Sporting manager Jorge Jesus has had a miserable run-up to Christmas with three defeats in the last four games, culminating in a home defeat by SC Braga. Benfica continued their relentless pursuit of another Primeira Liga title with a narrow victory at Estoril whilst FC Porto came from behind to beat GD Chaves.
Sporting were knocked out of the Champions League by Legia Warsaw, beaten 2-1 by Benfica in the league, squeezed unconvincingly past Vitória de Setubal in the Portugal Cup and then suffered the ignominy of losing to Braga.
Just as significant, for the first time since Jesus marched into the club eighteen months ago, the fans turned on his team, roundly booing the players off the pitch, with a number of the 42,148 in attendance waving white handkerchiefs.
It was an unhappy 500th game in the top flight for Jesus and leaves his team eight points behind arch-rivals Benfica.
Former Olhanense striker Wilson Eduardo grabbed the all-important goal three minutes from time to move ‘Os Arsenalistas’ into third place above Sporting.
Benfica eased past Estoril Praia thanks to a sixtieth minute strike from Raul.
The Eagles’ fans look set to lose yet another of their rising stars as Manchester United are confident of signing Victor Lindelöf.
United scouts have made regular checks on the 22-year-old defender but Mourinho is aware that other European clubs are also tracking the Sweden international and wants to sign him now rather than wait until the summer.
Benfica would rather keep Lindelöf after qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League and are demanding €45m for a player who has emerged as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe since moving to Portugal from Swedish club Vasteras in 2012.
FC Porto moved to within a point, having played a game more, of Benfica as they notched up their fourth consecutive victory.
GD Chaves took a surprise lead after just twelve minutes as Rafa found the back of the net but the Dragons scored twice, through Depoitre and Danilo, in a six-minute period midway through the second-half to secure all three points.
Teams will enjoy a Christmas break, before returning to Liga action on 7 January, while teams like Benfica will enjoy very few festivities as they are to play three League Cup fixtures either side of New Year as they seek to qualify for the semi-finals and final of the competition, which will be played at Faro Stadium at the end of January.