Sporting were made to battle from two goals down to snatch a late draw at home to Belenenses, this Wednesday, as their six-point lead at the top of the table shrunk to four.

Belenenses raced into a 1-0 lead before doubling their advantage in the second half, but a Sebastian Coates header and late Jovane Cabral penalty earned the Lions a point, opening up the opportunity to concede ground in the race for the league title, but also maintaining their unbeaten record in the league.

FC Porto didn’t wobble in the face of the opportunity to close in on Sporting, defeating Vitória de Guimarães with a sole goal from Moussa Marega, meanwhile Benfica returned to winning ways, away to Portimonense, after cruising to a 5-1 victory.

Elsewhere, there was also an important win for Sporting de Braga against their rivals Boavista at home, maintaining a two-point gap behind third-placed Benfica with a 2-1 triumph.

 

Sporting 2-2 Belenenses

After bouncing back from two consecutive draws, without Rúben Amorim, away to Farense at the weekend, Sporting were out in hunt of further joy against their fellow locals Belenenses in the second of their manager's three-game suspension.

Thirteen minutes is all it took for Belenenses to leave the residents of Alvalade sweating, with Mateo Cassierra tapping in Silvestre Varela’s low cross for the opener.

Sporting upgraded from set-piece threats to the chance to bounce back with a João Mário spot-kick in the 42nd minute, courtesy of a foul on Nuno Mendes, but the Internazionale midfielder found no way past an imperious Stanislav Kritsyuk, saving the penalty.

Meanwhile one keeper claimed hero status, the other was playing out the role of the villain after Antonio Adan was left red-faced by Cassierra, catching the shot-stopper out in possession and claiming an easy second before the hour mark.

Sporting commenced their fightback in the 83rd minute via Sebastian Coates’ header, crashing in to attack Nuno Santos’ cross from the left and halve Belenenses’ lead.

A handball inside the box gifted the hosts a second bite of the cherry from the spot, just as the curtains looked poised to be drawn. Jovane took full responsibility and converted to keep Sporting undefeated, despite a third draw in four games chilling the mood.

 

Sp. Braga 2-1 Boavista

Derby day came to the Estádio do Municipal de Braga on Wednesday evening as Braga hosted Boavista with a tussle for third place, chasing after Benfica, firmly in mind.

The hosts started the brightest, threatening on a number of occasions, but it was through Boavista’s Sebastian Perez, volleying in from the edge of the box, that the game would find its first goal in the 28th minute.

Braga hit back via Fransérgio, providing a powerful header from Nico’s Gaitan’s cross, meanwhile a second-half red card for Jackson Porozo complicated matters even more for the visitors, struggling to contain the Arsenalistas.

Braga persisted and, alas, were rewarded for their determination in the 82nd minute, with the ball falling kindly to Andraž Sporar inside the box to claim a winner for Carlos Carvalhal's men.

 

Portimonense 1-5 Benfica

Defeat to Gil Vicente had Benfica saying their goodbyes to their title hopes, but there’s still second place to fight for and third place to protect, warranting a response away to Portimonense.

The team from Portimão were the first to strike, thanks to the on-song Beto in the 42nd minute, but Benfica were quick to chalk the effort off with a goal of their own before the break, provided by a composed Pizzi.

Powering his way through five minutes after the restart, Darwin Nuñez placed Benfica ahead for the first time in the encounter before Haris Seferovic amplified the visitors’ lead in the 64th minute.

Seferovic, in an intense battle for the golden boot with Sporting’s Pedro Gonçalves, was at it again in the 73rd minute, tapping home from Alex Grimaldo’s cross, meanwhile the finishing touches to Benfica’s 5-1 win fell to Everton Cebolinha, signing out with a 94th-minute finish into a semi-occupied net after rounding the keeper.

 

FC Porto 1-0 Vitória

A big game for Porto became even bigger after Sporting dropped two potentially crucial points in the hunt for the title, prior to the Dragons hosting Vitória.

The visitors were able to shut out the favourites for much of the first half, conceding only a rare sighting of goal to Mehdi Taremi in the 20th minute, stopped by Bruno Varela in goal.

Marega was on hand to ease the tensions somewhat coming into the second half, however, fighting off pressure one-on-one to fire into the top corner on his left foot. The Malian striker was the danger-man again in the 68th minute, coming close to renewing his joy against Varela prior to the ex-Benfica man’s save.

Porto’s hunt for a second goal almost ended late on through Francisco Conceição’s effort from a tight angle, diverted onto the bar by a dubious Mumin block, but a 1-0 advantage is all ‘the Blue and Whites’ needed to move two points closer to Sporting in the far-from-concluded league table.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 28

P. Ferreira 0-2 Farense

Santa Clara 0-0 Moreirense

Maritímo 1-0 Rio Ave

Sp. Braga 2-1 Boavista

Sporting 2-2 Belenenses

Tondela 2-1 Nacional

Gil Vicente 0-3 Famalicão

Portimonense 1-5 Benfica

FC Porto 1-0 Vitória

Comments (11)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ooooooooh boy. We are indeed in for a tight title race! I had mentioned it weeks ago, although not entirely convinced it would happen. Unfortunate for Sporting not to get the win against B-SAD and have their penalty saved, but this is football....

Ooooooooh boy. We are indeed in for a tight title race! I had mentioned it weeks ago, although not entirely convinced it would happen. Unfortunate for Sporting not to get the win against B-SAD and have their penalty saved, but this is football. My beloved Benfica must continue with winning ways to ensure they clinch that 3rd place and get through to the Champions League. It'll be nice next season to (hopefully) see the Three in the CL.

Sporting has a TOUGH schedule up ahead. Aside from having to play Braga and Benfica away from home, they have to play Rio Ave and Boavista who are fighting to keep their places in the 1st division. Not mention the other fixtures are Maritimo and Nacional, which thankfully for Sporting are both at the Alvalade and not Madeira. Both Nacional and Maritimo are in the drop zone but their fates aren't sealed yet, meaning they'll be battling just as hard to stay up as Sporting is to win the title.

2 days ago, I watched FC Koln beat RB Leipzig. Not only did it give a glimmer of hope to Koln, it almost entirely confirmed Bayern to win the title again. Never underestimate the will of teams trying to avoid relegation, it can make for interesting results and scenarios.

That being said, kudos to Sporting for still remaining undefeated. Coates is already a Sporting legend, so many clubs could use a centre back like him. Weeks ago, I felt as though Sporting deserved the title more than anyone this year, and I (maybe) still think that. They've got a young, exciting team, and I always have a soft spot for teams that have bright Portuguese talent in their squads.

I think there is a serious possibility that Porto may end up as champion. Let's see if Amorim and his team are able to end the almost 20 year domestic league drought!

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Porto's due for a draw and a possible L at Benfica with the way the team has been winning games, so spot Sporting four additional points. With that said, Sporting can afford to lose two and draw one. A tall order considering the team's recent...

Porto's due for a draw and a possible L at Benfica with the way the team has been winning games, so spot Sporting four additional points. With that said, Sporting can afford to lose two and draw one. A tall order considering the team's recent form of late. I wouldn't count Benfica out quite yet. JJ may still pull it out especially with two wins against his chief rivals. Wouldn't that be something? If Sporting blow this, which will likely happen, then I'm done. Screw it. I cannot root for this team anymore, and I have Sporting tattooed on my chest, smfh!

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Congratulations on Porto winning the league...

Honestly if Sporting don't win the league, I don't think I can master the mentality to ever watch any of their leagues game every again.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Sporting will be CAMPEÃO.
If they aren’t, it’s because of people like some of
The posters here and elsewhere with their negative attitude.

If more Sportinguistas were like me, Sporting would be more successful as a club. Since I am quite...

Sporting will be CAMPEÃO.
If they aren’t, it’s because of people like some of
The posters here and elsewhere with their negative attitude.

If more Sportinguistas were like me, Sporting would be more successful as a club. Since I am quite successful in my career and romantic life, I do not need a winning football club to bring me joy. Sporting is a life long passion. Nobody expected them to be here at this stage if the season. I love Sporting but if we don’t win the league I can still comfort myself with my fleet of sports cars, closet full of custom made suits, bulging bank account, beautiful Italian wife half my age, and plethora of sugar babies on the side.

I disagree with the person who said Sporting has a harder schedule than Porto. If Sporting beats Braga then Porto actually has the harder schedule the rest of the way.

Sporting had a comfortable lead at the top and let some
Of it go but this only means they will be more motivated to close out the remaining games.

The way Sporting came back against Belenenses to preserve their unbeaten record , for me, showed they remain likely to scoop the league title. They came back in a game where everything went against them, Belenenses scored on their first shot, Scp missed a penalty kick, Adan who has been terrific all season made a once in a career keeper mistake, and Sporting still fought back. Yes they scored a goal from a penalty but Belenenses president even said the calls were correct. Sporting penalties are only given if they are clear and obvious.

I will provide a guarantee: if Sporting does not win the league, you will never see the legendary Z (already banned from another well known soccer forum) post again here!

#ondevaiumvãotodos

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Sporting better win then, for I only come here to laugh at your BS.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Btw, it was I who impersonated you as -Z-. So if you leave, I will carry on the tradition of the -Z- by trolling the sh*t out of Andre and Chris!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Classic.

Utterly insane, but classic.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

LOL!

Z the legendary troll inspiring lesser trolls to fame!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hello everyone...Long time follower on this site. Been a long time since I have commented but I do like reading everyone's comments. I am a diehard benfiquista and will not get into the disappointment this season has been. So so disappointing...

Hello everyone...Long time follower on this site. Been a long time since I have commented but I do like reading everyone's comments. I am a diehard benfiquista and will not get into the disappointment this season has been. So so disappointing haha...Hopefully we can play well enough to hold the 3rd place spot. I have grown up to not like the big rivals as every diehard fan of their respective club...but I respect what Sporting have done this year and think they deserve to win. If Porto somehow comeback and take this thing I'll be shocked....Sporting are notorious for dropping points 2nd half of the season so maybe it's just happening at the worst time. Whatever happens...its been one crazy year and look forward to seeing how this one ends. Happy that Santa Clara has managed to play well this year and if they are able to jump over Guimaraes into 6th by the end thatd be cool to see... Also hope to see Boavista hang on and stay in the top flight. I love this game and enjoy the agreements and disagreements in the comments section with you all. Maybe I'll chime in with you all more often. Enjoy the evening everyone! SLB BABY! ;-)

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It seems like Braga vs Sporting will be a do or die game for Amorim's men where a victory will be a huge boost to their confidence and morale and a defeat or a draw can prove to be disastrous, especially if Porto wins, since Sporting will have to...

It seems like Braga vs Sporting will be a do or die game for Amorim's men where a victory will be a huge boost to their confidence and morale and a defeat or a draw can prove to be disastrous, especially if Porto wins, since Sporting will have to be perfect from then on, considering Conceicao has already succeeded at playing difficult catch-up games, that's even more pressure on the team. Would nice to see Sporting win the league after so many years tho. I really hope Braga doesn't get the third place since that would mean them fighting for a Champion's League spot. I'd rather see Benfica fighting to qualify for the round of 16 than Braga fighting for the third place in the group.

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Huge result yesterday. Grinding out a 1-0 while being down to ten men for the majority of the game. There’s still a few games to go but this was absolutely crucial in hopes of winning the title and congrats to Sporting for getting the win.

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