The enforced interruption of this season’s Portuguese championship finally ended this week, with the Primeira Liga resuming for the 14th round of matches after a six-week break owing to the World Cup.
Porto and Sporting wasted no time in getting back into the swing of things with convincing home wins against Arouca and Paços de Ferreira respectively.
Casa Pia meanwhile continued their sensational season, winning at Portimonense to stay in the leading pack.
Porto 5-1 Arouca
One man dominated Porto’s thumping victory over Arouca. Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi hit a fine hat-trick and was involved in the other two goals as Sérgio Conceição’s men swept aside their fellow northerners.
It was a festive atmosphere at the Estádio do Dragão as Porto president Pinto da Costa celebrated his 85th birthday, with almost half of his life spent as the supremo of the Blue and Whites.
Otávio gave the home side the lead in the very first minute with a somewhat fortuitous goal, Arruabarrena’s save from Veron’s effort hitting the Portugal midfielder and looping back over the Uruguayan goalkeeper into the net.
Porto doubled their lead on 18 minutes with Taremi showing brilliant awareness to cleverly dummy the ball, peel off his marker and apply the clinical finish from Veron’s pass.
The Iranian was on fire and completed his hat-trick with goals either side of half time, first showing good strength to shake off his marker and strike past Arruabarrena, then pouncing with an opportunist effort. Taremi’s cross was then turned past his own goalkeeper by Jerome Opoku, with Arouca scoring a late consolation goal through Bruno Marques.
Sporting 3-0 Paços de Ferreira
The Lions continued their recent run of good results, making it 5 straight victories since the World Cup interruption to the regular season, in a run that has seen Sporting score 21 goals and concede none.
As happened in many of their Taça da Liga games, Sporting had got the job done by half time.
The home fans were celebrating after just three minutes, Pedro Porro heading in Nuno Santos’ cross, although Paços goalkeeper Jordi Martins will not want to watch the replay, the Brazilian making a complete hash of what should have been a routine save.
Midway through the half Sporting doubled their lead via a well-worked counter-attack. Pedro Gonçalves played in Marcus Edwards, who in turn laid on a perfect pass for Nuno Santos to stroke the ball home.
The game was over moments before the break as Paulinho dived to head in a sumptuous Pedro Porro cross.
The only negative for Sporting was a late red card for Dário Ussugo after a rash challenge, spoiling what had otherwise been a fine display by the 17-year-old deputising for the suspended Manuel Ugarte.
Portimonense 1-2 Casa Pia
Casa Pia resumed their remarkable campaign – their first in the top flight for 83 years – with another victory, this time in the Algarve against Portimonense. A deflected free kick from Ângelo Neto and a dramatic stoppage-time headed winner by Carnejy Antoine gave the Lisbon minnows their 8th victory in 14 Primeira Liga matches.
Elsewhere, Gil Vicente showed more evidence of an uptick in form under new coach Daniel Sousa with a 1-0 home victory over Santa Clara thanks to a Murilo Souza goal, while Rio Ave and Marítimo played out a 1-1 draw.
The match of the round takes place tomorrow evening with leaders Benfica travelling to Braga.
by Tom Kundert