Belenenses vs. P. Ferreira

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Sporting played amazing today under harsh conditions.

The Porto game was a joke. Taremi flopping around for penalties and conceicao and the entire Porto bench putting pressure on the refs as per usual. 5 yellows against famalicao 1 for Porto....

Sporting played amazing today under harsh conditions.

The Porto game was a joke. Taremi flopping around for penalties and conceicao and the entire Porto bench putting pressure on the refs as per usual. 5 yellows against famalicao 1 for Porto. Vaná , a Porto loanee, suddenly gets to play in net and has a terrible game. Penalty given away by another Portista, Diogo Queiros.

Only in Portuguese Liga.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'm usually my own team's biggest critic, but you're showing your lack of objectivity here Z, as per usual.

It was a good back and forth game and Famalicao was very scrappy. Also, the ref awarded them a penalty as well, so again, you're just...

I'm usually my own team's biggest critic, but you're showing your lack of objectivity here Z, as per usual.

It was a good back and forth game and Famalicao was very scrappy. Also, the ref awarded them a penalty as well, so again, you're just making things up.

Porto had the lion's share (little pun there for ya, Sporting fan), of possession and were more clinical.

As for Sporting, it was a gritty and well earned win. When the game started, it definitely smelled like an upset or draw at the very least, but Goncalves, Nuno Santos and Porro put on another attacking display and got the job done.

Sporting has done brilliantly to get through the tougher games and still get the 3 points.

See that -Z-? It's not hard to complement the competition and still be a fan of your team. You might want to try it sometime. It will help make you seem less petty.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I 100% agree. We'll win the league only if, a big if, the FPF allows us. There's some hope though. Porto and Benfica still have to play their two and out games. For at least that week, they just might slip up far enough for the refs to be unable...

I 100% agree. We'll win the league only if, a big if, the FPF allows us. There's some hope though. Porto and Benfica still have to play their two and out games. For at least that week, they just might slip up far enough for the refs to be unable to gift them league wins. At best a week, since both will be ritualistically embarrassed per usual for all of Europe to see.

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