Sporting have increased their lead at the top of the Primeira Liga table after combining a 2-0 victory at home to Paços de Ferreira, this Monday, with FC Porto’s draw at home to Boavista over the weekend.

The Dragons, two goals down by half-time, produced a second-half fightback against rivals Boavista but, with a missed penalty and a VAR decision in the mix, Sérgio Conceição’s men were unable to stretch beyond a 2-2 draw and leave a couple of points at Sporting’s mercy.

The Lisbon outfit took advantage with a goal in each half of the game from João Mário and midfield pivot João Palhinha, taking their lead over Porto into double figures for the league.

Benfica were no better than their northern rivals in their travels to Moreira de Conégos, despite taking the lead early versus Moreirense before a 40th minute penalty from Yan Matheus left them braced for a 1-1 stalemate.

The draw enabled Braga to go two points clear of fourth-placed Benfica after a narrow 1-0 victory away to Santa Clara, leaving them just one point behind second place.

 

FC Porto 2-2 Boavista

With Porto in danger of allowing table-topping Sporting to sail away into the distance, the Dragons were matched up with local rivals Boavista in their bid to keep apace with the Lions.

Jackson Porozo took just eight minutes to place the Black Panthers ahead, however, attacking a corner at the near post and heading an effort past Augustin Marchesín. Boavista followed up Porozo’s header with a goal from Alberth Elis, set up by an accurate Ricardo Mangas cross, as the visitors took a 2-0 lead into the second half.

Just eight minutes into the second half, Porto initiated their comeback with a heavily-deflected effort from Mehdi Taremi finding its way into the back of the net.

Sérgio Oliveira levelled the score from the spot as late as the 82nd minute and, with Francisco Conceição, the son of current manager Sérgio, already on the pitch, the Porto skipper almost completed the turnaround standing over the 12-yard-mark again within the final ten minutes before hitting the post with his attempt.

Porto were able to celebrate a third goal that initially made it 3-2 but, upon closer inspection, Evanilson’s 89th minute winner was later ruled out after a deflection off the Brazilian’s hand directed the ball goalwards, sentencing the two sides to an eventual 2-2 draw.

 

Santa Clara 0-1 Sp. Braga

After back-to-back games against Porto, both resulting in a draw, Braga took to the Azores in hope of closing in on their Taça de Portugal opponents Porto, momentarily four points adrift.

The Bracarenses stormed to a 1-0 lead, courtesy of ex-Sporting full back Cristian Borja, sitting just outside the area before thundering a volley into the top-right corner in the 10th minute.

A couple of Lincoln free-kicks from crossing positions was as threatening as it got from Santa Clara, calling Matheus into action on both occasions in the second half. Borja’s early goal stood the test of time, taking Braga two points closer to second place.

 

Moreirense 1-1 Benfica

After Porto’s draw, Benfica’s journey up north to take on Moreirense offered Jorge Jesus’ men, back to winning ways in their last fixture, the chance to close the gap between them and second-placed Porto to just one point, much like Braga did.

The Eagles saw a big chance go begging with a misfiring effort from Rafa Silva in the 21st minute, dragging a shot inside the box wide before Haris Seferovic showed the winger how it’s done with Benfica’s opener, just four minutes later.

Alex Grimaldo dipped the visitors in a spot of bother in the 40th minute, however, conceding a penalty for Yan Matheus to convert, taking the two sides into the interval tied at 1-1.

Courtesy of a Gian-Luca Waldschmidt cross, Darwin Nuñez almost propelled Benfica back in front with a close-range header, timing his run into the box to perfection, but Pasinato stood strong to deny the Uruguayan in the 79th minute.

The inspiration dried up at both ends of the pitch, leading the two sides out to the tune of a 1-1 draw that’ll undoubtedly suit the hosts more.

 

Sporting 2-0 P. Ferreira

The season appears to get sweeter and sweeter for Rúben Amorim and his young Lions, readying themselves against high-flying Paços in a game that would send them ten points clear at the top of the table with a victory at Alvalade.

New boy Paulinho threatened to grab his first goal in Sporting colours with a neat flick at the near post, stopped by Jordy, but a push on Pedro Gonçalves inside the box moments later would offer the hosts a clearer route to goal in the first half.

João Mário was the man elected to take the all-important spot-kick for Sporting, making no mistake with the game’s first goal in the 20th minute.

From one João, to the next, the league leaders found themselves doubling their lead early in the second half through João Palhinha, volleying in a flick-on from the back-post in the 48th minute.

The home side then managed the threat coming from ‘the Castores’, Sporting collecting another set of three points in their charge towards the title, as they clocked up a ten-point-advantage that’s never been squandered by any team at this stage of the season.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 19

FC Famalicão 0-0 Belenenses

Nacional 2-3 Farense

Vitória 2-3 Rio Ave

FC Porto 2-2 Boavista

Portimonense 4-1 Gil Vicente

Santa Clara 0-1 Sp. Braga

Moreirense 1-1 Benfica

Sporting 2-0 P. Ferreira

 

Tuesday 16th February

Tondela vs. Marítimo

 

Comments (16)

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Well, well, well let me just say thanks to Porto and Benfica, not sure why they are helping us by dropping points???

Porto: I managed to watch the game, the whole game for once. Well losing 2-0 at half time against Boavista was embarrassing then...

Well, well, well let me just say thanks to Porto and Benfica, not sure why they are helping us by dropping points???

Porto: I managed to watch the game, the whole game for once. Well losing 2-0 at half time against Boavista was embarrassing then you remember that Boavista won 3-0 against Benfica, but Boavista 2nd half vanished and Porto certainly took control, but Porto first half was just shocking. For once Sergio didn't complain about the referees, then again he couldn't with 2 penalties for his side, I read a comment on abola with one person writing 'that was not a penalty from Portugal to China' which I agree with, the 2nd was passable. Still felt a little bad for Porto as I don't think anyone spotted that handball apart from VAR, looks really harsh but at the same time that ball only went in because of the hand so its a justifiably goal to be taken away. Porto to me look like they are running out of that warrior spirit and for once Sergio said his team was to partly blame for the 1st half including his own incorrect tactics. Porto didn't win that game because they missed the final penalty, can't blame anyone but themselves that time.

Braga: didn't watch so can't comment but honestly look like they will challenge for 2nd spot without a doubt in my mind, good solid team.

Benfica: Forgot about the game so didn't watch it and was surprised at the result, Jesus blaming covid was laughable but that game he didn't mention it again, inexcusable for the money they have spent. If Benfica finish 4th, it has to be one of the worst results for any of the top 3 for a long time given the circumstances. I seriously would be angry if I were a Benfica fan if Benfica were to finish outside the top 3, the entire management including the president should resign if that were to happen. Crazy to think they spent a fortunate for a Portuguese club and the results do not show it, its true they haven't had a penalty which is equally as crazy. My dad who is a Benfica fan said if the 'correct' decisions were given for Benfica for uncalled penalties and if they were scored then Benfica would be 6 points better, still 6 points behind Sporting still would not be good enough in my view.

Sporting: The penalty certainly was one but it was clumsy and soft to give away not sure why they complained anyone pushing someone from their back is usually a foul, anyways Sporting once again not really lighting up the pitch but they are seriously efficient and have a solid defense who look like they have been playing years together. A win against Porto and Sporting can truly start to dream as 11 points (If Braga win their match) is a sizable lead to hold given that the rest of the chasers go into European competitions this week.

Also it's a bit funny how some people are saying that Sporting are only where they are now because they crashed out of Europe, which is partly true but Porto, Braga and Benfica hare dropped a considerable amount of points after finishing their group stage and the knockouts don't start until next week so what are excuses for those selected few? Its cheap to undermine Sporting's current success like that.

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No thanks to Porto and Benfica, truth is Sporting have done it themselves.

I've long been skeptical of Conceicao and this game showed why. He plays the same 11 every game and the team is exhausted. He made some very good changes in the 2nd...

No thanks to Porto and Benfica, truth is Sporting have done it themselves.

I've long been skeptical of Conceicao and this game showed why. He plays the same 11 every game and the team is exhausted. He made some very good changes in the 2nd half, but that Evanilson foul was not a foul and not a penalty.

That said, that VAR hand ball call was bullshit. Still, Porto have only themselves to blame for the result.

Sporting Porto coming up soon. If Porto can't get those 3 points, the title is as good as Sporting's. Looking forward to a good match.

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Holy cow! Sporting, it's been a while. Thank you for this season. Hell! Even if we don't win, it's been great. Thanks again!!

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Sporting have been doing well to keep winning their one domestic Liga match a week, and are thus overwhelming favorites to finally win the Liga again at this point. Only a titanic collapse would deny them the title now and the title is simply...

Sporting have been doing well to keep winning their one domestic Liga match a week, and are thus overwhelming favorites to finally win the Liga again at this point. Only a titanic collapse would deny them the title now and the title is simply theirs to lose from here on out. Well done to them so far, but I also have to make two points which I believe have contributed to their hefty lead at the top of the table:

Firstly, people can deny it as much as they want, but the fact is having no European games at all this season has greatly benefitted them in the league. While Benfica and Porto have been playing every 3 days, and travelling across Europe for demanding matches...Sporting, since the start of the season, have had a whole week to prepare for one Liga match a week against the Gil Vicentes and Tondelas of this world. We all saw in the one European match Sporting have played this season, how much more demanding European matches are than Liga matches. I seriously doubt that if Sporting had been in the Europa league this season, that they would have made such a strong start in the league.

Secondly, this strange situation we are living through with the empty stadiums in every match has changed a lot of the dynamics in football. This is why we are seeing huge surprise results and league table standings in most of the leagues in Europe. The teams that are not favorites are all getting better results in matches than they normally do. I think the lack of fans in the stadiums has had the effect of taking the pressure off matches, and the matches kind of resemble pre-season friendlies (i.e no big pressure). Now Sporting is a team that traditionally don't respond too well to big pressure in matches (remember their "home" Europa league final at the Alvalade against CSKA Moscow, for instance?). And I think especially with so many young players in their team this season, they have reacted better to this decreased pressure (pre-season vibe) situation in the matches, than their rivals have. Again I have to say that I believe if the situation had been normal this season, with stadiums full of fans and thus more pressure in the games, I doubt this young Sporting squad would be 10 points clear on top of the table.

Nevertheless, I'm not trying to detract Sporting's success so far this season. They can only play what's on their calendar, and the situation with empty stadiums etc. is what it is...and I repeat they have done well to keep winning the league matches every week. In truth, both Benfica and Porto have simply not been good enough in the league up to now and only have themselves to blame for being so far behind top spot, and Sporting are definitely deserving leaders up to now, even if I think they have been aided somewhat by the two points I mentioned above.

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@Andre/UK Keep crying and making false excuses my amigo!!! :D

in 2021 no europa games and Sporting won 9 points more that Benfica. in England Man City in lead, in Spain Atletico Real Madrid Barcelona on the top in Germany Bayern on the...

@Andre/UK Keep crying and making false excuses my amigo!!! :D

in 2021 no europa games and Sporting won 9 points more that Benfica. in England Man City in lead, in Spain Atletico Real Madrid Barcelona on the top in Germany Bayern on the top but poor Benfica do bad because covid and no fans, ha ha ha. difference is no more pressure on referees to give Benfica penalties every game. look what happens when the referee is more fair same as happens in Europe Benfica loose ha ha ha.

Put more tobacco my friend. The only way Sporting can not win liga is Benfica pay more to the referees.

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Sporting will be champs and this will
Mark the dawn of Sportings hegemony in Portugal. The glory days of the 1940s and 50s will return. Benfica and Porto are on the decline.

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Half our guys will leave during the summer transfer window. The other half are getting up there in years. Portuguese clubs will never learn.

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The most important thing is to keep Amorim happy. We need him most of all.

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Matched played Since Dec 10:
Benfica 17
Porto 17
Sporting 15
I believe the reason for the extra two games was because of Taca de Portugal.

We all must agree that Sporting has been the steadiest team in Portugal the past two months or even from...

Matched played Since Dec 10:
Benfica 17
Porto 17
Sporting 15
I believe the reason for the extra two games was because of Taca de Portugal.

We all must agree that Sporting has been the steadiest team in Portugal the past two months or even from the start of the league year. A lot of games haven't been great football but their defense as been steady, Amorim as been masterful on his subs late in games. He's been great! Not scared to try something new or a different team or ven playing the young players. Refreshing compared to Porto and Benfica team who always stays with the same players and barely play their young players.
Yes Porto and Benfica will have some Europe games coming up BUT that's only an additional 2 games. No way Porto beats Juventus and no way Benfica beats Arsenal. So by end February/beginning of March all is fair game LOL.
Lots of league games left and Sporting still have to play Porto/Benfica/Braga one more time.

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Good post Ricki. Sporting has only themselves to thank for their position, European games are not the make or break.

After all, they are undefeated in the league. I personally thought there was a good chance Sporting would win this season but...

Good post Ricki. Sporting has only themselves to thank for their position, European games are not the make or break.

After all, they are undefeated in the league. I personally thought there was a good chance Sporting would win this season but didn't think they would be so far ahead already.

And with the way the are playing, Porto might not even end up in 2nd, that might go to Braga. It's an interesting season for sure.

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Excellent comment Ricky,
I couldn’t have said it better myself.

They really haven’t played much more games than sporting lately when the gap began widening! Arsenal and Juventus will easily win those ties.

My new girlfriend who is also...

Excellent comment Ricky,
I couldn’t have said it better myself.

They really haven’t played much more games than sporting lately when the gap began widening! Arsenal and Juventus will easily win those ties.

My new girlfriend who is also Portuguese (24 years old, 34D-24-36 and 5ft 4 so ya she is a rocket) says I’m the best lover she’s ever had. Previous boyfriends were a benfiquista and a Portista.

SPORTING

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Not going to lie, I spit out some coffee in laughter while reading this. Are you wearing the Sporting cascol while you're being intimate? And what happened to your smoking hot wife?

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LOL!

- Z - what happened to the "easily an 8/10 Italian wife?"

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12 more wins

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This season shows what happens when you put trust in the young portuguese talent coming from the academy and buying them from other teams...Amorim has shown that, bruno lage showed that, even Conceicao has at a slower pace sure but used them. I...

This season shows what happens when you put trust in the young portuguese talent coming from the academy and buying them from other teams...Amorim has shown that, bruno lage showed that, even Conceicao has at a slower pace sure but used them. I am neither a sporting or benfica fan....but it makes me smile when JJ loaned out, sold and benched almost all portuguese players for South American and other european players....epic and expensive fail! I hate turning a game on and seeing 11 foreign players while so much talent sits on the bench, is stuck in Benfica B, when we know based off pretty recent experience these players do come good....I can give many examples....

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“The game against Germany served as a lesson.”

João Palhinha
(Portugal midfielder highlights the factor behind the huge improvement by Portugal in their final Euro 2020 Group F match against France) 

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