Porto took sole lead of the standings with James Rodriguez in the spotlight after rival Benfica dropped two points.
Benfica wasn’t able to follow Porto’s victory and lost two points in Coimbra, falling behind in the standings. The ‘Águias’ didn’t get more than a 2-2 draw from Académica de Coimbra, amid protests against the referee.
Despite protesting the referee’s performance, Benfica was unable to resolve the match on its own. Either inability or too much aim haunted the strikers early on. Cardozo hit the crossbar in the fourth minute and the post before the break, and Rodrigo also hit the upright. In between, Académica got the edge from the penalty spot.
Cardozo scored from the spot-kick in the sixth minute of the second half but Académica would gain the lead once again.
It took Lima to come off the bench and tie the scoreboard when Benfica had 10-men Académica on the ropes. Recently signed from Braga, Lima scored for the first time and granted Benfica the chance of leaving Coimbra undefeated.
Braga beats Rio Ave, snaps skid
Following two defeats in the domestic league and the UEFA Champions League, Braga’s manager proceeded with several changes in the line-up, freeing the team’s strategy and balance.
Looking to reverse the trend, Braga took charge of the match against Rio Ave early on, but managed to score only before the break, through Éder. The visitors equalised in a poor effort by Braga’s keeper to stop a free-kick, but Amorim, Éder and Custódio capitalised the home team’s dominance.
James Rodriguez takes centre stage
FC Porto’s Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez is claiming his place as the club’s new star following Hulk’s departure. Rodriguez was once again the focal point of Porto’s 4-0 win over Beira-Mar on Saturday.
James assisted the second goal scored in the first half, while scoring the third early after the break. His two goals and one assist in four league games are far from revealing the full impact James is having, acting as the sparkplug needed to turn some matches around.
Porto sits on top of the standings with 10 points, two more than Benfica and three over Braga.