With the top of the Primeira Liga table nicely-crammed with contenders, FC Porto did the honours of getting the ball rolling this week with a 4-1 victory home versus Portimonense, consolidating top-spot before their final UEFA Champions’ League encounter.

Both Sporting de Braga and Benfica followed the table-topper’s win with triumphs of their own, albeit by the minimal 1-0 advantage over Tondela and Vitória de Setúbal, respectively, as Marcel Keizer’s Sporting geared up to receive Desportivo das Aves on Sunday night.

The Dutchman’s bright start to life in Lisbon gained more traction as the Lions, despite going down to ten men, stacked up on the goals once more to defeat Aves 4-1 at the Alvalade. PortuGOAL brings you more from Matchday 12:

 

FC Porto 4-1 Portimonense

There was a very warm welcome on the cards for one of Porto’s former stars, as Jackson Martinez lined up for Portimonense in their hope to cause an upset at the Estádio do Dragão. The Colombian was involved in the build-up for the opener which saw Shoya Nakajima lift a cross towards Vítor Tormena, with the defender making no mistake inside the box when powering a header in from the back-post in the 9th minute.

Porto then saw Yacine Brahimi’s equaliser on the volley chalked off in the 16th minute, courtesy of the distraction posed by Héctor Herrera from an offside position, reserving Moussa Marega to right to make it 1-1 in the 22nd minute when glancing Alex Telles’ corner into the far-post. 

Tiquinho Soares edged the hosts closer to the lead with a left-footed strike in the 34th minute, on the counter, being dragged just wide, as the two sides entered the half-time break locked at 1-1. Porto altered the score in their favour just before the hour-mark, however, as Marega directed Brahimi’s cross towards goal on the volley before Soares could anticipate the effort for a simple tap-in.

Brahimi took centre stage once more in the 59th minute after a marauding run up-field from Danilo Pereira enabled the Algerian playmaker the time and space to cut inside from the left to slot in the Dragons’ third of the night.

Only after VAR’s review did Porto hit four for the night through Marega in the 63rd minute, as the Malian pounced on Eder Militão’s deflected header to turn in a volley in front of goal and clinch a 4-1 win for his side.

 

Tondela 0-1 Sp. Braga

Still in touch with the leader of the pack before Matchday 12 started, Braga’s mission was now to maintain that look away to Tondela after Porto’s comprehensive win at home to Portimonense.

The hosts started brightest with a goal ruled out for offside inside the first 25 minutes, but Abel Ferreira’s side were able to rectify the mood on the half-hour mark through Wilson Eduardo, smashing in a low first-time volley from the edge of the box that would require the post’s help to find its way in. 

Having taken a 1-0 lead into the break, Tondela still emerged the more threatening of the two sides, as Xavier worked the Braga goalkeeper with a solid effort for the hosts from range before it was met with a good save.

‘Os Arsenalistas’ would ride the wave and eventually secure their 1-0 victory at the Estádio João Cardoso, placing them back within three points of first place.

 

Vit. Setúbal 0-1 Benfica

In another game of huge importance for Rui Vitória and his team, Benfica were out to remain close to this week's victors versus mid-table Setúbal at the Bonfim.

Controversy reared its head early as calls for a handball on Jardel inside the box were waved away in the 5th minute, with Setúbal’s luck later compounded by the Eagles’ opener 12 minutes later. 

Invading the space on the left-hand-side of the box, Gedson Fernandes’ left-footed cross was able to find its way to Jonas, who’d open the scoring with a first-time finish back across Cristiano’s goal.

Andrija Zivkovic almost made it 2-0 with a volley from outside the box directed at the bottom-right corner, where the Serbian’s effort would crash against the outside of the post in the 29th minute to keep things at 1-0 before half-time.

Benfica dominated the chance creation in the second period, as Rafa Silva came close on two occasions. The inability to put the game to bed opened up space for a late Setúbal surprise, which Jhonder was keen to provide with an 88th minute header at goal, but Odisseas Vlachodimos found himself well-positioned to deny the hosts and secure a 1-0 win.

 

Sporting 4-1 Desp. Aves

It has more or less been plain-sailing lately for Sporting and their new manager, Keizer, since the Dutchman’s first day on the job but Aves, authors of the great cup final shock versus Sporting back in May, were keen to stun the Green and Whites once more.

After a positive start, Rodrigo Defendi plugged his team ahead in the 17th minute with a headed finish from a free-kick, as the Lions failed to connect play for majority of the first period. Sporting were offered the opportunity to change the course of the game in the 40th minute, however, as Vítor Costa struck Abdoulay Diaby with an outstretched leg inside the box to enable Bas Dost, from the spot, to equalise. 

Light shun on the Lions once more just before half-time when Nani’s strike at goal took a wicked deflection, looping in over the goalkeeper to turn the game on its head, despite their struggles.

The hosts were back at it with the goals coming into the second half, as Bruno Fernandes nabbed assist number two of the night with a left-footed cross directed at Dost’s head, who’d make no mistake in the 47th minute to find a third.

A second yellow card for Marcos Acuña promised to complicate Sporting’s night but the joys in front of goal kept coming, with the Lions making it 4-1 through Diaby’s placed finish in the 60th minute, concluding a 4-1 score-line and pushing Sporting back to being within two points of Porto at the top.

By Patrick Ribeiro

 

Matchday 12

FC Porto 4-1 Portimonense

Belenenses 1-0 Chaves

Tondela 0-1 Sp. Braga

Vit. Setúbal 0-1 Benfica

Moreirense 0-1 Santa Clara

Nacional 0-0 Boavista

Vit. Guimarães 3-2 Rio Ave

Sporting 4-1 Desp. Aves

 

Monday 10th December

Feirense vs. Marítimo

Comments (5)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Only caught the second half of the Porto game but once the second goal went in it was pretty much game over. They haven’t played like that since last season. Marega scores a lot of goals for such a limited player. Playing Corona at RB is working...

Only caught the second half of the Porto game but once the second goal went in it was pretty much game over. They haven’t played like that since last season. Marega scores a lot of goals for such a limited player. Playing Corona at RB is working out but you have to wonder whats going on with Joao Pedro. Alex Telles and Brahimi have obviously been reading my comments as both put in good performances.
Galatasaray away could be a nightmare tmoro – no Militao, Otavio or Corona. What a game for Diogo Leite to step back in on! Hope Andre Pereira gets some minutes.

PORTO!

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"Marega scores a lot of goals for such a limited player". Talk about the definition of a back-handed compliment. Like when you go see your family after a few months and they say you're looking "mais forte" or "healthy". We all know what that...

"Marega scores a lot of goals for such a limited player". Talk about the definition of a back-handed compliment. Like when you go see your family after a few months and they say you're looking "mais forte" or "healthy". We all know what that means.

Dude, rail on about the EPL and Mourinho all you want, but admit Marega is better than you give him credit for. He scores goals with his feet and head. He runs at defenders with the ball at his feet. He is strong and fends the ball off of defenders. He plays as a quick and incisive winger. He is far from "limited". And he works harder than any other Porto player. Give him his dues.

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Chris, my man, I have no problem with Marega I just think he is technically limited as a player. His first touch and control can be bad especially when in tight situations. That is all. I cheer just as loudly when he scores as when any of the...

Chris, my man, I have no problem with Marega I just think he is technically limited as a player. His first touch and control can be bad especially when in tight situations. That is all. I cheer just as loudly when he scores as when any of the other players score.
I also don't think the Porto squad is limited. It is limited in the full-back positions but otherwise I think Sergio has options and its quite a balanced squad.
As for Brahimi I think he hasnt quite been at the same levels as he was last season, consistently. That is all.
I feel the same about Telles tho I have also wondered if he's been asked to be a little more cautious by Sergio.
They are top of the Liga on merit and fully deserve to be.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like Marega a lot. He pissed me off over the summer with this "Maybe I can force a transfer to the EPL" nonsense, but Sergio straightened him out quickly.

Since then, he's been incredible. I'd like to see...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like Marega a lot. He pissed me off over the summer with this "Maybe I can force a transfer to the EPL" nonsense, but Sergio straightened him out quickly.

Since then, he's been incredible. I'd like to see Diogo Leite and Andre Perreira get some more playing tie and get better as well.

Agreed, we've been weak on RB since we lost Ricardo.

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Oh and I agree with the Joao Pedro comment. The guy was touted quite highly, would have been nice to see him at least play once.

Brahimi though, is almost always a solid performer. He's very talented so when you see him not dribbling past 5...

Oh and I agree with the Joao Pedro comment. The guy was touted quite highly, would have been nice to see him at least play once.

Brahimi though, is almost always a solid performer. He's very talented so when you see him not dribbling past 5 defenders it seems like he is off. Even on his "lesser" performances, he is still invaluable because he retains possession and allows us to maintain a lead comfortably and keep pressure off our defenders.

Another thing, I see a lot pf people on this website (not just you Nick), talk about how Conceicao is working miracles with a limited squad. Can we please really look at this Porto squad? It's pretty freaking great.

Brahimi is a great player, always on the shortlist for African player of the year.
Otavio is a fantastic creative mid who scores goals.
Alex Telles is the best LB in Portugal for the last 2-3 seasons.
Felipe is a very good defender who flies under the radar cuz he's a bit dirty at times.
Danilo is the best DM in Portugal, and one of the best in Europe.
Oliver Torres is a fabulous midfielder who has finally started performing to his ability in the last 2 seasons.
Marega is a workhorse who scores goals and creates a ton of chances.
Militao is rookie of the season. Marcano who??
Casillas was never a favourite of mine but has made me eat my words, top GK.
Aboubakar is injured, but a consistent goalscorer and consistent shortlister for African player of the year.
Jesus Corona is a brilliant winger and technical player.
Herrera is not the most technical player, but the heart of a team.

On the bench we have:

Jorge, a highly touted left back who was making waves at Monaco
Sergio Loiveira, who is really underrated in my book. A good midfielder who scores goals and works hard.
Andre Pereira, a very promising young Portuguese striker.
Diogo Leite, a tall, solid, promising Portuguese CB.
Mbemba, a solid CB from Newcastle that everyone, including Conceicao, have forgotten about.

Can we please stop calling this Porto squad "limited"? They are top of their CL group with one game left to play against a solid group. Limited teams don't accomplish that.

Cheers.

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“I’ve got a lot to learn from Pep Guardiola, in the way he pressures referees, the way he talks to opposition players, as well as the opposition dugout. He’s a fantastic example to follow. I have to learn this. Today we were authentic angels compared to the other dugout.”

Sérgio Conceição
(FC Porto coach vents his anger after clashing with Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola) 

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