Sporting have edged themselves a little closer to the Primeira Liga title after defeating ten-man Nacional da Madeira with two late goals at Alvalade, this Saturday, securing a 2-0 victory.

The Lions were made to work hard for their three points in a return to winning ways on home soil as a Jovane Cabral goal and assist sunk Nacional in the final ten minutes of the game, reinstating a six-point advantage at the top of the table. 

Porto initially put the pressure on Sporting after defeating Famalicão 3-2 at the Estádio do Dragão, cutting the gap between themselves and the top to just three points before the table-toppers’ win over Nacional.

Benfica also landed themselves a victory, defeating Tondela 2-0 away from home ahead of next week’s clássico at home to Porto, providing a potentially pivotal moment in the title race.

Elsewhere, Sporting de Braga succumbed to back-to-back defeats after last week’s disappointment at home to the league leaders Sporting, clocking up their eighth defeat of the season that threatens to kill off their top-three hopes.

 

Tondela 0-2 Benfica

Sitting somewhat pretty in mid-table, Tondela’s new-found comfort in the Primeira Liga was potentially good news for Benfica, looking to rake in points with as little desperation from the other end as possible.

Following a positive start from Jorge Jesus’ men, Everton provided a killer ball for Pizzi to latch onto at the far-post in the 12th minute, with the Portuguese midfielder completing the move with a cute finish back the other way.

Everton grabbed the limelight with Benfica’s second just seven minutes later, leaving Tondela semi-exposed on the break before cutting in on his favoured right foot and taking aim, with success, at the far corner.

Coming into the second period, the best moments belonged to the hosts, with Mário Gonzalez wasting a glorious opportunity to finish Salvador Agra’s goal-bound cross. The likes of Haris Seferovic and Pizzi threatened to add to Benfica’s two-goal lead later on, but a couple of first-half goals were enough to secure the Eagles all three points.

 

FC Porto 3-2 FC Famalicão

Following the disappointment in midweek against Moreirense that left Porto trailing Sporting by two further points, huge pressure was launched on the Dragons’ shoulders to bounce back against a re-emerging Famalicão side.

With the hosts’ forwards combining, Toni Martinez was quick to place Sérgio Conceição’s men a goal up against his former club, volleying hard and low from Mehdi Taremi’s headed assist.

Porto’s lead wouldn’t live to see the half-time interval, however, with ex-winger Ivo Rodrigues stunning Augustin Marchesín with a dipping free-kick in the 44th minute.

The ex-club narrative resumed in the second half with Diogo Queirós raising his leg high to strike Taremi inside the box and concede a penalty in his old home, enabling the latter to stick away a second from the spot and place Porto back in front.

Marko Grujic’s towering header in the 75th minute cemented the hosts’ victory before Anderson’s stoppage-time consolation goal, registering a 3-2 win for the title hopefuls.

 

Sporting 2-0 Nacional

With first and last place facing off at Alvalade, the stakes were sky-high between Sporting and Nacional, both desperate for points fit for alternative purposes.

A hard-fought half, involving plenty of fouls, was edged by Sporting, registering chances from the likes of Paulinho and Pedro Gonçalves, but neither of the Lions’ front men could tip the balance en route to a completely goalless first half.

Nacional continued to tot up the fouls, proving costly for Alhassan, sent off on the hour-mark to give Sporting, spurred on by more Paulinho-Pote combinations, a numerical advantage going into the final 23 minutes of the game.

With emotions once again running high for the league leaders, hunting down a winner, the hero’s cape was donned by Feddal in the 83rd minute, turning in Jovane’s cross with his head inside a packed Nacional box.

Jovane added the finishing touches to an otherwise stressful night and take much of the glow onto his own name, earning a penalty deep in stoppage that he'd later convert, bagging a man of the match performance and a precious 2-0 win for Rúben Amorim’s boys. 

“It was another day where Sporting fans had to suffer, but all ended well,” said Sporting coach Rúben Amorim post-match. 

 

Marítimo 1-0 Sp. Braga

Having lost narrowly to Sporting in midweek, Braga risked drifting away indefinitely from their top three hopes with anything but a win away to Marítimo.

A tame first half ended with a scare for Carlos Carvalhal’s outfit, coming inches away from conceding on the brink of half time after Edgar Costa’s half-volley cannoned off the top of the crossbar.

As Braga struggled to really break down their opposition, the killer blow, claimed by Joel Tagueu the other end, finally came in the 76th minute after the ex-Cruzeiro man’s stroke into the bottom corner inside the box.

Again, Braga’s attack stood muted on the other side of the pitch, handing the Arsenalistas back-to-back 1-0 defeats.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Matchday 30

Marítimo 1-0 Sp. Braga

P. Ferreira 1-0 Belenenses

Vitória 2-0 Moreirense

Tondela 0-2 Benfica

FC Porto 3-2 FC Famalicão

Gil Vicente 0-0 Farense

Portimonense 0-0 Rio Ave

Santa Clara 3-3 Boavista

Sporting 2-0 Nacional

 

Comments (7)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

2 wins and 1 draw left

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Final moments of the season. Quite unusual for a team to get so far ahead as well as Benfica and Porto’s off form moments for so long. Couple that with sportings lack of European competition and all the ingredients for a perfect storm were there....

Final moments of the season. Quite unusual for a team to get so far ahead as well as Benfica and Porto’s off form moments for so long. Couple that with sportings lack of European competition and all the ingredients for a perfect storm were there. To Sportings credit they seized it perfectly. Despite their hiccups in this rear end of the season they managed to amass a large enough lead to keep their opponents at bay. League wise they were consistent enough to be first!

As for Porto, although technically not out yet, I hold the dear hope of Benfica possibly managing to overtake them. For that to happen I need them to lose! Haha.


Braga unfortunately as always can’t muster to keep pace all season long. With that said they had a good season and continue to grow. Perhaps a few years down the line they’ll be more consistent challengers and shake up our league interest even further.

Relegation race is on. So many teams still in the running! Should be interesting!!

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I love the excuses being made to justify Sportings form.

30
Games undefeated.
The best defence in the league . Tactically , they are one of the best teams ever in this league.

Btw , ASD tried to screw sporting against Braga and this referee...

I love the excuses being made to justify Sportings form.

30
Games undefeated.
The best defence in the league . Tactically , they are one of the best teams ever in this league.

Btw , ASD tried to screw sporting against Braga and this referee missed two penalty calls in sportings favor in the first half . In fact, one of them (kick on Paulinho) was similar to the one given the other day for Porto for Diogo Queiros (former Porto youth player ) kick on Cairemi.

Porto had been really good this season in pressuring the referees and they are excellent divers . So it isn’t over yet.

I think for next season , in addition to replacing the multi-colored Chairs in Alvalade, they should fill up that moat around the field with water for when Porto visits. They can practice their diving in the warmup before the game.

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Can't believe I'm going to say it, but I agree with your first point 100%. Sporting earned and fought for every single result they have gotten this season.

It's not down to Porto and Benfica underperforming, it's down to how hungry, talented...

Can't believe I'm going to say it, but I agree with your first point 100%. Sporting earned and fought for every single result they have gotten this season.

It's not down to Porto and Benfica underperforming, it's down to how hungry, talented and well managed they have been.

As for the Porto diving and your other accusations, I'll be the first to admit Sergio can be petulant and I've been very critical of his and some of the player's behaviour. But the flip side is that it helps galvanize the team and as a result, Porto has also been very good domestically and excellent in Europe as a result.

Two sides to the coin.

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Hi Chris,

I can agree with you here as well. Conceicao does well to motivate his players.
Porto definitely had a great campaign in the champions league.

Sporting being in first has little to do with Porto and benfica being in “bad form” . The...

Hi Chris,

I can agree with you here as well. Conceicao does well to motivate his players.
Porto definitely had a great campaign in the champions league.

Sporting being in first has little to do with Porto and benfica being in “bad form” . The club is undefeated. They would be title
Challengers in any season with this form.
You do not go 30 games undefeated without doing something right.

Sporting probably isn’t as strong as a vintage 2011 or 2003/2004
Porto side but they are well coached and most importantly , the team is very united and the collective spirit has been very strong.

Defensively, they are definitely one of the best potential league winning sides I’ve seen. I’ve been following the league since the 90s. Most winning teams do it because of overpowering offensive quality (I.e Mario Jardel, benfica sides over the last decade ).

It’s good to talk football with fans who followed Portuguese football before CR7z

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I think it is also important to point out the key signings and call ups from the Sporting academy. Luis Neto is a quality journeyman centre back who would be a good addition to any backline. Picking up Adan on a free transfer. Getting Tabata...

I think it is also important to point out the key signings and call ups from the Sporting academy. Luis Neto is a quality journeyman centre back who would be a good addition to any backline. Picking up Adan on a free transfer. Getting Tabata and Nuno Santos from smaller Portuguese clubs as well as Pedro G.

I think Varandas has been a quiet genius the last little while and deserves credit for his work and keeping a low profile. Hopefully, Sporting can get some reinforcements over the summer and make ways in the Champions League.

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Hi Chris,

Yes those signings were all important and done cheaply. It’s one of the few times I remember where Sporting had a good transfer market with few flops.

I am happy with Varandas work but unfortunately many sportinguistas do not seem to...

Hi Chris,

Yes those signings were all important and done cheaply. It’s one of the few times I remember where Sporting had a good transfer market with few flops.

I am happy with Varandas work but unfortunately many sportinguistas do not seem to support him so I wouldn’t be surprised if they derail the clubs future again and vote him out .

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