Edition 1488
18 August 2018
Edition: 1488

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Benfica shock as FC Porto edge towards title

by Chris Wright, in Sport · 03-05-2018 15:54:00 · 0 Comments

The Eagles opportunity of securing their fifth successive Primeira Liga title all but evaporated as they suffered a shock home defeat to Tondela.

Benfica shock as FC Porto edge towards title

FC Porto negotiated a difficult trip to Marítimo with a late victory and now need just a point from their remaining two games to take Benfica’s crown.
Sporting also required a late goal to win at Portimonense and could now finish second if they overcome Benfica in the final Clássico of the season at the Alvalade on Saturday.
Benfica got off to a flying start against Tondela who had never previously beaten the Lisbon side.
Rafa’s pull back found Pizzi with space just inside the box and the midfielder managed to squeeze his shot just inside the near post. The hosts pressed on before a long-range pass from Tondela’s David Bruno picked out Miguel Cardoso who found himself one-on-one with Bruno Varela.
The former Benfica youth player coolly lobbed the keeper to level the score after half-an-hour. Cardoso then gave the visitors the lead just eight minutes later as he picked up the scraps from a long throw to rifle a half-volley into the back of the net. Substitute Salvio then missed a golden opportunity to restore parity early in the second half when firing Douglas’ low cross over the bar from a prime position.
Tondela goalkeeper Cláudio Ramos starred throughout for the visitors, with poor finishing also responsible for maintaining Tondela’s lead.
Matters went from bad to worse for Benfica with a third goal through Tomané, leaving Rui Vitória’s men little more than ten minutes to turn around a 3-1 deficit.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, with the Estádio da Luz half empty, Eduardo Salvio pulled a goal back but it was too little, too late to deny Tondela a famous victory and all but destroy Benfica’s title hopes.
Following Benfica’s defeat to Tondela, FC Porto had a golden chance to edge themselves within touching distance of the title with a win away to Marítimo - a triumph that had evaded the Dragons in each of their last six visits to Madeira.
In a cagey first-half Sérgio Conceição’s side were handed a numerical boost on the brink of half-time when Amir Abedzadeh’s last-man challenge on Tiquinho Soares saw the Iranian keeper red carded, and reducing Marítimo to ten men.
Despite their numerical advantage the visitors were unable to pierce a resolute Marítimo defence until the eighty-ninth minute.
An Alex Telles corner on the left saw Marega rise above a static Marítimo defence to head firmly past substitute keeper Charles Silva.
Ten men quickly became nine, with VAR’s help, after Ruben Ferreira upended Gonçalo Paciência as he raced through on goal.
The 1-0 victory leaves FC Porto a fingertip’s touch away from collecting their first Primeira Liga title since 2013.
Sporting had to battle hard to overcome a resolute SC Portimonense at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão.
Rodrigo Battaglia came close to giving the visitors the lead after just two minutes with a back-post header that was well saved by Navacchio.
Twenty minutes later Bruno Fernandes gave the Lions the lead as he raced onto Bas Dost’s knock-down to flick the ball over the keeper.
Portimonense, despite being under the cosh, levelled matters just prior to the break when Fabrício finished with aplomb. Sporting’s search for a winner took them right through to the eighty-ninth minute, clinching victory with an inspired Bruno Fernandes’ volley which flew into the bottom-left corner of the net.
The win sees Jorge Jesus’ men match his former club’s second place, with a route into next season’s UEFA Champions League now at stake in the final Clássico of the season on Saturday.

 

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Edition 1488
18 August 2018
Edition: 1488

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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