Edition 1484
21 July 2018
Edition: 1484

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FC Porto crowned champions of Portugal

by Chris Wright, in Sport · 10-05-2018 15:59:00 · 0 Comments

FC Porto have won the Primeira LIga title for the first time since 2013 ending Benfica’s four-year winning streak. FC Porto were crowned champions on Saturday evening after the Lisbon derby ended in a goalless draw meaning that neither Benfica or Sporting could catch them.

FC Porto crowned champions of Portugal

Immediately after the final whistle had blown at the Alvalade, the party started three hundred kilometres to the north and will no doubt continue for weeks to come.
The Eagles 0-0 draw with Sporting leaves them second going into the final round of fixtures tomorrow. An important position as it guarantees them a qualifying spot for the Champions League.
The teams who finish third and fourth will enter the Europa League and will miss out on the huge money bonus that Europe’s elite competition offers. Porto headed into their penultimate game of the season with Feirense knowing they had already wrapped up the title being four points clear of both their challengers with one game to go.
Even so they still took home all three points after beating Feirense 2-1 to give them the Primeira Liga title in style. 
A stage was set up outside Estádio do Dragão and after the game the players, still in their kits and bedecked with scarves, were hailed by their jubilant fans.
There were cannons shooting confetti, flares being let off and even a car covered in Porto print with the theme of the evening, ‘Campeoes Nacional 2017/18’.
Earlier the celebrations had begun inside the stadium as Porto lifted the trophy and then the players threw their boss Sérgio Conceição skywards multiple times as they recognised his outstanding contribution throughout an excellent campaign.
It was also goalkeeper Iker Casillas first trophy for the club after his transfer from Real Madrid in the summer of 2015. There is no doubt that the person most responsible for ending Porto’s lengthy trophy drought is coach Sérgio Conceição.
The former Portugal international winger started his managerial career at SC Olhanense six years ago and more latterly was in charge of French club Nantes.
He took over at Porto after several coaches had failed to make an impression, including Nuno Espirito Santos who recently took Wolverhampton Wanderers into the English Premier League.
Moreover, UEFA’s financial fair play rules had taken their toll, forcing the Dragons to sell star striker André Silva to AC Milan and they were also forbidden from spending in the transfer market.
Conceição’s motivational skills re-ignited the sleeping ‘dragon’ and, unable to dip into the transfer market, the coach recalled several Porto players who had been sent out on loan, with Vincent Aboubakar (recalled from Besiklas), Ricardo Pereira (back from Nice) and Moussa Marega (short journey from Vitória Guimarães) all having the best season of their careers. Sérgio Conceição is an inspired tactician and has used players in surprising positions, such as Ricardo at right-back and right-wing, Miguel Layún as a central midfielder and centre-back Diego Reyes in midfield.
He switches between different formations 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 depending on the opposition and player availability. Porto did not lose any of their four matches against title rivals Benfica and Sporting, beating each team once and drawing the reverse fixture; in addition they beat SC Braga home and away. The victory over Sporting at the Dragão in March effectively knocked the Lions out of the race, while the recent win against Benfica in front of a packed Estádio da Luz was the key result of the championship race.
Attention now turns to the foot of the table where Estoril, V.Setúbal, P.Ferreira, CD Feirense and Moreirense are in danger of relegation to the Segunda Liga. Madeira outfit CD Nacional will be playing Premiera Liga football next season along with either Académica or Santa Clara (Azores). 

 

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Edition 1484
21 July 2018
Edition: 1484

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

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