Having endured a longer break than most, the Portuguese Primeira Liga finally marked its comeback last weekend with defending champions FC Porto kicking off proceedings at the top versus Vitória de Setúbal.

The Dragons, away at the Bonfim, claimed a 2-0 victory to apply pressure on the leaders of the pack, and Benfica replicated Porto’s success to also defeat Desportivo das Aves 2-0 at home and top the table by a point.

The tie of the round came at the Estádio Municipal, where Sporting de Braga would host Sporting and eventually feed the Lions their first loss of the season, as Dyego Sousa’s second-half goal helped his side onto a narrow 1-0 win. PortuGOAL brings you up to speed with the race at the top.

 

Vit. Setúbal 0-2 FC Porto

In a fixture that has seen Vitória fail to register a single victory versus the Dragons, Porto took just 16 minutes to put the trend in motion through Vincent Aboubakar, picking up Maxi Pereira’s scraps inside the box to fire his side 1-0 up with a low strike.

The hosts never lost hope, however, with Valdu troubling Iker Casillas in the first half with an acrobatic effort before following that chance up with a goal shortly after the half-time interval, before the VAR stepped in to chalk it off for handball in the build-up.

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

With the result still on a knife edge, Sérgio Oliveira missed the chance to double Porto’s lead when one-on-one with Joel Pereira, whereas Vitória’s Frédéric Mendy, albeit from an offside position, couldn’t find the target when following up Hildeberto Pereira’s fierce strike from range.

It was from distance in the 78th minute that Porto would eventually decide the game, with Sérgio Oliveira’s free-kick catching Pereira by surprise when dipping low under his body, as a 2-0 win placed the visitors at the top of the table momentarily.

 

Benfica 2-0 Desp. Aves

New faces, both familiar and fresh, fueled Benfica’s reception of Aves at the Estádio da Luz, as their talisman Jonas made a return to the first-team squad via the bench and 18-year-old João Félix earned his first start for the club.

Rui Vitória’s gamble on the young playmaker paid off, as Pizzi spotted Félix’s run into the box in the 33rd minute to assist the first goal of the game, courtesy of a cool finish by the highly rated teenager.

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

Eduardo Salvio was unlucky not to have amplified the scoreline before half-time, with the Argentine cutting in on his left foot inside the area before bending his effort onto the far post.

For all of Benfica’s dominance in the first period, Aves looked to keep Odisseas Vlachodimos busy following the restart, but the visitors’ appetite for goal was soon scribbled over by Franco Cervi’s deflected strike in the 61st minute, betraying Quentin Beunardeau between the sticks and doubling the hosts’ lead.

Only the bar denied Jardel from adding to the score in the 80th minute with a towering header, as a 2-0 victory placed Benfica in first place.

 

Sp. Braga 1-0 Sporting

In a meet-up between Abel Ferreira and José Peseiro, once together as player and manager at Alvalade, Braga and Sporting concluded Matchday 5 in a direct tussle for the top spots.

The affair in the first period proved to be open, but one with little more than Nani’s glancing header in the 35th minute, palmed away expertly by Tiago Sá, to reflect on, as both sides remained locked at 0-0 going into the interval.

[To watch highlights of the match click on the screen below]

Sporting‘s Bruno Fernandes drafted the headlines in his mind in the 64th minute when being found open inside the box by Nani’s cross, but the number 8 could only graze the near-post when cutting in to angle a shot, with Raphinha also in support.

Straight up the other end, Eduardo’s low cross evaded both Sebastian Coates and Stefan Ristovski to find Dyego Sousa, who broke the deadlock with a first-time finish in the 68th minute.

The Lions would find no way through, as Raphinha came close from range before Jovane Cabral lost in his battle versus Sá late on after a tremendous run, with a 1-0 victory for Braga catapulting the northern outfit up to second place in the league table.

By Patrick Ribeiro

 

Matchday 5

Boavista 1-2 Chaves

Santa Clara 1-3 Rio Ave

Marítimo 0-0 Belenenses

Vit. Setúbal 0-2 FC Porto

Tondela 2-0 Moreirense

Feirense 0-0 Nacional

Benfica 2-0 Desp. Aves

Portimonense 3-2 Vit. Guimarães

Sp. Braga 1-0 Sporting

Comments (4)

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Another terrible Liga performance. If they give away that many chances to Benfica they will be handed their asses in a francesinha. Sergio really needs to sort this out. From what I can see too many players are underperforming at key moments -...

Another terrible Liga performance. If they give away that many chances to Benfica they will be handed their asses in a francesinha. Sergio really needs to sort this out. From what I can see too many players are underperforming at key moments - Herrera looks a shadow of himself. Danilo was fire-fighting on his own for long periods as those around him went missing. Also there is far too much diving instead of trying to outclass opponents by superior play.
Marega has been worked out as the one-trick pony he is – teams sit deep which means Marega’s pace (his only weapon) is useless. Maybe they should have sold him whilst they could get good money and give Andre Pereira more starts. Andre can link up the midfield/attack and has better close ball control. Time to bench a few players and give the others a go or a tactical re-think.

I really hope Eder Militao has a HUGE buyout clause in his contract.

PORTO!

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Nicky J, take it easy chief! Wow, I thought I was a pessimist but you're making me look like Tony Robbins. It wasn't Porto's greatest performance, but they got the result. I agree with some of your assessments. A lot of the players took it...

Nicky J, take it easy chief! Wow, I thought I was a pessimist but you're making me look like Tony Robbins. It wasn't Porto's greatest performance, but they got the result. I agree with some of your assessments. A lot of the players took it easy and were not trying enough, such as Brahimi, Herrera and Otavio.

But how can you slander Marega? He was arguably our best player last season. This "one-trick pony" argument about him doesn't fly with me. Yes, he has pace, but he also has strength and while he's no Messi, he's a good enough dribbler to act as a winger. He set up the first goal. The guy is an excellent part of the team. His attitude was an issue but when he plays, we are more threatening. I do like Andre P though and hope he can alternate into the starting line-up as well.

Other positives, Sergio Oliveira subbed on and immediately changed the complexion of the game. Militao was majestic. I would like to see him and Diogo Leite start together to build chemistry. I love Felipe, but he can be a bit violent at times. I would also like to see Joao Pedro and Jorge rotated into the squad. Both came with some hype so I'd like to see what they can do.

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I’m not a pessimist I’ve just notice a drop in performance levels for certain players and it shows. It was similar to the Schalke game and I almost had a similar opinion of that one but figured since the opposition was tougher they deserved...

I’m not a pessimist I’ve just notice a drop in performance levels for certain players and it shows. It was similar to the Schalke game and I almost had a similar opinion of that one but figured since the opposition was tougher they deserved respect for battling on but a few Liga performances haven’t been good enough this season so this was my first negative comment!

I know Marega was great for us last season but he IS a little one-dimensional and if denied space isn’t very effective, however I’m aware Sergio likes him cos he works hard and will defend so ok. I guess maybe I have high expectations and when he’s quiet I notice it. Another worry is Alex Telles is spending a little too much time diving and hasn’t looked as effective – the FB positions need competition.
I hope I’m wrong but is there a touch of post Liga-Champions laziness creeping in? Sergio has looked really pi**ed off most of the games from what I’ve seen of him.

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Yeah, I'm just busting your chops. I agree, they have looked a bit disinterested in some games. The Schalke game was massively disappointing for me. They should have won that game easily. They were very quiet but when they turned it on, they...

Yeah, I'm just busting your chops. I agree, they have looked a bit disinterested in some games. The Schalke game was massively disappointing for me. They should have won that game easily. They were very quiet but when they turned it on, they had some quality chances to finish.

As mentioned, I think rotating Joao Pedro and Jorge into the starting line-up would actually be a good thing. They are very well-regarded players, we need to see them fight for positions.

I forgot to mention, seeing Danilo back has made me so happy. He is my favourite Porto player and when we have him on the field, we become a much more solid team and are difficult to break down.

Herrera's contract is up this year and there are rumours that Flop-etegui wants him at Real and may try to get him for a free-transfer. He needs to step it up again. I do think we have another natural leader in Sergio Oliveira though, so hopefully some of these guys can push the team to really give it all.

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