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