Holders Braga also knocked out
The round-of-16 of the Portuguese Cup served up an entertaining set of matches and several noteworthy results. The standout tie between bitter rivals FC Porto and Benfica produced a typical fiercely fought and incident-packed Clássico, with three goals in the opening half hour giving the Dragons victory.
Two second-tier teams, Mafra and Rio Ave beat Primeira Liga outfits Moreirense and B-SAD respectively, holders Braga were knocked out by Vizela, and Sporting had to come from behind to overcome Casa Pia. PortuGOAL rounds up the action.
31 seconds. That’s how long it took Porto to open the scoring against Benfica, with Evanilson firing in from close range. With half an hour gone the home fans in a packed Estádio do Dragão were in dreamland as the hosts elevated their lead to 3-0 thanks to an audacious finish by man-of-the-match Vitinha and another goal by Evanilson. In keeping with tradition when it comes to this fixture, bad tackles, flailing arms and a heavy dose of play-acting were all part of the fare, with Evanilson and Otamendi seeing red cards. An unusual number of goals ruled out by VAR for marginal offside decisions added to the sense of mayhem. The two teams will do it all again in one week’s time in a Primeira Liga encounter.
Jorge Jesus set to leave Benfica
This result adds to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Benfica coach Jorge Jesus. In recent days speculation has been rampant that the charismatic manager is about to return to Flamengo, with representatives from the Brazilian club in Lisbon openly publicising the fact they made the trip to contract a coach. Jorge Jesus himself, and Benfica, have done little to quash the speculation, quite the opposite, and another defeat for the Eagles next week will surely see JJ make a return to Rio de Janeiro.
Elsewhere, perhaps most impressive result was Mafra beating Moreirense 3-1. Although Mafra are one of the better teams in Portugal’s Liga Two and top-flight Moreirense are struggling, when the visitors took the lead and then Mafra had a player sent off, an upset did not appear on the cards. However, goals from Bura, Pedro Barcelos and Andrezinho saw the hosts run out 3-1 victors and put Mafra into the quarterfinals of the Portuguese Cup for the first time in their history.
Rio Ave also beat a side from the top division, with the team from Vila do Conde – well-placed to make a swift return to the Primeira Liga – edging out B-SAD in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.
Spectacular Moreira strike sends Braga packing
Another surprise occurred at Vizela where a stunning long-range shot into the top corner by Nuno Moreira early on proved the winner against last season’s cup winners Braga. Carlos Carvalhal’s side ended the match with 9 men after Abel Ruiz and André Horta were sent off.
Estoril made the semi-finals of the Portuguese Cup last season as a second-division side and are going well this year in the top division, but Tondela were too strong for the club from the Lisbon coast. Despite falling behind early on, Tondela came back to win 3-1.
Current Portuguese champions Sporting also had to come from behind to make the last eight. Jack Grealish lookalike Jota Silva added to his burgeoning reputation by smartly heading Segunda Liga club Casa Pia into an early lead, but goals by Sebastián Coates and Pablo Sarabia turned it around for Sporting.
Two other ties were decided by penalty shootouts after 1-1 draws. Leça won the battle between the two lowest-ranked teams, beating fellow fourth-tier outfit Paredes, while Portimonense added to what has been a miserable season for Famalicão, the Algarve team coming through despite playing almost all of the second half and extra time a man down following the sending-off of goal-scorer Aylton Boa-Morte.
Full fifth-round results
FC Porto 3-0 Benfica
Leça* 1-1 Paredes
Tondela 3-1 Estoril-Praia
Rio Ave* 1-1 B-SAD
Casa Pia 1-2 Sporting
Vizela 1-0 Braga
Mafra 3-1 Moreirense
Famalicão 1-1 Portimonense*
*Won on penalties
by Tom Kundert