FC Porto have cut the gap at the top of the Primeira Liga to six points after Sporting were unable to go beyond a 1-1 draw at home to FC Famalicão, this Sunday.

The Dragons came out of Matchday 26 with a straight-forward 2-0 win versus Tondela, ramping up the pressure on Sporting before switching their attentions to next week’s UEFA Champions League second leg versus Chelsea.

Benfica were able to do the same with a challenging away trip to Paços de Ferreira made easier by an early Stephen Eustáquio red card and a positive Haris Seferovic showing in a 5-0 victory.

Sporting’s 1-1 draw at Alvalade completed a positive weekend for their rivals, as Sporting de Braga were also left disappointed with a home draw, drifting away in fourth place after failing to beat Belenenses.

 

Tondela 0-2 FC Porto

Following the Dragons’ midweek disappointment against Chelsea in the Champions League, the title hopefuls were tasked with switching out their chip and reapplying the pressure on Sporting in the league, with Tondela awaiting in a rain-soaked Estádio João Cardoso.

The visitors took just 19 minutes to place themselves in front with Toni Martinez finding the back of the net for a second league game running, taking a cross down on his chest before beating a shot across goal.

Porto continued on top throughout the first half and into the break, but the chances waned towards a potentially nervy end against a fellow northern outfit.

Mehdi Taremi eased all worries, however, doubling the lead for Sérgio Conceição’s men in the 83rd minute after following up his header and tapping in from close range, securing Porto’s win.

 

P. Ferreira 0-5 Benfica

A long way away from the inconsistent form that haunted Benfica throughout the wintery months, Jorge Jesus’ men had a real test on their hands with an away trip to the Estádio do Móvel, home to high-flying Paços.

The hosts dipped themselves in big trouble by the 20th minute, however, courtesy of a dangerous challenge with studs showing from Eustáquio, catching Julian Weigl’s shin and subsequently earning the midfielder a straight red card.

Benfica made their superiority count with a keen high-press from Diogo Gonçalves, coupled with a strike across goal from the wing-back, giving the Eagles the lead in the 38th minute.

Gian-Luca Waldschmidt should’ve made it 2-0 after Seferovic laid a pass on a plate for the German to finish, striking against the beaten Jordi instead, but Rafa wouldn’t be as wasteful with the Swiss striker’s service, taking it around the keeper one-on-one to double Benfica’s lead.

Seferovic pinched a goal for himself with a cute dink over the keeper just before the break, with the Lisbon outfit looking towards the forward in emphatic form again in the second half, turning his defender before slamming in his brace in the 78th minute.

The final honours in a comprehensive 5-0 victory for Benfica fell Darwin Nuñez's way, leaving the striker in tears after scoring for the first time in two months.

 

Sp. Braga 1-1 Belenenses

The pressure was on Braga to keep in touch with third-placed Benfica, welcoming Belenenses to the Estádio Municipal ahead of Sunday’s clash between the two Primeira Liga old-timers.

An amateur loss of possession from the visitors almost led to the opening Braga had hoped for, with Stanislav Kritsyuk the only man standing between Ricardo Horta and a tasty lob into the back of the net in the 12th minute.

Belenenses responded with an outstretched effort from Miguel Cardoso at the back-post, requiring a big save from Matheus to keep the scores locked at 0-0 after 20 minutes.

The man to eventually break the deadlock would be Nicolás Gaitan, picking up on Andraž Sporar’s forceful back-heel to finish on his trusted left foot, ten minutes from the interval.

Matteo Cassierra undid Braga’s advantage in the second half with an eye-catching bit of skill to take both Matheus and Raúl Silva out of his way in the 59th minute, before tapping into an empty net.

The goals dried up there, however, with Braga’s non-response setting them three points behind Benfica after a 1-1 draw.

 

Sporting 1-1 FC Famalicão

After last week’s disappointment away to Moreirense, Famalicão’s visit to the Alvalade was looked at as the prompt bounce-back for Rúben Amorim’s men, desperate to ease the pressure of their eight-point advantage at the top of the table.

Pedro Gonçalves’ 25th-minute goal promised a night of success for the Lions, winning possession high up the pitch before being set up by the selfless Paulinho and picking out the top corner with a first-time finish.

Famalicão were rapid with their reply to their former player’s goal, making it 1-1 just two minutes later through Anderson, picking up from Ivan Jaime’s drive into the box to put the ball past Antonio Adan.

Tiago Tomás scuppered a big chance to relaunch Sporting in the second half, taking a loose touch inside the box from Sebastian Coates’ pass before being swamped by Patrick William when firing over.

With Coates again at the heart of things, winning a knock-down inside the box, Jovane Cabral had a prime opportunity to edge the hosts in front, but an agonising slice of the ball on his weaker foot, flying high and wide, summarised a frustrating night for the league leaders, picking up consecutive 1-1 draws.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 26

Portimonense 3-0 Vitória

Maritimo 1-0 Farense

Boavista 3-3 Rio Ave

Tondela 0-2 FC Porto

P. Ferreira 0-5 Benfica

Gil Vicente 1-2 Moreirense

Santa Clara 5-1 Nacional

Sp. Braga 1-1 Belenenses

Sporting 1-1 Famalicão