Benfica re-enter the top three with win over Braga after Sporting and Porto hold firm

Benfica have leapfrogged Sporting de Braga in the Primeira Liga table after defeating the Arsenalistas 2-0 away from home, this Sunday.

Goals from Rafa Silva and Haris Seferovic powered the Eagles to victory against Braga, who were forced to play much of the encounter down to ten men after Fransérgio’s first-half dismissal.

Elsewhere, FC Porto battled for victory in Portimão with two Portimonense own goals handing them a 2-1 win against the lowly-placed outfit. Sporting, in response, kept up appearances soon after against the might of Vitória, needing just one goal from Gonçalo Inácio to renew a ten-point advantage held over second-placed Porto going into the international break.


Portimonense 1-2 FC Porto

Deep in their own battles at opposing ends of the Primeira Liga table, Portimonense and Porto went head-to-head in a fierce dispute for points in Portimão.

In a bitter first half for the hosts, Koki Anzai missed a great opportunity to place Portimonense ahead, just three minutes in, with a side-footed lob over Augustin Marchesín going wide.

At the other end, already close to the interval, the Dragons found the breakthrough via a Lucas Possignolo own-goal, with the Brazilian unfortunate enough to turn in Moussa Marega’s toe-poke.

Portimonense found their way back level in the 64th minute through Fali Candé’s header, nodding into an empty net after an unforgiving breach of Porto’s back-line concluded itself nicely for the left-back to take advantage of. 

Luck remained on Porto’s side, however, with Sergio Oliveira’s free-kick resulting in a second own goal off the back of the goalkeeper and driving the visitors towards a 2-1 victory.


Sporting 1-0 Vitória

Considered one of the biggest tests left on the Lions’ calendar ahead of potential league glory, it was with a great deal of caution that Sporting, forced into a handful of changes, welcomed Vitória to the Alvalade.

Rúben Amorim’s men were quick on the gas, hitting the bar through Pedro Gonçalves in the 18th minute before a seemingly well-worked goal midway through the first half, finished by Tiago Tomás, was called back for a Vitória throw-in by the VAR.

The Vimaraenses followed up with high moments of their own as Marcus Edwards stung the hands of Antonio Adan and rattled the bar prior to Oscar Estupiñan’s header from the subsequent corner, also going against the woodwork in the 34th minute.

Sporting were made to tussle with the VAR once more in the 42nd minute after Gonçalo Inácio’s headed goal was disallowed by the officials, only for the replays to overturn the initial decision and place the hosts 1-0 up.

A quieter second half favoured Sporting, staring down at another set of three points, with the table-toppers able to sustain a blunt 45 minutes of play and register the win demanded of them.


Sp. Braga 0-2 Benfica

It was third versus fourth at the Estádio Municipal on Sunday night, with the clash between Sporting de Braga and trailing Benfica acting as a potential pivot in the battle for top-three places.

A 39th-minute second yellow for Fransérgio set the challenge for Braga, left to take on the Eagles down to ten men after a high foot from the Brazilian midfielder struck Rafa on his side.

The ex-Braga man made matters worse for the hosts just before half-time after being fed through on goal by Seferovic and picking his spot against Matheus one-on-one. A João Novais free-kick, crashing against the top of the bar in the 48th minute, began to show signs that it wasn’t to be the Arsenalistas’ night up against Jorge Jesus’ men.

With the roles reversing and turning Rafa into the provider in the 58th minute, Benfica’s second through Seferovic all but confirmed that narrative, rubber-stamping a 2-0 victory that drags Braga down to fourth place and places them a point behind their opponents.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 24

Gil Vicente 2-0 Nacional

P. Ferreira 3-0 Moreirense

Santa Clara 1-1 Tondela

Portimonense 1-2 FC Porto

Sporting 1-0 Vitória

Rio Ave 0-0 Belenenses

Boavista 0-1 Farense

Marítimo 0-4 FC Famalicão

Sp. Braga 0-2 Benfica