The águias’ victory gives Porto the lead ahead of an eventful round.
Benfica beat (then) leader Braga 2-1 at Estádio da Luz and took an important step in the chase for the first place, which wound up in FC Porto‘s lap again.
Braga set out to defend the league’s leading position it had taken hold of one week earlier, but Benfica came pressuring out of the gates forcing the ‘minhotos‘ into a counter attack position. Despite having control of the match, Benfica wasn’t able to overcome Braga‘s organised defence and used long shots to pester the opposing keeper.
The second half would finally open up the scoreboard as neither club could afford losing points. Benfica scored first, benefiting from a spot-kick on the 78th minute that Witsel did not let go to waste. Hugo Viana responded five minutes later through a free-kick, which Artur let go by and left-back Elderson nudged in.
Proving that nothing is over until the fat lady sings, Bruno César took Benfica’s final efforts and his well placed shot nested into the side netting of Quim‘s goal.
The outcome of the match proved to be even more crucial as one hour earlier, Porto had regained (conditionally) the top of the standings, through a 2-0 win over Algarve‘s Olhanense. Lucho González and James Rodriguez were the only players capable of overcoming opposing goalie Luciano‘s inspired performance.
With the combination of results, Porto is once again leading the pack one point ahead of Benfica and two over Braga. Marítimo continues to steer one point over Sporting Lisbon in the two final spots that qualify for UEFA competitions.
Next round will feature a Braga-Porto match-up, and the always action-packed Lisbon derby with Sporting hosting Benfica.
(Photograph: José Sena Goulão/EPA/Lusa)