Edition 1442
23 September 2017
Edition: 1442

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Sporting go top as Benfica slip

by Chris Wright, in Sport · 31-08-2017 13:16:00 · 0 Comments

Sporting and FC Porto snatched narrow victories against Estoril and SC Braga respectively, as Benfica could only draw with Rio Ave who have confounded pundits with their fantastic start to the season.

Sporting go top as Benfica slip

Following their 5-1 emphatic Europa League play-off victory in Romania, against Steaua Bucharest, the Lions returned to Lisbon where 45,000 fans packed into the Avalade to welcome their heroes for the Primeira Liga game with Estoril.
Two goals to the good inside ten minutes indicated that Estoril were there for the taking.
Gelson Martins got on the end of a superb Acuña cross to open the scoring, then Bruno Fernandes smashed home a stunning free-kick.
The visitors refused to panic with Brazilian pair Allano and Lucas Evangelista working hard to repair the damage. Even so, it was Estoril keeper Moreira who had to save well from Acuña and Bas Dost to avoid a first-half rout.
The second period was drawing to a close when Evangelista pulled a goal back for Estoril with a long range rocket into the top corner. In a dramatic finish, it appeared Bas Dost had settled the match, but his headed goal was correctly ruled out by the video referee for
offside.
Estoril then thought they had equalised in the final moments of stoppage time but their celebrations were cut short when the VAR again intervened to disallow the goal for offside.
FC Porto new boss, Sérgio Conceição, has got his side – comprised largely of the same players as last year – playing fast flowing, dynamic and aggressive football, much to the delight of the Dragon fans. Jesus Corona gave Porto an early lead which proved to be the only goal of the game against SC Braga at The Quarry. In four Primeira Liga games, Conceição’s side has yet to concede a goal.  
SC Braga were always second best apart from a fifteen minute spell before the interval, but having played Benfica and Porto in their first four matches and having safely negotiated two opponents to reach the Europa League group phase, the Arsenalistas will be reasonably pleased with their start to the season.
Rio Ave continued their fantastic start to the season by holding champions Benfica to a draw as Miguel Cardoso’s men played the better football for the first hour and deservedly took the lead when Lisandro Lopez put through his own goal.
A penalty earned and converted by Jonas drew Benfica level. The Eagles could have snatched all three points late on were it not for excellent saves by Cassio from Seferovic and Jimenez. Defeat would have been tough on the hosts, Rio Ave, who remain in the leading pack on ten points, level with Benfica and two points behind Sporting and Porto.
After two straight defeats at SC Braga and Rio Ave, the Algarve’s only Primeira Liga team, SC Portimonense were hoping to return to winning ways as they entertained Marítimo on Monday night but two crucial decisions by referee Vítor Ferreira and his team conspired to deny the home side, at least, a share of the points.
Firstly the islanders can think themselves extremely lucky that Everton received only a yellow card for his reckless challenge on Lucas midway through the first-half.
Fifteen minutes later, Bruno Tabata was clearly tripped in the box by Fábio Pacheco but once again the referee chose to turn a blind eye. Marítimo then took the lead in the seventieth minute through Edgar Costa.
Pires slotted home the equaliser for Portimonense just four minutes from time, but to add insult to injury Ricardo Valente grabbed the winner for Marítimo in the second minute of stoppage time.

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Edition 1442
23 September 2017
Edition: 1442

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

Twitter