liga news - 2006



Benfica beat Belenenses 4-0 Thursday in what was the last Liga game of 2006, and also the 'first' of the season: the match had been postponed from Jornada 1 because of the Gil Vicente affair, which saw Gil relegated instead of Belenenses.

The 4-0 scoreline was immensely flattering to Benfica; they were not so superior, and Belenenses were not at all a soft touch. What stood between Belenenses and a more realistic result was a goalkeeper, Quim, on the top of his form, producing a series of excellent saves, notably from Sandro Gaúcho and Dady (on several occasions). Benfica were in front on 19 minutes, captain Simão rifling in a spot kick after Gaspar had handled (a harsh decision as it looked like ball against arm). Just before the break, Karagounis got a second, his free-kick deflecting off the wall and in. On 52 minutes, Mexican striker Kikin Fonseca got his first Liga goal (and possibly his last – he seems likely to be leaving the club in the transfer window), heading in after a Karagounis cross was headed down. And the count was completed with Katsouranis ballooning in a header from a Simão free-kick.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Léo, Katsouranis; Karagounis (Beto 70), Simão (João Coimbra 84), Nuno Assis, Kikin Fonseca (Manu 81), Nuno Gomes.

Belenenses: Costinha, Gaspar (Roma 65), Rolando, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Sandro Gaúcho, Eliseu, José Pedro, Ruben Anorim, Dady (Sousa 87), Silas (Pinheiro 88).
With the Big Three all playing away from home on the 13th jornada, the
attendance figures for Liga games were very poor: a total of little over 30,000, meaning an average per game of around 3,500. One of the reasons for poor attendances has been given as the high prices of tickets, with the current national minimum salary being around 400 euros.

The Liga takes a Christmas break now, returning in three weeks' time.


Fourth-placed Sporting Braga lost ground to Benfica Monday, drawing 2-2 at home to northern rivals Boavista. José Carlos headed in from a João Pinto free kick on the hour, and just before the break Hélder Rosário deflected the ball past his own 'keeper to give Braga a 2-0 lead, but there was still time before the oranges for José Manuel to pull one back after Paulo Santos could only parry a Linz shot. It was the Austrian striker who got the equaliser from close range on the hour, and that's how the score remained. In the last 15 minutes, first Boavista's Grzelak and then Braga's João Pinto, playing against his former club, were sent off for second yellow cards.

There was trouble between rival fans at half time, and several arrests were made.


FC Porto strolled to an impressive 4-0 home victory over normally difficult Paços de Ferreira Sunday. Quaresma swung a free-kick into the heart of the Paços defence on 25 minutes for central defender Pepe to rise and head home. It was the same Quaresma that supplied the second goal, this time from a corner: Pepe got a head to it, the ball came off the bar and Hélder Postiga was on hand to crash it in. On 68 minutes, Pepe knocked in from another Quaresma corner, and three minutes from time, Quaresma, once again, found Lucho González at the back post and the Argentinian midfielder made no mistake with his head.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe (Ricardo Costa 73), Bruno Alves, Marek Cech, Ibson (Bruno Moraes 46), Raul Meireles, Lucho Gonzalez, Lisandro Lopez (Vieirinha 67), Ricardo Quaresma, Hélder Postiga.

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Primo, Geraldo, Tiago Valente, Antunes, Dani (Pedrinha 60), Paulo Sousa, Elias, Edson, Ronny (Cristiano 55), Didi (Renato Queirós 74).

Naval returned to their winning ways with a 2-1 win at home to Uniâo de Leiria. União it was that went in front through Paulo César on just two minutes. Naval left it until the last twenty minutes to turn the game around, but they did, through Lito and Orestes.

Beira-Mar's game against Nacional was decided in a 5-minute period halfway through the second half: Bruno Amaro put the Maderian visitors in front, and Mário Jardel gave bottom club Beira-Mar a precious point from the spot.

Estrela da Amadora beat Desportivo das Aves 1-0 with a goal after just eight minutes by Edu Silva.


Sporting did enough Saturday to take the three points from a lively Académica at Alvalade. Liedson, back to the goals after a dry period, got the only one of the game on 27 minutes, from a loose ball after Pedro Roma appeared to have been fouled by Tonel as he came out to punch. Liedson 'got' a second five minutes from time, but it was rightly disallowed for offside.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira (Abel 58), Tonel, Miguel Veloso, Ronny (Custódio 71), Paredes, Nani, João Moutinho, Tello, Liedson, Bueno (Alecsandro 68).

Académica: Pedro Roma, Paulo Sérgio, Danilo, Kaká, Lino, Roberto Brum (Gelson 60), Alexandre (Dionattan 69), Nestor, Miguel Pedro (Gyano 45), Ndoye, Filipe Teixeira.

Sporting's Lisbon rivals Benfica also won at home, but this time by a much more comfortable margin, 3-0, against struggling Vitória de Setúbal, who have not won now in 11 games and are hovering dangerously above the relegation zone. Benfica got an early lead from Nuno Gomes on 13 minutes following a defensive error. They were only able to breather more easily, however, on 63 minutes with a shot from captain Simão, while Nuno Assis put the result beyond doubt four minutes from time. Benfica climb provisionally to third, ahead of Sporting Braga who play Boavista on Monday. Benfica play their game in hand against Belenenses, postponed from the first day of the championship, on Thursday.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Léo, Karagounis, Katsouranis (Beto 90), Nuno Assis (João Coimbra 90), Fonseca (Manu 84), Nuno Gomes, Simão.

Vitória de Setúbal: Nélson, Janício (Lourenço 63), Veríssimo, Auri, Nandinho, Sandro, Madior, Binho (Julien 63), Varela, Mbamba, Amuneke.


Belenenses surprised high-riding Marítimo Friday, beating them 4-1 in Madeira. Silas put Belenenses in front on just nine minutes, and José Pedro made it two before the break. Twenty minutes into the second half, the team from Lisbon were four-up, with goals from Eliseu and José Pedro again, this time from the spot. Lipatin got a consolation for Marítimo on 68 minutes. The result takes Belenenses into 7th, just two points behind Marítimo in 5th.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, José Gomes (Kanu 46), Gregory, Alex, Evaldo, Olberdan, Filipe Oliveira, Neca, Marcinho, Mbesuma, André Barreto (Lipatin 46).

Belenenses: Costinha, Gaspar, Rolando, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Sandro Gaúcho, Ruben Amorim, Cândido Costa (Eliseu 58), Silas (Amaral 87), José Pedro, Dady (Manoel 73).


FC Porto maintained their five-point advantage over Sporting (11 over Benfica, who have a game in hand, and Sporting Braga) by beating Nacional 2-1 in Madeira on Monday. Nacional went one-up on 37 minutes, Juliano beating Pepe on the left and squaring the ball for José Vítor to knock it in. Porto struggled against a resilient Nacional, but were on level terms after 72 minutes in a virtual replica of the Nacional goal, Bruno Moraes knocking in from a Quaresma pass. It was Quaresma again who fed captain Lucho González just two minutes from time, the Argentinian midfielder cracking the ball into the top left hand corner from the edge of the area.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Bruno Basto, José Vítor (Luciano 89), Bruno Amaro, Chainho (Cléber 70), Pateiro, Juliano, Rodrigo.

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho Gonzalez, Paulo Assunção (Ibson 70), Raul Meireles (Bruno Moraes 46), Lisandro Lopez (Alan 75), Hélder Postiga, Ricardo Quaresma.

Sporting kept within realistic touch of the leaders, beating Vitória de Setúbal 3-0 on Saturday. Liedson returned to his goal-scoring ways with two, the other coming from Nani.

Coach Fernando Santos' call for three wins before the Christmas break went unheeded as Benfica could only muster a 0-0 draw at tricky Naval on Sunday.

Sporting Braga missed the chance to go clear third ahead of Benfica, going down 0-2 at Belenenses on Friday. Silas put the Blues in front after just two minutes, and Braga struggled to shake off the shock. Ruben Amorim confirmed the points on 77 minutes.

Other significant scores at the weekend included Boavista's drubbing of 'red lantern' Beira-Mar on Saturday, keeping the Aveiro side well and truly bottom; coach Carlos Carvalhal has summed just one point in his four games in charge. There were two goals from the Polish winger Grzelak and one from top scorer Linz for a Boavista side playing their best football for a long while, Grzelak and midfielder Essame shining.

Marítimo went fifth with a 2-1 win at Académica on Sunday. Mbesuma got two to give the Madeiran side a comfortable lead until Gyano reduced it ten minutes from time.

União de Leiria continued to consolidate their position near the top (6th, one point behin Marítimo) with a 1-0 win at Desportivo das Aves, Sougou finishing off an Éder pass on the hour. Aves remain in trouble at the bottom.

Estrela da Amadora stole a point at Paços de Ferreira. They took the lead on the half hour through Jaime, but Edson equalised on the stroke of half time.


FC Porto stretched their lead at the top to five points over Sporting, beating local rivals Boavista 2-0 at the Dragão. Quaresma and Hélder Postiga were on target in the second half, Quaresma's goal coming from an awful fluff by ´keeper Khadim, who thought he could shepherd a weak shot for a goal kick, but it grazed the post and went in.

In a thrilling match, a Sporting Braga inspired by on-form João Pinto took the spoils from Académica, 4-2. Académica went in front after just three minutes through Lino, Cesinha equalised on nine, Paulo Jorge put Braga in front after a quarter of an hour, and Litos equalised five minutes from time. It was all set for a ding-dong second half, but Braga proved too strong for Académica, and goals from João Pinto and Fréchaut before the hour was up sealed the win.

Marítimo continued their upward climb, beating Vitória de Setúbal in Madeira with a single goal from Lipatin on 67 minutes.

Desportivo das Aves got a rare win, 2-0 over Naval, Artur Futre and Felipe Anunciação with second-half goals.

Estrela da Amadora won by the same margin, also with second half goals, from Jaime and Tiago Gomes.

Belenenses travelled to Aveiro and beat bottom club Beira-Mar 2-1 Saturday, thanks to first half goals from José Pedro and Dady. Leitão pulled one back on 50 minutes.

High-flying União de Leiria could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Paços de Ferreira.


Benfica, in third, closed the gap on Sporting to four points by beating them 2-0 at Alvalade on Friday. FC Porto have a chance to go five points clear of Sporting if they can beat Boavista at the Dragão on Saturday.

Benfica, oozing confidence ahead of their vital Champions League game in Manchester on Wednesday, put the pressure on from the start and went in front on three minutes, central defender Ricardo Rocha beating Anderson Polga at the near post to crash in a header from a Simão Sabrosa corner on the left. Sporting came to and returned the pressure, but Benfica's defence was in form and proved impenetrable. On 36 minutes, the defence once again blocked Sporting's progress, and on the break, Miccoli found Simão on the right, the captain breezing past Custódio and firing a low cross shot past Ricardo. It could have been even worse for Sporting, Miccoli hitting the bar with a glorious shot from outside the area just before the break, but the teams went in with the score at 0-2. Benfica resolutely defended their lead in the second half, and Sporting's quest for a turnaround was further weakened with the sending off of Polga on 80 minutes, for a second yellow. Benfica's Nuno Gomes went with a direct red for a challenge on Moutinho three minutes later.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Miguel Garcia, Tonel, Polga, Tello, Custódio (Djaló 46), Nani, João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Carlos Martins 46), Carlos Bueno (Alecsandro 66), Liedson.

Benfica: Quim, Nelson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Leo, Katsouranis (Karagounis 89), Petit, Nuno Assis (Beto 92), Simão Sabrosa, Nuno Gomes, Miccoli (Paulo Jorge 68).


There will be 600 police officers on duty in and around Sporting's Alvalade XXI stadium for the derby against Benfica Friday.



Sporting Braga cimbed to third in the table after a 2-1 win at Vitória de Setubal Monday. Paulo Jorge gave them the lead on the stroke of half time, but M'Bamba equalised just after the break. It was left to a penalty from Wender ten minutes from time to give Braga the points. Braga's Ricardo Chaves was sent off on 89 minutes for a second yellow.

The teams lined up:

Vitória de Setúbal: Nelson, Janício, Hugo (Flávio 56), Auri, Nandinho, Julien (Mário Carlos 46), Sandro, La Paglia (Labarthe 73), M'Bamba, Varela, Amuneke.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge, Nem, Carlos Fernandes, Vandinho, Ricardo Chaves, Maciel (Cesinha 9), João Pinto (Castanheira 77), Wender (Gama 88), Zé Carlos.

FC Porto and Sporting, 1 & 2 in the Liga, had 1-0 away wins Sunday.

Porto had an easy time of it at Belenenses and notched up their fourth straight win with a goal a little before half time from top scorer Hélder Postiga, with seven to his name so far this season.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Marco Gonçalves, Gaspar, Rolando, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Sandro Gaúcho, Rúben Amorim (Cândido Costa 62), José Pedro, Silas, Roma (Eliseu 56), Manoel (Dady 73).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Paulo Assunção (Ibson 45), Lucho Gonzalez, Raúl Meireles, Lisandro Lopez, Hélder Postiga (Bruno Moraes 69), Ricardo Quaresma (Alan 85).

Sporting had a tougher time of it at Naval in Figueira da Foz and only came away with the spoils with a cracking free-kick two minutes from time by sub Ronny. Naval's Carlitos was sent off on the stroke of time for a second yellow.

The teams lined up:

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Fernando, Carlitos, Fajardo (Pimenta 73), Orestes, Gilmar, Saulo (Tiago Fraga 83), Nei, Lito.

Sporting: Ricardo, Miguel Garcia, Tonel, Polga, Tello, Carlos Martins (Rony 73), Custódio (Romagnoli 61), Nani, João Moutinho, Alecsandro (Bueno 61), Liedson.

Nacional jumped to fifth with a 2-1 home win over in-form União de Leiria, who the Madeiran side overtake. Alonso put Nacional ahead before the break, but if União thought they were back in it on 73 minutes with a Sougou header, they were disappointed three minutes later when Bruno went on a mazy run into the heart of the União defence and coolly planted the ball home.

Académica were one-nil down at home to Beira-Mar on 33 minutes through a Jorge Leitão goal, but Litos put the game level before half time and N'Doye and Gyano finished the game off early in the second half. Académica edge to safety, while Beira-Mar remain second from bottom.

Bottom club Desportivo das Aves remain there after losing 0-2 at Paços de Ferreira, who haven't lost at home for ten months. Edson and Primo, one in each half, did the damage. Paços climb into the top half of the table.


Benfica returned to their winning ways after defeat at Braga to beat Marítimo 2-1 at the Luz. They went in front with an own goal by Alex from an indirect free kick on the half hour, but Marcinho, with a great solo effort, put the Madeiran side back level just before the break. Marcinho went from hero to zero five minutes into the second half, getting his marching orders with a direct red for a foul on Simão. Down to ten, Marítimo were temporarily down to nine on 66 minutes, Kanú off injured, when Katsouranis hit home the winner from a Simão cross. Benfica move into third, six points behind FC Porto and four behind Lisbon rivals Sporting. Marítimo are in 6th, three points behind Benfica.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Anderson, Ricardo Rocha, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis (Manu 85), Nuno Assis (Karagounis 61), Simão, Miccoli (Mantorras 50), Nuno Gomes.

Marítimo: Marcos, Zé Gomes, Alex Schwedler, Gregory, Evaldo, Wénio, Olberdan (André Barreto 82), Luís Olim, Filipe Oliveira (Neca 74), Marcinho, Kanu (Moukouri 67).


Boavista could only manage a point against lowly Estrela da Amadora at a mud-bath of a Bessa Stadium Friday, in the opening game of the 11th jornada. Estrela went in front on 12 minutes through a Jaime header, Ricardo Sousa giving the home side a point on the hour. Estrela climb out of the relegation zone to third from bottom, while Boavista are 10th.


Sporting kept within two points of FC Porto at the top of the Liga Sunday with a 1-0 win at Marítimo. Chilean defender Tello scored the only goal from a free-kick on 63 minutes. The Madeiran side had a chance to equalise, but Kanu from the spot allowed Rui Patrício, making his début for Sporting, to save; justice was done, as the foul by Polga on Marcelinho was outside the area.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, José Gomes (Moukouri 76), Gregory, Schwedler, Evaldo, Luís Olim (Lipatin 76), Wénio, Olberdam (Neca 82), Filipe Oliveira, Marcinho, Kanu.

Sporting: Rui Patrício, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Tello, Custódio, João Moutinho, Nani (Caneira 91), Carlos Martins (Paredes 72), Bueno (Alecsandro 60), Liedson.

FC Porto had kept top spot on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Académica in front of around 30,000 at the Dragão. Hélder Postiga put Porto in front on 50 minutes, Nestor Alvarez equalised for Os Estudantes on 77 and central defender Pepe headed the winner from a corner on 84.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Marek Cech, Raul Meireles (Alan 79), Jorginho (Bruno Moraes 46), Lucho Gonzalez, Ricardo Quaresma, Lisandro Lopez (Ibson 53), Hélder Postiga.

Académica: Pedro Roma, Nuno Luís, Kaká, Litos, Lino, Roberto Brum (Paulo Sérgio 63), Pavlovic, Hélder Barbosa (Nestor Alvarez 56), Dame, Filipe Teixeira (Sarmento 63), Miguel Pedro.

Benfica fell 1-3 at Sporting Braga, also on Saturday, and drop to 6th. It was Rogério Gonçalves' first game in charge at Braga, and he couldn't have got off to a better start. Zé Carlos gave Braga the lead as early as the 8th minute after a poor clearance by Benfica 'keeper Quim. On 31 minutes, a goalkeeping error at the other end by Paulo Santos gifted Ricardo Rocha the equaliser. Four minutes from half-time, another mistake, this time Nélson losing the ball in midfield, the ball eventually falling for Maciel who was too quick for the Benfica defence. Braga's defender Paulo Jorge put the result beyond doubt on 81 minutes with a header from a free-kick.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge, Irineu, Carlos Fernandes, Andrés Madrid, Ricardo Chaves (Frechaut 86), João Pinto (Wender 53), Maciel, Zé Carlos (Castanheira 70), Cesinha

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Anderson, Ricardo Rocha, Miguelito, Petit, Katsouranis (Karagounis 46), Nuno Assis (Paulo Jorge 71), Simão, Miccoli, Nuno Gomes

Elsewhere on Sunday, União de Leiria missed the chance to be on their own in third place in the Liga with a 0-0 draw at home to Boavista. As it is, they are on 17 points, the same as Braga, eight points behind Porto. The [extremely dull] game was watched by around 1,000 in one of the 30,000-capacity stadiums built for Euro 2004.

Paços de Ferreira drew 1-1 at home to Naval, who remain in 7th. Edson put Paços in front just before the break, with Saulo equalising on 69 minutes.

Desportivo das Aves pulled off the surprise result of the day with a 3-1 win over Nacional. Aves were on down on 26 minutes, an own goal from Filipe Anunciação, but rallied well and went in at the break on level terms after Artur Futre had scored on 41. Futre got a second on the hour, and Vítor Manuel clinched the three points on 85.

Beira-Mar drew 1-1 at home to Vitória de Setúbal on Friday, both goals coming in the home stretch. Ratinho put the home side in front on 72 minutes, with Varela giving Vitória a point on 84.


Various Vitória de Setúbal players, including goalkeeper Marco Tábuas and forward Mário Carlos, were involved in tussles with fans after the home defeat to FC Porto Monday. The players were apparently insulted as they left the changing room and responded angrily.

The Liga has a two-week pause now for international matches.


FC Porto remained top of the Liga with a 3-0 win at Vitória de Setúbal Monday. The game was more or less decided after just six minutes, Lisandro heading in a Quaresma cross and then Postiga finding himself unmarked for the second. A quarter of an hour from the end, Quaresma hit a direct free kick in to complete the scoring, but it could have been much worse for Vitória without the work of their 'keeper Nélson.

The teams lined up:

Vitória de Setúbal: Nélson, Janício, Auri, Veríssimo, Bruno Ribeiro, Binho, Julien (Russiano 78), Mário Carlos (Lapaglia 31), Lourenço (Mbamba 46), Varela, Amuneke

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fucile (Cech 80), Paulo Assunção, Lucho González, Jorginho, Lisandro López, Postiga (Bruno Moraes 74), Quaresma

Sporting had just as easy a time of it earlier in the evening, beating a disappointing Sporting Braga 3-0, helped by two first half own goals from Luís Filipe and Nem, the defenders being pressured by Alecsandro on both occasions. Alecsandro did get the third on 63 minutes, heading in from a Tello corner, although 'keeper Paulo Santos claimed that it hadn't crossed the line. Braga central defender Nem was sent off seven minutes from time for a second yellow.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira (Abel 31), Tonel, Polga, Tello, Farnerud (Nani 60), Custódio, João Moutinho, Alecsandro (Miguel Veloso 73), Yannick, Liedson.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Irineu, Nem, Pedro Costa, Vandinho (Frechaut 46), Madrid, Ricardo Chaves (Bruno Gama 77), Maciel, Marcel, Cesinha (Matheus 46).

Monday's results mean that all of the
Big Three won by 3-0 at the weekend, which means that they now take up the 1,2,3 positions in the Liga, with FC Porto on 22, Sporting on 20 and Benfica (one game less) on 16 points. Benfica are joined by Marítimo, União de Leiria and Nacional.


Benfica dominated throughout their home game against Beira-Mar Sunday, with a possession ratio of something like 65:35, but it was not until the second half that they could make their pressure pay, and then the game was effectively over in a three minute spell. On 52, Katsouranis headed home, and on 55, Petit worked the ball into the penalty area and scored with a cross-shot. Beira-Mar's chances took a further blow on 72 minutes when central defender Buba was sent off for a second yellow, and two minutes later central defender Luisão found himself in an attacking position and crossed low towards Miccoli, only for Ricardo to turn the ball into his own net. Benfica go third, three points behind FC Porto at the top, while Beira-Mar remain just above the relegation places.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Miguelito, Petit (Karagounis 58), Katsouranis (Karyaka 78), Nuno Assis, Simão (Mantorras 84), Nuno Gomes, Miccoli.

Beira-Mar: Alê, Ricardo, Marco, Buba, Tininho, Torrão (Wegno 56), Ratinho (Jardel 71), André Leão, Rui Lima, Jorge Leitão, Camora (Emerson 56).

Nacional crushed Paços de Ferreira 5-1 to go 5th. The game was up in the first half, with two goals from Rodrigo Silva sandwiching one from Chainho. Five minutes into the second half, Didi pulled one back, but then Bruno Amaro and Luciano finished off the job.

Nacional's Madeiran neighbours, the improving Marítimo, beat the thus-far surprise team in the Liga Naval 1-0 away, sending them down to 7th. Sub Kanu got the only goal on 70 minutes. Marítimo climb to 6th.

Académica got three precious points in their perennial fight against relegation with a 2-0 win over penultimate club Estrela da Amadora. Dame and Hélder Barbosa got the goals midway through the second half.


For some time on Saturday the crisis at Boavista appeared to be deepening, despite the return of coach Jaime Pacheco two weeks ago. They were trailing 0-1 after nine minutes at home to bottom club Desportivo das Aves, an unmarked Nené touching in after neat work on the right. Boavista looked ragged and unable to respond, but finally managed to turn the game around in the last 15 minutes. First central defender Ricardo Silva headed in from a Ricardo Sousa corner, then in added time, the same Sousa found Grzelak on the left, and his cross was prodded home by top scorer Linz. Boavista climb to 11th, while Aves remain rooted to the bottom with just two points and four goals from nine games.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: Khadim, Hélder Rosário (Fary 72), Ricardo Silva, Cissé, Mário Silva, Lucas (Paulo Sousa 38), Essame (Ricardo Sousa 28), Kazmierczak, José Manuel, Linz, Grzelak.

Desportivo das Aves: Musse, Bruno Fernandes, Sérgio Carvalho, Sérgio Nunes, Anilton (William 72), Nené, Filipe Anunciação, Mércio, Leandro (Octávio 60), Dill (Hernâni 86), Xano.

On Friday, União de Leiria swam to victory at Belenenses on a pond of a pitch. Ivanildo scored the only goal of the game on 22 minutes with a header from a cross deep on the right. The game might justifiably have been abandoned in the second half as torrential rain made it impossible to play any kind of coherent football. Belenenses' Nivaldo was sent off on the stroke of time. União jump provisionally to third, while Belenenses stay 10th.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Marco Gonçalves, Sousa (Eliseu 46), Gaspar, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Pinheiro, Zé Pedro, Silas, Sandro Gaúcho, (Rolando 84), Roma (Manoel 60), Dady.

União de Leiria: Fernando, Éder, Marcos António, Renato, Tixier, Paulo Gomes, Faria, Paulo Machado (Harison 52), Paulo César, Ivanildo (Alhandra 61), Slusarski (Valdomiro 80).



Coach Jaime Pacheco's return to Boavista for a third spell (this was actually his 300th game in charge at the club) was not a happy one as his team went down 0-2 at Paços de Ferreira . It was Boavista's third defeat in a row, during which time they haven't scored a single goal, and the team, tipped for Europe at the beginning of the season, are now 13th, just three points above the relegation slots, while Paços move up to ninth.

Paços thoroughly deserved the win for their organised play, quick and aggressive midfield and sharp forwards. Boavista, for all their huff and puff, had few ideas, and their defence was the same wobbly one that has let in seven goals in those three defeats; Jaime Pacheco has a job on his hands to pump some confidence and organisation into what currently looks like a side that will be fighting against relegation rather than to qualify for Europe.

Paços took the lead on 19 minutes, the Boavista defence failing to clear a cross from the right with Edson lurking on the edge of the area to knock home. Before the break, Boavista had two legitimate calls for penalties ignored, the first for a foul on Linz and the second for a clear and intentional hand ball by Ronny. Boavista's president João Loueeiro ripped into the refereeing after the game, but if he had put his hand on his heart, he could not have believed that his side deserved any more than to go two down on 74 minutes: a Peçanha clearance did not touch the ground as it was headed on by former Boavista man João Paulo, then headed on again by Edson before falling to the excellent Didi, who deftly lobbed William as the Boavista 'keeper came charging out.

The teams lined up:

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde, Geraldo, Luiz Carlos, Fredy, Dani, Paulo Sousa, Pedrinha, Edson (Cristiano 86), Didi (Emerson 90), Ronny (João Paulo 70).

Boavista: William, Lucas, Ricardo Silva, Cissé, Fernando Dinis (Fary 82), Paulo Sousa, Tiago (Grzelak 57), Kazmierczak, Ricardo Sousa (Hugo Monteiro 68), José Manuel, Linz.

FC Porto and Benfica have been sniping at each other over the barricades following Saturday's clássico. FC Porto posted a notice on the club's official website in which Benfica are accused of violence. At one point, the piece reads: " Anderson [who was later found to have broken his leg] was intentionally targeted by a Greek [Katsouranis]." In response on the club website, Benfica deny any intention on the part of Katsouranis, and accuse FC Porto of "xenophobia".

Meanwhile, FC Porto are to report Benfica's director of Football José Veiga for some allegedly obscene gestures to the crowd after Benfica's second goal, Benfica returning the ball with a report on incidents in the tunnel after the game.


Sporting Braga fell off the pace at the top of the Liga Sunday with some woeful defending and a 1-4 home defeat to a surprising Marítimo, playing their best football so far. Unmarked Gregory headed in from a free-kick on four minutes to get the Madeiran side off to a flying start, and on 23 Mbesuma got between three defenders to hit home and extend their lead.

If it was always going to be an uphill struggle from there for Braga, they had a mountain to climb six minutes into the second half when Maurício saw a red card for a nasty foul on Evaldo. Three minutes later, Marítimo made it three, Marcinho driving home from the edge of the area after the ball had only been half cleared, and just a couple of minutes after that it was four, Alex once again quicker to the ball than the Braga defence from a free kick. The same player blotted his copy book on 66 minutes, getting a red card for stopping Maciel, who would have been through on goal. Braga did get a consolation seven minutes from time, Cesinha heading in at the near post, but it was far too little, far too late. Braga slip to fourth, Marítimo jump to sixth.

Surprise team of the season so far, Naval, took advantage of Braga's slip-up and sneaked into third place with a 1-1 draw at traditionally difficult Nacional. It was the home side that took the lead on 14 minutes through Rodrigo, but Tiago Fraga equalised on 33. Nacional are eighth.

Estrela da Amadora returned to their Estádio José Gomes after work to it, and celebrated the occasion with their first win of the season, 1-0 to Vitória de Setúbal, which takes them off the bottom of the table. Paulo Sérgio was the man on target, ten minutes from time.

Now Desportivo das Aves occupy bottom spot after their fifth consecutive defeat, this time at home to Belenenses, whose first away win this was. Dady got the only goal on 65 minutes, following up his own shot that had been blocked by Paulo Musse in the Aves goal.

Polish striker Slusarski gave União de Leiria a 2-0 home win over Académica Saturday, the goals coming ten minutes before the break and ten minutes before the end. União climb to seventh.


FC Porto went clear at the top of the table Saturday with a thrilling 3-2 home win in the clássico against eternal rivals Benfica. Porto got off to a blinding start and were two up within 20 minutes, Lisandro Lopes deflecting a Postiga shot past the wrong-footed Quim for the first, and Quaresma cutting inside Nélson on the left and curling a shot inside the far post for the second.

But if Porto fans were rubbing their hands at the prospect of a massacre, it was not to be – Benfica held Porto to the two goals at half time and battled back in the second half. Katsouranis powered in at the near post to head home a corner on 62 minutes, and in the move of the game, Nuno Gomes lunged in to knock the ball past Hélton after sub Mantorras and Nélson had combined, the latter crossing low from the right.

Then just as Benfica fans were prematurely celebrating an historic comeback, Porto got a winner on the stroke of time, their sub Bruno Morães heading in after confusion caused in the Benfica defence by a Fucile throw in.

FC Porto are two points ahead of Sporting, while Benfica are six points behind but with a game in hand. A piece of bad news for Porto was the ankle injury on the half hour of midfielder Anderson, who was just back from another injury. The Brazilian prodigy is doubtful fo the Champions League game against Hamburg Wednesday.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Marek Cech, Paulo Assunção (Bruno Moraes 83), Lucho Gonzalez, Anderson (Raul Meireles 30), Lisandro Lopez, Hélder Postiga, Ricardo Quaresma (Tarik 73).

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis, Paulo Jorge (Nuno Assis 53), Nuno Gomes, Simão, Kikin Fonseca (Mantorras 61).


It's a given that the smaller clubs in any league will raise their game against the big clubs, and that's exactly what happened Friday when Beira-Mar snatched a point in a 3-3 thriller at home to table-toppers Sporting. It was Beira-Mar's first point after four straight defeats, while Sporting dropped two and could fall behind FC Porto if the reigning champions beat Benfica in Saturday's clássico.

Beira-Mar put in a battling performance, their best of the season, and took a first-half lead through Cameroonian central defender Buba, who was ultimately to be a surprising man of the match.

Sporting coach Paulo Bento made changes in the second half, and they bore fruit as first Alecsandro, taking advantage of a fluff by 'keeper Alê on 57 minutes, and then Yannick on 81, knocking home a Tello cut-back from the line, gave Sporting the lead. Beira-Mar coach Augusto Inácio brought on Mário Jardel to face his old club on 80 minutes, and five minutes later he was involved in the equaliser: he lost his marker in text-book fashion from a free-kick and headed goalwards, Ricardo parrying, only for Buba to follow up and bundle in his second.

A minute from time, Liedson netted from a Carlos Martins cross and it looked all over. But deep into added time, Beira-Mar forced a corner and Sporting's defence was all at sea as the ball found its way through to that man again, Buba, who had all the time in the world to rifle it past a helpless Ricardo for his hat-trick.

The teams lined up:

Beira-Mar: Alê, Ricardo, Marco, Buba, Tininho, Diakité, Torrão (André Leão 68), Luciano Ratinho (Jardel 81), Rui Lima, Vasco Matos, Jorge Leitão (Wegno 75).

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Tello, Paredes (Nani, 75), Farnerud (Carlos Martins 46), João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Djaló 46), Alecsandro, Liedson.


The FC Porto v Benfica clássico on Saturday looks set to be a sell out; only a little over 3,000 tickets remained to be sold Wednesday. The game, always controversial, has two areas of contestation so far this time: no one appears to be satisfied with the choice of Lucilio Baptista to referee the game, and Porto have declined to allocate any tickets to Benfica because the Lisbon club did not put in their application in time. On the bright side, the game will mark Simão Sabrosa's 200th league game for Benfica


Naval and Sporting Braga mucked up each other's chance of going to the top of the Liga along wth Sporting and FC Porto by drawing 1-1 Monday. Central defender Maurício put Braga in front from a corner on 37 minutes, and Nei gave the home side a point on 90.

The teams lined up:

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão (Tony 82), Fernando, China; Gilmar, Orestes, Pedro Santos (Cazarine 58), Fajardo (Saulo 72), Nei, Lito.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge (Irineu 43), Maurício, Carlos Fernandes, Vandinho, Andrés Madrid, Frechaut (Bruno Gama 28), João Pinto (Castanheira 60), Marcel,


A tense, even but not very pretty clássico at Alvalade ended in Sporting drawing 1-1 with FC Porto Sunday. Sporting had most of the play in the first half and went ahead just before the break, an unmarked Yannick heading calmly home a Nani cross from the left. The lead lasted just during the half-time break, Quaresma, booed throughout on his return to Alavalade, volleying home from inside the area on 47 minutes after Ricardo had flapped a ballooning ball out to him. The two clubs remain equal top.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira (Miguel Garcia 76), Tonel, Polga, Tello, Custódio, Paredes (Alecsandro 63), João Moutinho, Nani (Carlos Martins 51), Yannick, Liedson.

FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Cech, Raul Meireles, Paulo Assunção (Jorginho 45), Lucho Gonzalez, Lisandro Lopez (Diogo Valente 70), Hélder Postiga, Quaresma (Bruno Moraes 76).

Earlier, Benfica had gone behind to a Dário header against the run of play on 13 minutes at home to Estrela da Amadora (only their second goal all season) but eventually turned the game around to win 3-1 with goals from Miccoli on the half hour, tapping in a low Katsouranis cross, a penalty from captain Simão on 53 and a header from sub Karyaka on the stroke of time. Estrela's Pedro Simões and Rui Duarte both go red cards in the second half, but so did Miccoli, who will miss Benfica's trip to FC Porto next weekend.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nelson, Ricardo Rocha, Luisão, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis (Karyaka 69), Nuno Assis (Beto 88), Simão, Miccoli, Nuno Gomes.

Estrela da Amadora: Paulo Lopes, Tony, Pedro Simões, Fonte, Amoreirinha, Jordão, Edu Silva (Rui Duarte 63), Marco Paulo, Jaime (Rui Borges 46), Dário (Tiago Gomes 60), Jones.

Vitória de Setúbal took the lead at home to União de Leiria with an Amuneke goal on the half hour, but Paulo Gomes equalised before the break and Slusarski gave União the points on 52 minutes. União right back Éder was sent off for the second time this season.

Académica got their first win of the season, 2-0 over Desportivo das Aves in Coimbra. Miguel Pedro got the first early on, and Danilo clinched the win on 65 minutes.

Beira-Mar continue to struggle, going down 2-1 to Marítimo in Madeira. Mbesuma on 56 minutes and José Gomes five minutes from time put Marítimo in the driving seat, with Wegno getting a consolation near the end for Beira-Mar.


Boavista crashed to a 0-4 home defeat to Nacional Saturday. It was the return to the Bessa of coach Carlos Brito, deemed dispensable at the end of last season. His revenge started early: Rodrigo cracking in an overhead kick at the back post on just three minutes. Within a quarter of an hour Nacional were two up, Rodrigo this time crossing to the heart of the area where an unmarked José Victor had all the time in the world to place his header. Boavista had a prime opportunity to reduce the deficit two minutes later after Patacas handled in the area, but Boavista's top scorer Linz smashed the penalty too near Diego, who diverted it onto the left-hand post and the ball was bundled away.

The second half started just as disastrously for Boavista, left back Mário Silva sent off on 48 for a second yellow card (William should have had a red a short time before with an outrageous stamp on Rodrigo). Ten minutes into the half, Nacional were three up, an excellent flowing move finishing with Patacas doing a Carlos Alberto from the 1970 World Cup. It was the signal for some Boavista supporters to bring out their white handkerchiefs and others in the sparse crowd to make for the exits, including club president João Loureiro. He missed the fourth goal on 69 minutes, central defender Cissé putting through his own goal for the second match in a row.

Nacional climb to fifth on 12 points, Boavista are 11th with just seven points from their seven games. Coach Petrovic will be looking over his shoulder and waiting now for the axe to fall; in Portugal, patience is not a common quality in club fans and presidents.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: William, Bessa (Ricardo Sousa, 32m), Cissé, Tambussi, Mário Silva, Lucas, Tiago, Kazmierczak, José Manuel, Linz (Fary 71), Grzelak (Fernando Dinis 57)

Nacional: Diego,; Patacas, Ricardo Fernandes, Cardozo, Alonso, Bruno Amaro, Chainho, Bruno (Juliano 62), José Vítor, Rodrigo (Chilikov 79), Pateiro (Bruno Basto 71)


The seventh jornada of the Liga got under way Friday, with Belenenses beating Paços de Ferreira 2-0 for their second win of the season; it was Paços' second defeat. It was a classic 'game of two halves', with Belenenses having most of the play in the first 45 minutes and taking advantage of that to get their two goals. Both came from dead ball situations, both were as a result of fouls on Cândido Costa, and both were scored by midfielder José Pedro. On 16 minutes he netted from the spot, and on 39 he hoisted a free-kick towards goal from way out on the right, the ball hit the turf and the forward spin took it past Peçanha and into the top left-hand corner, although the Brazilian 'keeper did get his fingertips to it. Paços had most of the play in the second half, but were ineffectual in the final third. The game was watched by no more than a few hundred diehards; a growing problem in the Portuguese game.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Costinha, Sousa, Gaspar, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Rúben Amorim, José Pedro, Silas, Cândido Costa (Sandro Gaúcho 71), Dady (Roma 78), Eliseu (Rolando 85).

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde, Luiz Carlos, Geraldo, Fredy (Pedrinha 67), Paulo Sousa, Elias (Edson 42), Dani, Didi, Ronny (João Paulo 54), Cristiano.

Sunday's clássico between Sporting and FC Porto is beginning to heat up. It was announced Friday that 600 police officers will be on duty in and around the ground for the game that begins at 20.30 local time.

Meanwhile, next weekend will also have a clássico: FC Porto v Benfica will be on Saturday 28/10 at 19.45, as confirmed by the Liga de Clubes Friday.


Surprise side of the season so far, Naval (of Figueira da Foz, in the centre of the country) closed the 6th jornada of the Liga with a deserved 1-0 win at irregular Boavista . French central defender Cissé headed into his own goal from a cross on 77 minutes, and Boavista´s Hélder Rosário was sent off a minute later for lashing out at Nei. Naval join Sporting Braga on 13 points, two behind FC Porto and Sporting, while Boavista remain a disappointing 10th.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: William, Hélder Rosário, Ricardo Silva (Marcos António 89), Cissé, Mário Silva; Lucas, Tiago, Kazmierczak (Fary 69), José Manuel, Linz, Ricardo Sousa (Zairi 52).

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Fernando, China, Pedro Santos (Tony, 66), Orestes, Gilmar; Fajardo (João Ribeiro 90), Nei, Lito.


Sporting joined FC Porto on 15 points at the top of the Liga Sunday with a 1-0 win that by its narrow margin belied their overall domination over bottom club Estrela da Amadora but was true to their inability to create many openings. In fact it was a central defender from a dead ball situation that finally broke the deadlock, Tonel heading in from a Romagnoli corner on the stroke of half time. Sporting meet Porto in the season's first clássico next Saturday, but in between, both sides have Champions League duty, both against German sides: Porto against Hamburg, Sporting against Bayern Munich. Bayern will have no fears unless Sporting can raise their game in relation to the damp squib that was this performance.

It was made damper by a tremendous thunderstorm that rolled over the Estoril coast, where Estrela, their ground improvment still not complete, borrowed a stadium off Estoril Praia. Estrela, who have just one goal and one point from six games, once again showed that they are not a patch on the exciting little side that caused some upsets last season.

The teams lined up:

Estrela da Amadora: Paulo Lopes, Tony, José Fonte, Wescley (Edu Silva 46), Amoreirinha; Jordão, Tiago Gomes (Dário 63), Rui Borges (Luís Loureiro 63); Jaime, Jones, Marco Paulo.

Sporting: Ricardo; Abel, Polga, Tonel, Ronny (Caneira 74); Paredes; Romagnoli (Carlos Martins 46), João Moutinho, Nani; Carlos Bueno (Custódio 74), Liedson.

Nacional of Madeira continue to improve after a shaky start to the season, beating Belenenses 2-1 at home, their third victory in a row. Ricardo Fernandes headed in an Alonso cross on 17 minutes to put Nacional ahead, Ruben Amorim equalised for Belenenses three minutes later, and Bruno Amaro shot from the edge of the area to give the black-and-whites all three points. Nacional move up to 6th, Belensenses are 12th.

Vitória de Setúbal travelled to Aves and beat the local side 2-1, leaving Desportivo second from bottom. All the goals came in a twenty minute period in the second half, Lourenço putting Vitória in front on 57 minutes, Sérgio Carvalho equalising for Aves on the hour, with Bruno Ribeiro getting the winner on 82.

Académica got a point at Paços de Ferreira but remain third from bottom. Miguel Pedro gave them the lead on 26 minutes, but Luís Carlos equalised for Paços from the spot, three minutes from time.

The final game of the 6th jornada is Boavista v Naval, Monday.


The two Grandes in action Saturday had comfortable wins.

First up, FC Porto beat Marítimo 3-0 at the Antas. The Madeiran side held out until 35 minutes, but then Lisandro Lopes found central defender Pepe marauding up the right. The Brazilian made the line and cut the ball back for Hélder Postiga to crack it in first time at the near post. Postiga was involved in the second, too, on 63 minutes, fouled by Gregory for Lucho González to score from the spot. The controversial penalty knocked the wind out of Marítimo's resistance, and it was Porto that scored again five minutes from time, Anderson putting that man again Postiga through, the Portuguese international placing a neat cross shot into the far corner. The win takes Porto back to the top.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa (Ricardo Costa 46), Pepe, Bruno Alves, Ma rek Cech, Raul Meireles (Bruno Moraes 77), Lucho Gonzalez, Anderson, Ricardo Quaresma, Hélder Postiga, Lisandro Lopez (Paulo Assunção 60).

Marítimo: Marcos, Zé Gomes, Gregory, Milton, Briguel (Kanu 46), Neca (Filipe Oliveira 69), André Barreto, Fernando Silva (Wénio 46), Evaldo, Marcinho, Lipatin.

Porto 's morale will be lifted ahead of this week's Champions League duel against Hamburg, then Benfica's will have gone through the roof before their game in Glasgow against Celtic. The Águias have been struggling to find their form, but it all seemed to come right at Leiria, especially in an excellent first half in which they finally looked like a team with spirit and ideas. It was Benifca's first away win, and União's first home defeat.

Benfica created various chances before they opened the scoring on the half-hour, Katsouranis and Simão working the ball to Miccoli on the edge of the area, the diminutive Italian chipping delicately over Fernando, off his line, for his first goal of the season. It was Miccoli again that put the game effectively beyond União just before the break, Simão making the line on the left to cut back for Nuno Gomes, whose lay-off was clipped home by the former Juventus forward. União's woes were compounded on the hour, Nélson striding down the right and crossing low for Nuno Gomes to swivel and crack the ball home. The 4-0 rout was complete six minutes later, Simão netting from the spot after a hand-ball. The rest of the game was notable only for Fernando Santos resting some players before the trip to Glasgow, and União fighting to limit the damage.

The teams lined up:

União de Leiria: Fernando, Laranjeiro, Marcos António, Valdomiro, Tixier; Paulo Gomes, Harison (Ivanildo 63), Faria (Alhandra 77), Cadu (Paulo Machado 46), Paulo César, Sougou.

Benfica: Quim. Nélson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha. Léo. Nuno Assis, Petit, Katsouranis (Beto 72), Simão (Miguelito 80); Nuno Gomes (Kikin Fonseca 72), Miccoli.


Sporting Braga kicked off the 6th jornada of the Liga with a 3-0 win at Beira-Mar which takes them provisionally top. Near post headers from Paulo Jorge on two minutes and Wender on 56, from a free-kick and a cross, respectively, put the game beyond Beira-Mar, whose best chances fell to Mário Jardel on an off day. Ricardo Chaves put the seal on the victory with a cracking volley from a Wender cross on 71 minutes.

The teams lined up:

Beira-Mar: Danrlei, Marco, Jorge Silva, Alcaraz, Ribeiro (Vasco Matos 18), Diakité, Emerson (Wegno 60), Luciano Ratinho (André Leão 77), Tininho, Rui Lima, Jardel.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge, Nem, Carlos Fernandes, Hugo Leal (Frechaut 62), Andrés Madrid, João Pinto (Ricardo Chaves 53), Maciel (José Carlos 72), Marcel, Wender.


FC Porto lost their 100% Liga record Monday, going down 1-2 at rain-lashed Braga. Marcel got his first goal of the season on 23 minutes, finishing off a Wender cross with a crisp drive, to put Sporting Braga ahead, but then three minutes from half time, Hélder Postiga at the far post headed in a Quaresma cross. Ten minutes into the second half, Braga went in front through full back Luís Filipe, and they spent most of the rest of the game with their backs to the wall. This was Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira's return to Braga, who he left in the close season.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge, Nem (Maurício 82), Carlos Fernandes, Ricardo Chaves, Andrés Madrid, Castanheira (João Pinto 54), Maciel, Marcel, Wender (Cesinha 54).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Ezequias (Alan 76); Paulo Assunção (Lisandro Lopez 30), Lucho Gonzalez, Anderson, Raul Meireles, Ricardo Quaresma (Vieirinha 71), Hélder Postiga.

Sporting join Porto on top spot with 12 points (ahead of Naval and Sporting Braga on ten) after beating União de Leiria 2-0 at Alvalade. Nani on 33 minutes and Liedson with his first goal of the season, from the spot, on 56 separated the sides. União full back Éder got a red card twenty minutes from time.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel, Polga, Tonel, Caneira; Nani, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho (João Alves 84), Tello (Paredes 59), Alecsandro (Yannick 59), Liedson.

União de Leiria: Fernand, Éder, Marcos António, Valdomiro, Tixier, Harison, Paulo Gomes (Paulo Machado 59), Faria, Sougou, Paulo César (Slusarski 67), N'Gal (Ivanildo 35).

Paços de Ferreira snatched a 1-1 draw at Vitória de Setúbal. Mário Carlos gave Vitória the lead on 26 minutes, but Ronny equalised a quarter of an hour from the end. Paços were down to ten men after just 15 minutes, Emerson sent off. The ehad count was evened up on 55 with the expulsion of Sandro, and then Paços were back 'in front' five minutes from time whyen João Paulo saw red.

The teams lined up:

Vitória de Setúbal: João Paulo, Janício, Veríssimo (Fonseca 25), Auri, Bruno Ribeiro, Binho, Sandro, Mário Carlos (Nandinho 59), Labarthe (Julien 73), Amuneke, Varela.

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha;,Mangualde, Emerson, Geraldo, Fredy, Pedrinha (Edson 56), Paulo Sousa, Dani, Renato Queirós (João Paulo 61), Ronny (Antunes 82), Didi.


Benfica eased some of the pressure on coach Fernando Santos Sunday with an emphatic 4-1 win over Desportivo das Aves. It was pretty even until half-time: Paulo Jorge headed in on 19 minutes, but Filipe Anunciação equalised on 27 with a speculative shot that Quim fumbled and let squirm in. It was a different story in the second half, with Rui Costa on for Katsouranis. Nuno Gomes placed a neat header on 50 minutes to restore Benfica's lead, Simão got a third from the spot on 63 after William had handled, and Karagounis curled a free kick into the top left hand corner a minute from time. The handkerchiefs that had been waved at the end of the home defeat against Manchester United in the week were left in pockets this time.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Miguelito; Katsouranis (Rui Costa 46); Paulo Jorge, Karagounis, Simão (Nuno Assis 73), Miccoli (Kikin Fonseca 82), Nuno Gomes.

Desportivo das Aves: Rui Faria, Sérgio Carvalho, William, Sérgio Nunes, Anilton, Filipe Anunciação, Vítor Manuel (Mércio 69), Nené; Dill (Freddy 52), Hernâni (Jocivalter 79), Xano.

Académica have been struggling so far this season, and Sunday was no different. They lost 1-3 at home to Nacional, Académica coach Manuel Machado's old team. Académica were in front on eight minutes through Dame, but just before half time, Litos handled in the area and Bruno equalised. Around the hour mark, it all went wrong for Académica: Adriano put Nacional ahead, Litos was sent off, and Pateiro extended the lead. Académica were reduced to nine five minutes from time when Medeiros was also sent off.

Académica are third from bottom, but rock bottom are Estrela da Amadora with just one point from five games. They lost again Sunday, 1-2 at Marítimo. Dário put Estrela in front on the hour, and they held their lead until seven minutes from time when first Mbesuma then Lipatin turned it around for Marítimo.


Boavista brought all three points back from Belenenses Saturday with a 2-0 win, constructed in the first half. On just three minutes, Austrian striker Linz got his fourth of the season, rifling home a loose ball at the back post that was badly cleared by an edgy Belenenses defence. And the same Linz was part of a one-two that Zé Manuel sprinted onto on 35, beating Gaspar for pace and cracking his shot past the oncoming Costinha. The second half saw Belenenses piling on the pressure but coming up against a veritable wall in Boavista's defence, with centre backs Cissé and especially Ricardo Silva shining. The home 'keeper Costinha was barely troubled after the break, and for all Belenenses' pressure, neither really was William in the other goal. Belenenses have not been able to beat Boavista on their own ground since 1994.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Costinha, Sousa (Pinheiro 81), Gaspar, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim; Ruben Amorim, Mancuso, Cândido Costa, Roma (Dady 46), Silas; Manoel (Eliseu 32).

Boavista: William, Hélder Rosário, Ricardo Silva, Cissé, Mário Silva (Fernando Dinis 59); Lucas, Tiago, Kazmierczak, José Manuel (Essame 83); Linz, Ricardo Sousa (Grzelak 64).



Naval went provisionally second in the table Friday with what turned out to be an astonishing win at home to Beira-Mar. The visitors went in front, against the run of play, on 86 minutes through André Leão, but then in the five minutes of added time, Nei scored twice to turn the game on its head.


Marítimo will feel hard done by after their visit to União de Leiria: they had a good headed goal by Lipatin disallowed on 53 minutes for a non-existent offside, Leiriá Sougou should have seen a red car on 73 for a studs-up challenge on Brazilian midfielder Wênio, and to rub salt in the wounds, the same Sougou was quickest to the ball to prod home on 77 and give União a 1-0 win.


Académica came away from the Bessa with a well-earned point, their third draw of the seaon, after a 2-2 result against spluttering Boaviista Sunday. Boavista went in front through Austrian striker Linz with his third goal of the season, Lino equalised before the break with a superb free-kick, Gyano gave Académica the lead but Hélder Rosário salvaged a point for Boavista with a near-post header from a corner by sub Ricardo Sousa. Boavist ahave four points from four games, a disppointing start for them under new coach Petrovic.

Spadacio on the hour gave Nacional of Madeira their first win of the season, at home to a Vitória de Setúbal improving under new coach Toni, and dragged them off the bottom of the table.


Sporting returned to winning ways Saturday after last weekend's home defeat to Paços de Ferreira. This time they travelled to Desportivo das Aves and brought back all three points with a 2-0 win. Alecsandro beat the offside trap on 14 minutes to finish off a neat Moutinho through ball, and centre back Tonel was on as sub for less than a minute before tapping in after Paulo Musse had fumbled a cross.

The teams lined up:

Desportivo das Aves: Paulo Musse, Sérgio Carvalho, Sérgio Nunes, William, Anilton Júnior, Vítor Manuel, Filipe Anunciação, Nené (Mércio 46), Leandro (Jocivalter 73), Xano, Fredy (Hernâni 46).

Sporting: Ricardo, Miguel Garcia, Polga, Miguel Veloso, Ronny (Caneira 63), João Moutinho, Yannick (Tonel 80), Nani, Tello, Alecsandro (Romagnoli 63), Liedson.

The other two games of the day finished in 0-0 draws.

Belenenses received Naval on their 87th birthday and the 50th anniversary of their being at the Restelo stadium. Naval are proving a hard nut to crack so far this season, and proved so again. Eliseu returned for Belenenses after an eight-month suspension for doping, and Belenenses' José Pedro saw a red card in the last minute.

Estrela da Amadora got their first point of the season against Sporting Braga, played at Estoril's ground because Estrela's is still undergoing work.


Benfica dropped two points Friday on their trip to wet and windy Paços de Ferreira. They went in front on 23 minutes with a Katsouranis header from a Paulo Jorge cross, but sub João Paulo headed in the equaliser in the dying minutes. Benfica left back Léo was sent off on 53 minutes for a second yellow; he was the fourth Benfica player sent off this season, the same number as in the whole of last season.

The teams lined up:

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde (Pedrinha 72), Geraldo, Luiz Carlos, Fredy, Dani, Paulo Sousa, Elias (Renato Queirós 58), Didi (João Paulo 82), Ronny, Cristiano.

Benfica: Quim, Alcides, Luisão, Anderson, Léo, Nuno Assis (Manu 29, Miguelito 55), Katsouranis, Karagounis, Paulo Jorge, Miccoli (Mantorras 66), Simão.

Earlier, FC Porto kept up their 100% record with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to a pedestrian Beira-Mar, for whom Mário Jardel was making his return to Porto. Porto dominated throughout but could not find a way through until the second half, when Anderson and Lisandro revolutionised their play. Hélder Postiga got his first goal of the season on 54 minutes with a neat turn and shot at the edge of the area, and Lisandro and Sektioui added one apiece. Alcaraz was sent off on 75 minutes for a foul on Anderson.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Cech, Paulo Assunção, Lucho, Jorginho (Anderson, 46), Quaresma, Hélder Postiga (Sektioui, 68) e Adriano (Lisandro, 46).

Beira-Mar: Danrlei, Jorge Vidigal, Jorge Silva, Alcaraz, Tininho, Diakité, Emerson (Marco, 76), Rui Lima, Luciano Ratinho (André Leão, 62), Wegno e Jardel (Jorge Leitão, 79).


Vitória de Setúbal reacted positively to the arrival of new coach Toni, and Julien gave him the best possible start with a goal on 51 minutes that earned Vitória three precious point over Boavista, who have now lost two of their three games.


União de Leiria travelled to Sporting Braga Monday and came away with all three points after a goal on nine minutes from Paulo César after a cross from Sougou.


A goal from full back Marek Cech and an own goal from Mário Sérgio gave FC Porto an early and ultimately unassailable lead at Naval in front of just 2,500 spectators.

The teams lined up:

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Gaúcho (Cazarine, 72m), China, Gilmar, Orestes, Pedro Santos (Tony, 52m), Fajardo (Saulo, 52m), Nei e Lito. Treinador: Rogério Gonçalves.

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Marek Cech, Paulo Assunção, Lucho Gonzalez, Anderson (Vieirinha, 79m), Quaresma, Adriano (Jorginho, 65m) e Hélder Postiga (Lisandro, 72m). Treinador: Jesualdo Ferreira

A goal from Brazilian centre-back Luisão on the half hour was enough to give Benfica a narrow victory over Nacional in front of 36,000 at the Luz. Nacional were reduced to ten men on the hour with the expulsion of Cléber.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Alcides, Luisão, Anderson, Miguelito, Paulo Jorge (Miccoli 73), Karagounis, Katsouranis, Simão Sabrosa, Nuno Assis (Miguelito 86, Kikin Fonseca (Mantorras 78)

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Alonso, Bruno (Vinícius 73), Luciano (Adriano 56), Cléber, Bruno Amaro, Juliano, Cássio.

Beira-Mar beat Estrela da Amadora 2-0 thanks to goals by Mário Jardel, in his 33rd year, and Alcaraz. Estrela are still without a point.

Académica drew 1-1 at home to Belenenses. Hélder Barbosa, on loan from FC Porto, put Académica in front, with Gelson equalising, both goals coming in the first half.

Desportivo das Aves squeezed a 0-0 draw out of Marítimo in Madeira.


After the Lord Mayor's Show ... Sporting beat European giants Inter Milan 1-0 in the week but were defeated for the first time this season, and by the same score, at home to humble Paços de Ferreira Saturday. Paços surprised in the first half with their adventurous attitude and went in front in added time through Ronny … although it was clear from TV slo-mo that he had guided the ball in with his hand from a corner. Substitute Bueno hit the bar in the second half, but the excellent Paços 'keeper Peçanha made some marvellous saves, and ultimately Sporting weren't there on the night.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Miguel Garcia (Ronny 45), Polga, Tonel, Caneira, Miguel Veloso, Nani, Romagnoli (Yannick Djaló 45), João Moutinho, Liedson, Alecsandro (Bueno 61).

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde, Geraldo, Luiz Carlos, Fredy, Dani, Paulo Sousa, Elias, Cristiano (João Paulo 85), Didi (Emerson 93), Ronny (Antunes 74m).


The highlight of the second jornada was a 3-0 win for impressive Boavista over an under-par Benfica at the Bessa. Two goals from Austrian striker Linz and one from Polish midfielder Kazmierczak did the damage. Benfica's Nuno Gomes and Petit were sent off in the second half.

FC Porto made it six points out of six with a comfortable 3-0 win over disappointing Estrela da Amadora Sunday, played at the Estádio da Luz, borrowed for the occasion while work is done on Estrela's ground. All Estrela could hope for on this form was to hold out for a draw, but that aim bit the dust on 55 minutes, right back Rui Duarte putting through his own goal from a low cross by Hélder Postiga; the Estrela defender had been on the pitch just four minutes. Porto rammed home their superiority in every department with a tremendous, dipping Raul Meireles drive from 25 metres on 81 minutes, and a knock-in from Lucho Gonzalez two minutes from time after an unselfish square pass from Anderson. Porto midfelder Ibson broke a bone in his foot and will be out for four to six weeks.

The teams lined up:

Estrela da Amadora: Paulo Lopes, Tony, Hugo Carreira, Wescley, Amoreirinha, Marco Paulo, Luís Loureiro (Rui Duarte 51), Tiago Gomes, Dário (Sérgio Marquês 70), Ndiaye (Moses 62), Cleiton

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Cech, Lucho, Raul Meireles, Anderson, Lisandro (Hélder Postiga 45), Adriano, Sektioui (Ibson 67) (Paulo Assunção 80)

Nani scored the only goal for Sporting as they brought three points back from Nacional of Madeira, but the goal was a controversial one; Nani had clearly fouled Ávalos in midfield at the beginning of the move.

Elsewhere, there were away wins for Sporting Braga and Naval, 1-0 at Desportivo das Aves and 2-1 at Académica, respectively, while Belenenses won their first game of the season 2-0 at home to Vitória de Setúbal and Paços de Ferreira beat Marítimo 2-1. Beira-Mar held União de Leiria to a 2-2 draw in Leiria.

Gil Vicente, relegated to the Liga de Honra (second tier) under protest in the so-called 'Mateus Affair', failed tyo turn up for their game against Feirense Sunday. Two representatives went to the ground to explain the club's intentions to the referee and opponents, who did turn up.



Vitória de Setúbal and Académica drew 1-1 Monday in the final game of the first jornada, although the Benfica v Gil Vicente or Belenenses game remains to be played at a future date. Nandinho put Vitória in front with a free kick, with Hélder Barbosa equalising.


Marítimo won their opening game of the season, 1-0 at home against local rivals Nacional. Moukouri got the only goal on the half hour.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, José Gomes, Milton do Ó, Gregory, Evaldo, Jardel (Fernando 92), Wénio, André Barreto, Moukouri (Filipe Oliveira 84), Kanu (Martin Prest 72), Marcinho.

Nacional: Diego, Patacas (Adriano 77) Ávalos, Emerson, Alonso, Chaínho, Cléber, Bruno, Luciano (Cássio 63), Serginho Baiano, Chilikov (José Vítor 70).

Naval beat Estrela da Amadora 2-0 with goals from Nei on 13 minutes and Lito on 75.

The game between Benfica and Gil Vicente was postponed, given the uncertainty of the outcome of the various processes under way in the so-called 'Caso Mateus'. Gil Vicente travelled down to Lisbon for the game to demonstrate willingness to play.


Sporting were 0-1 down to Boavista in their opening Liga game Saturday but came back to win 3-2. Ze Manuel put Boavista in front on 17 minutes, but within two minutes around the hour mark, Sporting had turned it around through subs Nani and Deivid . The latter appeared to put the game beyond Boavista a minute from time, but Ze Manuel got his second on time to give the visitors a last bit of hope, unrealised. Boavista's Ricardo Sousa was sent off just four minutes after coming on as sub. Deivid was playing his last game for Sporting, and is expected to sign for Fenerbahce on a three-year contract this week.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel (Ronny 45), Tonel, Polga, Caneira, Custódio (Nani 45), Carlos Martins, Romagnoli, João Moutinho, Bueno (Deivid 59), Liedson.

Boavista: William, Hélder Rosário, Ricardo Silva, Cissé, Mário Silva, Tiago, Kazmierczake, Lucas (Hugo Monteiro 74); José Manuel, Grzelak (Ricardo Sousa 66), Linz (Fary 79).

It took an own goal by Geraldo in added time to give Sporting Braga a 2-1 win over Pacos de Ferreira. Pacos were down to ten men on 55 minutes after the sending off of Elias, and 15 minutes later, Braga went in front through Ze Carlos, pulled back by Ronny before that own goal gave
Braga all three points.

Hernani put Desportivo das Aves in front after two minutes at Beira-Mar in a game between two of the promoted sides. Five minutes from half-time Beira-Mar were level, Jardel netting on his return to Portuguese football. Early in the second half, Aves were down to ten with the expulsion of Sergio Carvalho, but Beira-Mar left it till the 80th minute for Vasco Matos to put them in front. Near the end, Ailton Junior snatched a point for Aves with a header from a corner.


The Portuguese Liga kicked off Friday with a predictable 2-1 win for FC Porto at home to União de Leiria, coached by former Porto star striker Domingos Paciência. Sektioui crossed from the left for Adriano to get the first goal of this season's Liga on 20 minutes, and Ricardo Quaresma battled though the União defence after a one-two with Anderson to hook in Porto's second just before the break. The useful Sougou, signed from Vitória de Setúbal, pulled one back for an improving União on 69 minutes, but that's how it stayed.

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Marek Cech, Paulo Assunção, Raúl Meireles, Lucho (Lisandro 80), Anderson (Jorginho 66), Ricardo Quaresma (Vieirinha 66), Sektioui, Adriano.

União de Leiria: Bruno Vale, Éder, Marcos António, Valdomiro, Tixier, Faria, Paulo Machado, Harison (Paulo Gomes 46), Sougou, Touré (Ivanildo 71), Paulo César (Cadú 46).

Sunday's Liga game between
Benfica and Belenenses has been called off in the wake of the so-called Mateus affair (see below). At the same time, the Liga de Honra game between Leixões and Gil Vicente has also been called off. Leixões have put themselves in the mix, claiming that as third in the Liga de Honra last season, it should be they rather than Gil Vicente or Belenenses that takes part in the Liga.

As a result of Gil Vicente resorting to the civil courts over the case, the FPF have suspended all of Gil's teams from all competitions.


Belenenses will stay in the Liga (the first division) and Gil Vicente will drop to the Liga de Honra (second) after the FPF Council of Justice turned down Gil's appeal to an identical decision taken previously. Valentim Loureiro, still president of the Liga de clubes, has said that the rules state that the decision has to be adopted immediately, even though Gil are considering appealing yet again, this time in the civil courts. Belenenses will thus start the new season against Benfica at the Luz Sunday.


The Liga Disciplinary Committeee found Tuesday that Gil Vicente should be relegated from the Liga to the Liga de Honra, instead of Belenenses. Belenenses should have been relegated on Liga position, but they claimed that at one point last season Gil used an amateur player, the Angolan Mateus, and when it came to argue the case, the club took it to the civil courts, when Liga regulations clearly state that cases like that should be addressed internally. Gil have until 09 August to appeal, but it is not thought that any appeal will succeed.


The Liga has decided that the deadline for registering players during the winter window will be extended until 5 February. At the same meeting, ticket prices were set at a minimum of five euros and a maximum of 75. And it will now be permitted to show non-controversial images of the game on giant screens.


President of the Liga Valentim Loureiro promised Tuesday that the Liga will start on time on 27 August, despite the fact that the 'Mateus Case' has yet to be resolved. Belenenses and Gil Vicente do not know which of them will be relegated; Gil played an unregistered player, Mateus, last season, and Belenenses, relegated are claiming Gil's place in the Liga.


The championship will have the same sponsor but a new name this season. Last year's Liga will now be called the Bwinliga.


The Liga fixtures for the 2006/07 season were decided Friday. The first day, around Sunday 27 August, will have all the Três Grandes at home: Sporting v Boavista, Benfica v Gil Vicente and FC Porto v União de Leiria. There are only 30 jornadas this season – the number of clubs in the Liga having been reduced.

The full first jornada is:

Vitória de Setúbal v Académica
Benfica v Gil Vicente
Sporting v Boavista
Marítimo v Nacional
Sporting de Braga v Paços de Ferreira
Beira-Mar v Desportivo das Aves
FC Porto v União de Leiria
Naval v Estrela da Amadora

FC Porto reaped most of the Liga awards for last season, announced at the draw for the Liga fixtures:

Best goalkeeper: Helton (FC Porto)
Best central defender: Pepe (FC Porto)
Best full back
: Léo (Benfica)
Best defensive midfielder
: Paulo Assunção (FC Porto)
Best attacking midfielder
: Lucho Gonzalez (FC Porto)
Best winger
: Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto)
Best striker
: Liedson (Sporting)
Top scorer
: Meyong (Belenenses)
Fair-play Award
: Vitória de Setúbal
Best referee
: Duarte Gomes



Sporting's goalkeeper Ricardo has won the Players' Union Fair Play Award for last season. The Portuguese international went 30 games without a single yellow card.

Vitória de Setúbal have won the Players' Union Fair Play Award for teams for the second year running. They were the best behaved team, ahead of FC Porto and Sporting.


As expected, Sporting clinched second place in the Liga with a 1-0 win at home to Sporting Braga. João Moutinho got the winner on 21 minutes.

As it happened, Sporting need not have worried. Their rivals for second place, Benfica, spluttered at Paços de Ferreira, going down 1-3. Manuel Fernandes put Benfica in front on 36 minutes, but they collapsed in the second half to goals by Edson and Júnior (2). The result meant that Paços de Ferreira stayed up.

The final jornada of the season threw up some shocks at the bottom of the Liga table.

Belenenses went down 0-1 at Gil Vicente to a goal by Marco António on 42 minutes. The result kept Gil up. The Belenenses team coach was greeted by furious fans when it returned to Lisbon.

Vitória de Guimarães were relegated for the first time in 48 years. Their miserable season was capped with a 0-1 home defeat at the hands of a useful Estrela da Amadora side that finished in the top half of the table. Semedo on 64 minutes was the author of the goal. As at Belenenses, the fans were enraged at the poor season and the final humiliation. Vitória's players were forced to leave the stadium in police cars to avoid the crowd.

The other club joing Vitória, Belenenses and Penafiel were Rio Ave, who were soundly beaten at already safe União de Leiria. Alhandra, Bruno Mendes (own goal), Paulo César, Cadu da Silva and Hugo Costa got União's five goals, Gaúcho and Fábio Coentrão replying for Rio Ave. Rio Ave goalkeeper Candeias was sent off on nine minutes for handling outside the area.

Académica secured their survival with a marvellous comeback at home to Marítimo. Os Estudantes were two down after an hour to goals by Van der Gaag and Marcinho , but two goals in eight minutes by Joeano, the second a dubious penalty, gave Académica a precious point. The hero Joeano, with 13 goals over the season, was sent off in added time.

The other club that escaped by the skin of its teeth was Naval. A 1-0 win at relegated Penafiel, Léo Guerra scoring seven minutes from time, lifted them out of the drop zone.

Nacional qualified for Europe for the second time in their history when they drew 1-1 at Vitória de Setúbal Saturday. Alexandre Goulart put them in front on 67 minutes, with Auri equalising on 84.

Boavista needed to win to have any chance of overtaking Nacional, but all they could manage was a 1-1 draw at home to champions FC Porto. Lisandro Lopez put Porto ahead on 21 minutes with a neatly place shot from outside the area, while Boavista's best player Paulo Jorge levelled on 71. Porto youngster Hélder Barbosa, brought on as sub at half time so that he could qualify for a champions medal, was sent off ten minutes from time for a second yellow.

Belenenses, relegated from the Liga, want Gil Vicente to be relegated instead. They claim that the club from Barcelos broke one of the Liga's regulations by going to the common courts over an issue involving the use of a player, Mateus. Gil claim that the process was to do with a labour and not sporting issue.


The last jornada of the season will be played on two days. On Saturday 6 May at 18.00, Boavista will receive FC Porto and Nacional will play at Vitória de Setúbal. Boavista and Nacional are vying for the last UEFA Cup place (Nacional need only one point from their game to clinch it). All the other games will kick off at 18.30 on Sunday 7 May.

Académica and União de Leiria will open their doors to fans for their final games of the season against respectively Marítimo and Rio Aveon Sunday. Os Estudantes are still in danger of going down.

Vitória de Guimarães forward Antchouet has been suspended for one game. The Gabonese striker was sent off after last weekend's game at FC Porto for verbal abuse of the match officials.

FC Porto's central defender Pepe has been named player of the month for April by the Players' Union.


This weekend saw the penultimate jornada of the 2005-06 Liga, but nothing new was decided: FC Porto are champions, Penafiel are relegated ... but there are still many question marks at the top and bottom of the table.

FC Porto celebrated winning the title by beating Vitória de Guimarães 3-1 at home, sending Vitória to almost certain relegation. Vitória were in troubel on the half hour when full back Paíto was sent off for a second yellow, and it was uphill from there for them. Even so, it was only in the second half that Porto were able to take the lead, Lucho Gonzalez scoring from the spot after Adriano had been fouled by the Vitória'keeper Nílton. Vitória thought they had snatched a point five mintes from time with a goal from Antchouet , but before the final whistle, Lucho Gonzalez again and Adriano had all but sealed Vitória's doom.

On 18 and 21 minutes at Rio Ave, Nani and Liedson respectively put Sporting on course to a win that puts them in pole position for the final day, when they need just one point at home to Sporting Braga to pip Benfica to second place. On 28 minutes, Ricardo, Portugal's first choice 'keeper for Germany, let an inoffensive shot by Milhazes squirm through his legs to put Sporting's lead in doubt, but an own goal by Danileson ten minutes into the second half left the score at 1-3.

Benfica beat Vitória de Setúbal, their presence in the Liga next season already assured, by the odd goal at the Luz in front of 51,000. Brazilian central defender Anderson headed home a Manduca corner on 25 minutes to keep the tussle with Sporting for second place open until the final day. Benfica, who visit relegation-threatened Paços de Ferreira in the last game of the season, are two points behind Sporting but are at a disadvantage in head-to-heads between the two teams.

All of the results of the 33rd jornada were as follows:

Estrela da Amadora 1-0 Penafiel
Naval 0-2 União de Leiria
Belenenses 0-0 Académica
Benfica 1-0 Vitória de Setúbal,
Sp. Braga 1-1 Gil Vicente
F.C. Porto 3-1 V. Guimarães
Marítimo 1-1 P. Ferreira,
Rio Ave 1-3 Sporting,

Vitória de Guimarães and Rio Ave are two of seven teams that can still join Penafiel (18th) in the drop to the Liga de Honra: (15th place earns relegation)

11th Belenenses 39 points (final game at Gil Vicente)
12th Paços de Ferreira
39 (final game at home to Benfica)
13th Académica
38 (final game at home to Marítimo)
14th Gil Vicente
37 (final game at home to Belenenses)
15th Naval
36 (final game at Penafiel)
16th Rio Ave
34 (final game at União de Leiria)
17th Vitória de Guimarães
34 (final game at home to Estrela da Amadora)

Replacing the four clubs relegated from the Liga are two from the Liga de Honra: Beira-Mar confirmed the Liga de Honra title with a 3-0 win over Vizela, and Desportivo das Aves returned to the top flight after five years, beating Marco 2-0. Next season's Liga will have just 16 clubs.

On Friday, Nacional moved a step closer to European football for the first time in their history when a Juliano goal gave them a 1-0 win over rivals for 5th place Boavista. Nacional are now two points ahead of Boavista and need just one point from their last game of the season at Vitória de Setúbal to reach Europe. Boavista have to receive Champions and second-city rivals FC Porto.



The majority of the games on the 33rd, penultimate, jornada will all be played at 18.30 on Sunday 30m April. The only game brought forward is the crunch match between Nacional and Boavista , both vying for a UEFA Cup place, which will kick off at 19.00 on Saturday 29 April.


Sporting Braga clinched, mathematically, fourth spot and a UEFA Cup place Monday with an impressive 3-0 win at Académica, whose future in the top flight looks uncertain. In an exciting game in which open, attacking football was the norm on both sides, it was Braga who always had the edge, especially in front of goal, although they also missed a hatful of chances. Frechaut headed them in front on 21 minutes, but it was two second-half goals from top scorer João Tomás (14 to his tally this season) that did for Briosa. The first was on the break on 56 minutes and involved a neat one-two with Wender but appeared to follow a foul on Joeano, not given, at the other end. His second, Braga's third, was an excellent effort: Castanheira put him through on the left, and it looked like he had run out of space with no support, but then he cut in past José Castro and rounded the 'keeper Pedro Roma before tapping in.

Some Liga issues are already resolved, other are still hanging in the balance

Champions: FC Porto
Second (automatic Champions League place): Sporting (66 points) or Benfica (64)
Third (final preliminary round of Champions League): Sporting or Benfica
Fourth (UEFA Cup): Sporting Braga
Fifth (UEFA Cup): Boavista (49) or Nacional (48)
Relegated: Penafiel
relegated: three from: Estrela da Amadora (39), Belenenses (38), Paços de Ferreira (38), Académica (37), Gil Vicente (36), Naval (36), Rio Ave (34), Vitória de Guimarães (34)

The remaining games on the last two jornadas look like this:

33rd jornada 30/04/06

Nacional v Boavista
Benfica v Vitória de Setúbal
Marítimo v Paços de Ferreira
Belenenses v Académica
Sporting Braga v Gil Vicente
Rio Ave v Sporting
Naval v União de Leiria
Estrela da Amadora v Penafiel
FC Porto v Vitória de Guimarães

jornada - 07/05/06 (final day)

Vitória de Setúbal v Nacional
Paços de Ferreira v Benfica
Académica v Marítimo
Gil Vicente v Belenenses
Sporting v Sporting Braga
União de Leiria v Rio Ave
Penafiel v Naval
Vitória de Guimarães v Estrela da Amadora
Boavista v FC Porto


The results table for this 32nd jornada is looking very like binary code.

Benfica went ahead against Nacional in their tiny Madeira stadium with a Miccoli strike on 48 minutes after good work by Manduca on the left. It was a good response to a weak first half, but Benfica couldn't drive home the advantage, and two minutes from time Fernando thundered in a header from a corner. The draw puts Nacioanl within one point of Boavista for the last UEFA Cup place, and the two teams meet next weekend.

Benfica remain within two points of Sporting in the battle between the two Lisbon giants for second place and an automatic passport to next season's Champions League. Sporting missed the chance to steal a march on Benfica after dropping two points at home to Naval, themselves desperately in need of points to avoid the drop. Sporting will be claiming poor refereeing decisions to excuse the lapse, but the fact is that the did not make the most of the many chances they had. Sporting captain Ricardo Sá Pinto was sent off two minutes from time for words to a linesman, thus ending his career on an ignominious note. Naval put up a spirited, organised performance, but remain just two points above the drop zone.

A Luís Coentrão goal a quarter of an hour from the end gave Gil Vicente a precious thee points at home to fellow strugglers Rio Ave. The result lifts Gil out of trouble and puts Rio Ave into it.

Another solitary goal by Marítimo's Zé Carlos on the half hour gave the Madeiran club all three points at Vitória de Setubal.

Paços de Ferreira got a valuable point with a 1-1 draw at home to Belenenses. The result was made in the first half, Edson putting Paços in front on ten minutes, Ruben Amorim equalising on 27.

Estrela da Amadora also got a point at União de Leiria. Rui Duarte put them in front on the stroke of half time, but Fábio Felício gave the home side a point twenty minutes from time.

Liga de Honra side Beira-Mar confirmed their return to the top flight after a season away, a penalty by Brazilian striker Roma beating Olhanense.


FC Porto Champions of Portugal.

In what was virtually a home game for FC Porto at Penafiel, with perhaps 80% of the ground sporting blue and white, the game was won with a dubious penalty on 48 minutes for a 'foul' on Ibson, the spot kick converted by Adriano. In the first half, Alan had hit the bar and Benni McCarthy the post, and it was practically one-way traffic throughout the game, man of the match Nuno Santos in the Penafiel goal keeping Porto out with a series of excellent saves.

Five minutes from time, the Penafiel announcer was rather prematurely congratulating Porto on their title and pleading with the Porto fans to keep off the pitch at the end. Thirty seconds from time, however, the stewards and GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) officers on duty were insufficient to stop the wave of fans that burst onto the pitch. The game was stopped and several Porto players were stripped of their kit: Bosingwa and Adriano left the pitch in their underpants. Twenty minutes later, with GNR riot police now in place, the pitch had been cleared and the final half-minute and the three minutes of added time were played out, with a scare right at the end for Porto as Bruno Amaro drove goalwards but into the safe hands of Hélton. At the final whistle, there was a second peaceful pitch invasion, but this time most players were strategically close to the tunnel.

At the final whistle, fans were already in the traditional place to celebrate the title - Porto's central Avenida dos Aliados - celebrations that were set to continue into the night.


Vitória de Guimarães continue in the drop zone and are looking odds on for relegation after only managing a 1-1 draw at home to eternal rivals Boavista in front of 23,000. On a soggy night in the north of the country, Paulo Jorge put Boavista ahead on 15 minutes, beating Moreno at the back post to a deceptive Manuel José cross from the right. Boavista adapted better to the waterlogged pitch, and things looked even brighter for them when Vitória captain Cléber was sent off on 70 minutes for bringing down Oravec, through on goal. But on 78 and out of nothing, full-back Paíto cracked a drive in from 25 metres to level. Boavista, now two points ahead of Nacional in sixth, remain on course for Europe. Nacional play Benfica this weekend and receive Boavista next.

FC Porto will be Champions if they win at bottom club Penafiel Saturday. Lucho González, Marek Cech and Ricardo Quaresma are all out through suspension. It will be coach Co Adriaanse's first major title. (Article on official UEFA site)

The Liga have announced that they will put off scheduling the penultimate day's games (next weekend) until this jornada is over. Games on the last two jornadas that have a bearing on the title, Europe and relegation are normally played at the same time, traditionally 16.00 on Sunday.

União de Leiria midfielder Paulo Gomes has been suspended for one game and fined 700 euros by the Liga for hitting a team-mate, Harison, during last weekend's match against FC Porto. The decision was made based on TV images; at the time the referee gave nothing.


In an eventful match in Braga, Paços de Ferreira beat the local Sporting 3-2 and moved three points clear of the drop zone. Didi got two goals for Paços, the first a delightful chip over Paulo Santos after a cut in from the left. Paços' second goal, to make it two-nil, came from a controversial moment, the ball clearly shepherded out by Paulo Santos. The linesman did not give it out, Júnior could not believe his luck and walked the ball into the goal. Braga twice pulled the score back through Delibasic and João Tomás from the spot, but at the end they were blaming the refereeing decision on the second goal for the defeat. Braga stay in fourth, and their permanence there is a mere formality.


Marítimo beat Nacional 2-0 in the Madeira derby Sunday. Olberdam got the first on 54 minutes, and Marcinho made the result certain three minutes from time. Marítimo's Kanu was sent off in the closing stages for lashing out at Nacional central defender Ávalos. The result drags Marítimo five points clear of the drop zone, while Nacional missed a good chance of moving into the UEFA Cup places.

One point behind Marítimo are Estrela da Amadora, who held Sporting to a 0-0 draw Saturday. Sporting thus fall seven points behind top team FC Porto, who can clinch the title if they win next weekend. More worrying for Sporting is the fact that Benfica are now just two points behind them in the fight for the second spot, which gives direct access to the Champions League. Benfica had a relatively comfortable 2-0 win at Boavista, who have now gone seven Liga games without a victory. Both goals came in the second half, the first an own goal by Tiago, diverting a Simão free-kick over 'keeper Khadim (on for the injured William). Eight minutes from time, Simão fed sub Mantorras to make the result safe.

At the bottom, six points separate 9th (Marítimo) from 17th (Gil Vicente). Gil did themselves a world of good with a 4-1 win at fellow strugglers Naval. Gregory gave them the lead on four minutes, Fajardo equalising on 40. But then in the second half, Gil went wild and netted three times through Nandinho (2) and Carlitos to keep the team from Barcelos in touch with safety.

Also in touch are Vitória de Guimarães, 3-1 winners over relegated Penafiel. Benachour and Saganowski put Vitória two-up by the break, Wesley extended the lead in the second half and Penafiel got a consolation through Jorginho with 20 minutes left.

Gaúcho put Rio Ave ahead at home to Académica, but four second half goals for the Estudantes, from Gelson (2) Rui Miguel and Pedro Silva (the latter after a brilliant 50-yard solo run) turned the game right around. The result pushes Rio Ave into the fourth relegation place, accompanied by Vitória de Guimarães, Gil Vicente and the already-down Penafiel.


FC Porto moved eight points clear of Sporting at the top of the Liga Friday with a 1-0 win over União de Leiria. Adriano got the goal just before the break, and immediately headed for the bench to dedicate it to coach Co Adriaanse, who lost both his parents this week. Porto's Argentinian midfielder Lucho Gonzalez was sent off for a second yellow ten minutes from time.

Belenenses took a bit of pressure off themselves with a 3-1 win over safe Vitória de Setúbal. All three home goals were scored by Meyong, two from penalties. The Cameroonian striker goes to the top of the table of Liga goalscorers with 17. Setúbal's goal came from veteran Bruno Ribeiro. The Restelo stadium was fuller than usual: the local free newspaper Destak were giving away free pairs of tickets.


FC Porto's Dutch coach Co Adriaanse will be on the bench to guide his team for the visit of União de Leiria Friday, despite the fact that both his parents died this week. A full house of 50,000 is expected at the Estádio do Dragão hoping to see Porto, five points clear of Sporting, take one more giant step towards the title.

Associate members and local residents will get in for nothing for the upcoming Rio Ave v Académica game. The club wants a full house to help push the team to victory in what is a vital relegation battle.


FC Porto forward Ricardo Quaresma has received a fast-track two-game suspension (subject to appeal) after stomping on Sporting full-back Tonel in the weekend's clássico. The decision by the Liga's Disciplinary Committee was taken by means of TV images since the referee did not give anything at the time. Porto coach Co Adriaanse immediately withdrew the player after the incident. Marítimo's Briguel received the same potential penalty.


Penafiel and Boavista ground out Monday what was certainly one of the worst games of football this season has seen. With such a paucity of ideas among the 22 players on show (plus later substitutions), it is not surprising that the final score was as it had started: 0-0. Central defender Ricardo Silva was sent off for a second yellow in the second half and will miss Boavista's reception of Benfica Saturday. After the game, Boavista captain João Pinto was scathing of the referee, but it was not him that could not put more than two passes together. Penafiel are already relegated, while Boavista sneak one point ahead of Nacional into 5th, the last European place.


A lacklustre Benfica were lucky to scrape a 2-2 draw at home to Marítimo Sunday, but the point closes to four the gap on Sporting in the second, automatic Champions League place. With fifteen minutes to go, Marítimo were two-up with goals by Valnei on 37 and the very useful Zé Carlos. But a spectacular volley from outside the area by Petit on 79 and a Simão penalty six minutes (!) into added time saved Benfica's blushes. Marítimo remain in mid-table.

Sporting Braga are now six points behind third after going down to a Carlitos goal on 51 minutes at Vitória de Setúbal. Cup-finalists Vitória are just two points adrift of a European place.

At the bottom, the battle continues to stay in the Liga. Paços de Ferreira snuck out of the bottom four with a 2-1 win at home to Rio Ave. Rui Dolores put Paços in front on 17 minutes, Niquinha equalised on the hour, but João Paulo won the three precious points for Paços a quarter of an hour from the end.

Into the bottom four slip Académica after a controversial game in Coimbra. The home side were two up with both goals coming from Joeano, but Lito in the first half and Saulo in the second gave Naval a point. Académica had three players and their coach, Nelo Vingada, sent off.

Remaining in the relegation places along with Académica, Vitória de Guimarães and the already relegated Penafiel are Gil Vicente who could only draw 1-1 at home to Estrela da Amadora. Santamaria put the visitors in front just before the break with a goal that only the match officials were sure had crossed the line, while Gregory headed the equaliser in the seond half.


FC Porto took a giant step to the regaining of the Portuguese title Saturday with a 1-0 win in front of 49,000 at top-of-the-table rivals Sporting. The result puts five points between the two sides, with Porto having the advantage in games between the two (at the Dragão earlier in the season it was 1-1) and with only four games left.

It was a pretty untidy game, littered with fouls and yellow cards, which led to red cards for Sporting's Ricardo Sã Pinto (in his last clássico before retirement) on the hour and Porto's Bosingwa just minutes afterwards. There was little coherent football to speak of, the importance of the game seeming to get to heads. The teams were finally separated by a goal from Jorginho on 84 minutes, running into the area from an Adriano pass and crashing the ball past the oncoming Ricardo and high into the net off a post.

Earlier in the evening, Vitória de Guimarães' woes were compounded by a 1-0 defeat at União de Leiria, who ensured their permanence in the top flight for another season. Cadú da Silva tapped in from a low cross by Lourenço on 63 minutes to leave Vitória in dire straits at the bottom, relegation looking increasingly likely for them.

Another side tottering on the brink of the drop are Belenenses, who went down 0-4 at Nacional Friday. Two goals apiece from the Brazilians André Pinto and Alexandre Goulart rocked a typically soft-bellied Belenenses.


Rio Ave did themselves a power of good Monday with a 1-0 win over Vitória de Setúbal, who appear to have taken their foot off the pedal after confirming safety. Agostinho got the only goal after just four minutes.


In what was a predictable result, FC Porto returned to the top of the table (after 24 hours in second) with a 3-0 home win over Gil Vicente, stuck in the relegation zone. The result was never in doubt after Cech scored his first league goal in added time at the end of the firstt half, but Porto's task was made easier with two red cards for the Gil players Braima (53) and Bruno Tiago (72). Quaresma scored from the spot on 78 (hand ball by Rovérsio) but had to net on the rebound after Jorge Baptista had parried, and sub Ibson toe-poked the third on 86. Gil coach Paulo Alves was also sent off for kicking the dug-out cover in frustration. Porto are two points ahead of Sporting, and next Saturday's game between the two at Alvalade is being dubbed 'The Game of the Title'.

After seven wins on the trot at the beginning of the second half of the season, Boavista now cannot seem to win to save their life. They went five games without the taste of victory with a 1-1 draw at home to Marítimo, improving under Ulisses Morais. Paulo Jorge put Boavista in front on ten minutes with a neat header from a Manuel José cross, while sub Zé Carlos gave Marítimo a point with a well taken goal from a cross by Filipe Oliveira. In between, Marcos in the Marítimo goal made a handful of excellent saves.

Estrela da Amdora were two-down within half an hour at home to Académica, goals from Joeano and Filipe Teixeira, but an incredible second-half comeback saw them winning 3-2 thanks to goals from Manú and Rui Borges (2), the second of his goals coming deep into added time at the end of the game.

Already relegated Penafiel got a rare point at home to União de Leiria but could have got an even rarer three but for a very late equaliser from União's Lourenço. Penafiel had gone ahead with a very early strike, Diallo beating Costinha after just 35 seconds.


Sporting fans have a saying: "Liedson resolve!" [Liedson resolves games]. Once again it was the diminutive Brazilian striker, nicknamed 'Levezinho' ['Lighty'], who got the single goal to bring all three points back from Guimarães. The goal came ten minutes from the end, Liedson, unmarked and put onside by Moreno from a through ball by Moutinho, crashing the ball high into the net past Nilson. The win provisionally puts Sporting ahead of FC Porto, who play Gil Vicente Sunday. Vitória, whose results week after week belie the obvious quality of the side, remain in the relegation places.

Later in the evening, Benfica kept their tenuous title hopes alive with a 2-1 win at Lisbon neighbours Belenenses. The result was built in the first half, Belenenses going in front on eight minutes through José Pedro, but before the half-hour mark Benfica were ahead through Miccoli and Karagounis. Benfica forward Nuno Gomes twisted a knee in the first half and will be out for at least thre weeks, missing the trip to Barcelona in the week. The absence may prejudice the striker's chances of being this season's top scorer in the Liga.

Naval got three precious points with a 1-0 win at home to fellow strugglers Paços de Ferreira, Fajardo getting the all-important winner eight minutes from time.


Sporting Braga consolidated their fourth place in the Liga and moved to within two points of Benfica in third Friday with a 1-0 win over faltering Nacional. Delibasic got the one goal on just 12 minutes. Nacional's Juliano was sent off five minutes from time for a foul on Wender. Nacional remain two points behind Boavista in fifth, the last position that gains access to Europe next season.



In front of just 1,461 people at the Municipal Stadium in Leiria, local side União and Boavista drew 0-0 Monday. There were many opportunities on both sides, including a post hit in the first half by João Pinto, but the ball just wouldn't go in. Boavista have drawn two and lost two in their last four games, but somehow manage to remain in the European places ahead of Nacional.

After their ninth consecutive defeat, bottom side Penafiel were mathematically relegated to the Liga de Honra Sunday.


FC Porto maintained top spot Sunday, doing the bare minimum at Académica and grabbing all three points with a goal on 70 minutes by sub Hugo Almeida from a through ball by Jorginho. Porto remain two points ahead of Sporting and seven ahead of Benfica in third.

Sporting were also stuck in second gear, but it was more than enough to see off soft touch bottom club Penafiel 2-0 at Alvalade. The game was sewn up by half-time, the goals coming from Nani on 14 minutes and João Alves on 36, the latter a cracking volley from outside the box.

Vitória de Setúbal celebrated their midweek Taça win with a 4-1 drubbing of Naval. Pedro Oliveira, Sandro and Varela put Vitória three-up at the break, Carlitos added another just after it and Naval got a consolation on the hour through Franco.

The team Setúbal beat in the Taça semi-final, Vitória de Guimarães, dropped another two points at Gil Vicente, and both remain in the relegation places along with Penafiel. Cléber scored from the spot on 39 minutes after Gregory had handled on the line and was sent off, but Gil never said die and equalised in added time through João Vilela.

Still not far enough away from the drop zone to breathe easily, Paços de Ferreira beat fellow strugglers Estrela da Amadora 2-1 at home. N'Daye put Estrela in front on 58 minutes, but goals from Júnior Bahia and Didi turned it around for Paços.

There are just six points separating the team in 8th, União de Leiria, from the team in 17th, Gil Vicente. União play Boavista Monday in the closing game of the 28th jornada.


Benfica put five points between themselves and fourth place Sporting Braga Saturday by beating them 1-0 at the Estádio da Luz. Nuno Gomes' 15th goal of the season from a Laurent Robert cross on two minutes, deflected off Paulo Jorge and past Paulo Santos, was enough to see off a strangely ineffectual Braga. The visitors' task was made even more difficult midway through the second half with the sending off of right back Luís Filipe.

Coach Ulisses Morais got his first win with Marítimo, who beat Belenenses at a nicely full Estádio dos Barreiros in Funchal. Caíco got the only goal on 21 minutes, fighting off a challenge from Pelé (giving him a bloody nose in the process) and flicking the ball over the oncoming Marco Aurélio for the Madeiran side's first win in four games. Maritimo go above Belenenses in mid-table

Also in Madeira, Nacional could only draw 1-1 with Rio Ave in a game reaaranged from the previous evening when it had been postponed because of fog. Gaúcho put the visitors in front on 71 minutes, but five minutes later Marchant equalised. Nacional missed the chance to sneak into the Eruopean places at the expense of Boavista, while Rio Ave continue in trouble near the bottom.


Sporting's record of eight straight wins in the Liga was highlighted by UEFA on their official site Monday. Their win Sunday was down to an own goal from their former 'keeper Costinha. Current 'keeper Ricardo has gone 543 minutes without conceding a goal. Ricardo will be first choice ´keeper for the Selecção in Germany come the summer.


The Lisbon rivals Sporting and Benfica both won away from home with a single goal Sunday. Sporting remain within two points of FC Porto at the top, with Benfica five points behind Sporting.

Sporting made the short trip northwards to Leiria to beat União, but it took an own goal by former Sporting ´keeper Costinha three minutes into the second half, after a good run down the left and low cross from Nani, to do it.

Benfica could have had a cricket score at Rio Ave, but their wayward finishing meant they had to settle for one, scored by talisman sub Pedro Mantorras, stabbing in a Simão cross two minutes into added time at the end of the game. Rio Ave had had an Evandro goal disallowed minutes before when Danielson's hooked back pass from a far-post corner was deemed, dubioulsy, to have gone out of play.

Ulisses Morais' first game in charge of Marítimo was not a happy one, his side going down 0-2 at Sporting Braga, who stay in fourth and keep up the pressure on Benfica. Paulo Jorge with a header on 17 minutes and the inevitable João Tomás on 55 got the goals. Marítimo's Filipe Oliveira was sent off in the dying minutes.

Marítimo are skidding ever closer to the drop zone, and in fact there are a handful of teams queuing up to avoid the drop. Estrela da Amadora got a vital three points with a 1-0 win at home to wobbling Vitória de Setúbal, Semedo on target after just nine minutes.

The result was settled in the space of a minute in Guimarães, Académica going in front on 18 through Joeano, Saganowski equalising almost immediatley for Vitória, who need more than just the odd point to drag them out of the relegation zone.

Gil Vicente snatched a point at doomed Penafiel, Gregory scoring first for Gil on the hour, Bibishkov equalising five minutes later. Gil remain second from bottom.


FC Porto cruise on at the head of the table after comfortably seeing off strugglers Paços de Ferreira 3-0 at the Dragão Saturday. McCarthy beat the offside trap from a long ball by Pedro Emanuel and rounded the 'keeper Peçanha for the first on the half hour. Paços' resistance was more or less crushed a minute into the second half when Adriano toe-poked past Peçanha after a superb through ball from wunderkind Anderson. Then on 73 minutes, sub Lisandro Lopes swept in a square pass from Argentinian compatriot Lucho Gonzalez to put the game well and truly beyond Paços, who on this form are certs for the drop. Porto move five points clear of Sporting, who must now win at União de Leiria Sunday to keep up the pressure on their northern rivals.

The other Porto team Boavista lost their third game in a week - two in the Liga, one in the Taça - going down 0-2 at home to improving Belenenses. Zé Manuel blasted a penalty over on 17 minutes after Rolando had brought down Fary, and that more or less reflected Boavista's luck on the night. Belenenses' first serious shot on goal in the second half saw former Boavista midfielder José Pedro crash a shot into the top left hand corner from outside the area on 71 minutes. Six minutes later, Belenenses were two up, 'keeper William's poor goal kick sent straight back goalwards for Meyong to be quicker than the central defenders and score his 14th goal of the season. The Cameroonian striker should not have been there to score, however, after being forgiven a red card following an awful two-footed foul on Tiago early in the second half. Boavista remain in the European places thanks to a slip by rivals Nacional Friday, while Belenenses move into a slightly more comfortable mid-table position.

This weekend's games are being preceded by a minute's silence in memory of the young footballers killed in a road accident last Sunday morning. The team of Inter da Boavista, from Braga, were travelling to a game when their Ford Transit van careered off the road. One player died in the accident, another in hospital on Monday and another on Saturday.


Naval's mini-revival continued Friday (unbeaten in four games, three of them victories) with a 3-1 home win over Nacional, who are going through the opposite type of form (this was their third straight defeat). In a quick, open game, Naval scored two telling goals at the beginning of each half to practically sentence the Madeirans. Goulart passed back illegally to Diego after just four minutes, and Fajardo cracked home the free-kick through a forest of bodies on the Nacional line. But the lead was short-lived, Bulgarian striker Chilikov heading home after good work and a cross from the left by Miguelito. This Naval under new coach Rogério Gonçalves, though, is made of stern stuff, and they came back, Saulo, a constant thorn in Nacional's side, finishing off a superb move on the break to knock in a Fogaça cross at the back post on 20 minutes.

Into the second half, and Nacional were caught out once again by Saulo, finishing off another counter two minutes in. There was a lot of time for Nacional to pull something back, but Naval shut up shop admirably and restricted them to a handful of half-chances. Naval leap to tenth, seemingly out of trouble ... but no ... they are only three points clear of the relegation zone. As for Nacional, well ... they seem to have lost their way completely, and the dream of Europe is increasingly of the 'pipe' variety.


Sporting Braga missed the chance to go above Benfica into third Monday when they went down 0-2 at a surprising Belenenses. The Lisbon club had been a rather limp outfit until this game, but fully deserved the three points with an organised and spirited display that lifts them out of the melee at the bottom of the table. Sandro Gaúcho gave Belenenses the lead on 16 minutes with a header from corner by José Pedro. Five minutes into the second half, Braga left back Luís Filipe took his eye off the ball and Djurdjevic pounced on it, squaring for Meyong to stroke home. Five minutes from time, Braga striker Delibasic saw two yellows in the space of a minute and got his marching orders.


After their European exploits, Benfica came tumbling down to earth Sunday with a 0-0 draw against lowly Naval in front of nearly 50,000 at the Luz. As Águias could complain of two possible penalties not given by referee Carlos Xistra, and a bit of bad luck after they hit a post, but their shooting was also way off mark, Anderson, for example, missing a sitter after the excellent Naval 'keeper Taborda had parried a shot into his path, and their approach play was invariably sluggish. With only eight games left, they are seven and five points adrift of FC Porto and Sporting respectively. Naval's Franco was sent off in the second half for an intentional hand ball that stopped Nuno Gomes going through on goal.

Nacional seem to have lost their way after a superb first half to the season. They lost 1-2 at home Sunday to Estrela da Amadora, who jump a little further away from trouble at the bottom. Manú put Estrela in front on 14 minutes, but it was also an Estrela player who equalised, Bevaqua heading through his own goal before the break. Three minutes from time, Rui Duarte gave Estrela all three points from a free kick.

Vitória de Guimarães remain in the relegation zone along with Paços de Ferreira after their 1-1 draw in Paços. Gabonese striker Antchouet put Vitória in front on 88 minutes, but then in added time, Hungarian defender Dragoner put through his own goal to leave the points shared.


Sporting did enough Saturday to beat an under-strength Boavista 1-0 and keep in touch with FC Porto at the top. Boavista seemed to be controlling things quite comfortably early on, without creating any danger, until the 20th minutes when a free kick on the right from Carlos Martins was palmed away by William. The ball fell to Liedson who knocked it straight back goalwards and there was unmarked central defender Tonel to back-heel in from close range. Boavista proved toothless throughout - Ricardo did not have to make one serious save - but could complain of a penalty not given, Tonel fouling Fary. At the other end, Sporting did get a penalty for a hand ball by Areias a quarter of an hour from the end, but Sá Pinto allowed Wiliam to save. By the end, Boavista were hoiking balls into the area, but it smacked of desperation. Boavista thus end their eight-match unbeaten run, while this was Sporting's seventh successive win.

Before the game, Sporting were presented with the Copa BES/A Bola, awarded to the best of the Três Grandes (FC Porto, Benfica and Sporting) during the season in the games among them. FC Porto won the cup in the last two seasons.

Académica moved further away from trouble with a 1-0 win at home to bottom club Penafiel, Filipe Teixeira getting the goal.

Gil Vicente, however, are deep in it. They lost 1-2 at home to União de Leiria after going in front on 34 miniutes through Bruno Tiago. Lourenço on the stroke of half time and Fábio Felício on 64 minutes turned it round for União.

Marítimo could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Rio Ave.


Whatever happens in the other games this weekend, FC Porto will keep their nose in front in the title race with a 2-0 win at Vitória de Setúbal Friday. Portugal U-21 international Raúl Meireles took the corner that gave Adriano the first goal, a close-range header on 40 minutes, and it was Meireles who headed home from a Quaresma cross five minutes into the second half to clinch the victory. Quaresma's performance was overshadowed by an awful over-the-top foul on Adalto on 28 minutes which put the Brazilian defender in hospital. Referee Pedro Henriques, who saw the whole thing, pardoned the Porto winger a card of any colour.


Rio Ave leapfrogged over Belenenses in the scrap to avoid the drop from the Liga when they beat them 2-1 at home Monday. Brazilian striker Gaúcho, with his 100th Liga goal, put Rio Ave in front on 17 minutes, rising unmarked to head home a simple goal from a free-kick. Belenenses are beginning to have a look of desperation about them; they had high hopes for the season, but have spent most of it struggling. They were further depressed on 82 minutes when veteran Evandro extended Rio Ave's lead. A Rolando goal on the stroke of time was a mere consolation for the Blues.


All the Big Three clubs won this weekend, while the second string around them in the table failed to. Benfica had got three points at Estrela da Amadora Saturday, while Boavista and Sporting Braga both lost two points in their draw.

On Sunday, top team FC Porto beat challengers for a European spot Nacional 3-0. Former Nacional striker Adriano put Benni McCarthy through on 17 minutes for the South African striker to give Porto the lead. Nacional's hopes of turning things round suffered a critical setback on the stroke of half time when Pepe headed Porto two up from a Raúl Meireles free-kick. And Porto clinched the win in the second half with a goal from Argentinian midfielder Lucho González, assisted by winger Ivanildo. On 68 minutes, 17-year-old Brazilian Anderson made his début for the club and might have scored soon afterwards, but he allowed Nacional 'keeper Diego to block when he was through on goal.

Another player making his début helped Sporting, struggling on the night, beat strugglers Gil Vicente 2-0 at Alvalade. Koke came on as sub on 66 minutes and within two had given the Lions the lead. On the stroke of time, the Spanish striker simply confirmed Sporting's overall superiority with a ball bundled over the line after Moutinho had rounded the Gil 'keeper Paulo Jorge and shot goalwards from an angle.

FC Porto are top on 54, Sporting are on 52 and Benfica on 49, while Braga are on 48, Boavista on 45 and Nacional on 43.

José Fonte, central defender on loan to Paços de Ferreira from Benfica, got a hat-trick at bottom club Penafiel. Unfortunately, however, two of them were in his own net ... Pedrinha had put Paços in front on 15 minutes, and Fonte had extended their lead on 23. But then three minutes from half time and well into added time at the end of the game the same player beat his own ´keeper to deprive Paços of two much-needed points.

Académica travelled slightly south from Coimbra to beat União de Leiria 2-0 on their own patch. Filipe Teixeira on 36 minutes and Joeano on 57 did the trick.

Between 9th (Marítimo) and 17th (Rio Ave) position there are now just four points' difference.


Benfica managed a win at Estrela da Amadora Saturday, but they left it until added time to clinch it. Estrela it was that went in front on 31 minutes, Paulo Machado (who should have been sent off in the first five minutes for an awful studs-up foul on Petit) swinging a free-kick from the left inside the near post, with Benfica 'keeper Moretto all at sea. French winger Laurent Robert put As Águias level on 51 minutes with a low cross shot from a Petit corner, and sub Miccoli got the winner in added time, aided by a wild deflection off Estrela central defender Maurício that fooled ´keeper Bruno Vale. Benfica coach Ronald Koeman will be happy with the result, but less happy with the weak performance of his team ahead of Wednesday's crucial Champions League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

Earlier in the evening, Boavista spoiled their run of seven straight wins with a 0-0 draw at home to Sporting Braga. In fact, Boavista were perhaps lucky to get the point, given that they were reduced to ten men early in the second half when central defender Cadú saw a second yellow. But then they could have gone ahead soon afterwards, sub Cissé heading goalwards from a corner and Paulo Santos making a superb on-the-line save. Then in added time, Braga striker João Tomás had a clear chance but blasted over. Boavista will be without Cadú (red), Tiago and João Pinto (accumulated yellow cards) for next week's game at Sporting.

Earlier in the day, Naval, under new coach Rogério Gonçalves, hoisted themselves, at least momentarily, out of the relegation places with a 2-0 win over Marítimo, both goals coming from Bruno Fogaça, early in each half.

Polish striker Saganowski scored a hat-trick Friday as Vitória de Guimarães beat Vitória de Setubal 4-0, Cléber getting the other goal from a penalty. The result lifts Guimarães out of the relegation zone.

Given the poor attendances at their games (in one of the 30,000-capacity EURO 2004 stadiums), União de Leiria have offered free tickets for their match Sunday against Académica.



Sporting Braga clawed their way back above Benfica into third place Monday, four points behind FC Porto, with a resounding 5-0 hammering of Rio Ave. Rio Ave kept Braga to a single goal before the break, João Tomás jinking inside from the left on 34 minutes and firing low inside the near post. Rio Ave put some pressure on in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but their finishing was lame and on 63 minutes João Tomás crashed the ball in at the back post for number two after a nudge on by Cesinha from a cross by Rossato. Rio Ave's heads dropped and they were doomed from that point on. The best goal of the night was the third, four minutes later: Luís Filipe marauded down the right, crossed low, Cesinha stepped over it, fooling the whole of the Rio Ave defence, and Vandinho was following up to clip his shot in. The last fifteen minutes saw goals from the South Korean Kim and Delibasic, on as sub and playing for the first time since Day 3.

You had to feel sorry for Rio Ave 'keeper Candeias, making his first start of the season, but on this form Braga are irrepressible and must have had alarm bells ringing among the teams around them. As for Rio Ave, they are in the relegation zone along with Naval, Vitória de Guimarães and Penafiel, as good as down. But there are a mere six points separating the team in 9th, Marítimo, and the team in 17th, Guimarães. It's going to be some battle to stay up.


It was far from a classic clássico the one played out Sunday at the Luz between Benfica and FC Porto. There was a lot of huffing and puffing, a lot of niggling fouls and a lot of midfield tussling, but very few decent moves of note, and even fewer clear chances on goal. Until the single goal of the game, Benfica's best move was one driven by Nuno Gomes on the half hour, ending with a neat one-two with Karagounis on the edge of the area but then a shot that hit row Z. Five minutes later, Quaresma, far too hot-headed on the night (a tendency that may deny him a place in Germany) found time between attacks of nastiness to cross low from the right for McCarthy to be beaten by a whisker to the ball at the near post, Anderson clearing. Then on 40 minutes, Robert was felled by the otherwise excellent Paulo Assunção 35 metres out. The French winger got up, dusted himself off and drove in a low swerving free-kick that Baía misjudged: a veritable frango that Baía owned up to after the game, his 400th for the club. Benfica might have been two up a minute later, but Nuno Gomes, put through by Simão, snatched at his shot when he only had Baía to beat.

FC Porto put up some meek resistance in the second half, but Benfica were on top of it (Luisão, for example, having another exemplary game), and Porto looked far from being the pace-setters in the Liga. In added time, McCarthy latched onto a Lucho González through pass to the right of goal, swivelled and shot but, like his team's perfomance on the night, it was off the mark. Porto coach Co Adriaanse, now giving flash interviews in faltering Portuguese, admitted as much. Adriaanse has now lost all eight of the head-to-heads with Ronald Koeman over the years.

Porto's lead at the top is thus reduced to two points over Sporting, Benfica are five points off the pace and Sporting Braga and Boavista seven. Braga play Monday at home to Rio Ave.

Vitória de Setúbal consolidated seventh position with a 2-0 win over doomed Penafiel. Goals in the first half from Binho and Adalto did the damage.

Naval did themselves some good at the bottom with a 3-2 win at irregular Belenenses. The visitors were two up within 35 minutes through Tiago Fraga and Saulo. Nélson Veiga put through his own goal on 73 minutes to give Belenenses some hope, but it took just three minutes for Naval to restore the two-goal lead through Lito. Meyong scored from the spot with two minutes left, but it was too late to turn it round.

João Paulo gave Paços de Ferreira the lead on 32 minutes at home to improved União de Leiria, but a defensive mistake let in Lourenço for the equaliser on 71 minutes. Paços need the points to escape the drop, but they dropped two needlessly here.

In an even mid-table battle in Madeira, Marítimo beat Estrela da Amadora with a single goal from Kanu on 54 minutes.


In an open, eventful game in Coimbra, in the centre of the country, Sporting came away 3-0 winners at the expense of a spirited Académica, threatened with relegation. Sporting were 1-0 up within two minutes, Deivid crossing low from the left for Moutinho to bundle in at the far post. But Académica came back strongly, and it was only their wayward finishing that prevented them from drawing level. It wasn't until the 57th minute that Sporting could rest a little more easily, but what a goal it was when it came. A long clearance from the back was misjudged by Académica central defender Hugo Alacântara who effectively headed on for Liedson, the Brazilian controlling the ball with his right and volleying in with his left from a full 25 metres. It was heavy going for Académica from then on in, and things were not improved on the stroke of time when goalkeeper Pedro Roma gave Liedson a backhander and saw a straight red card. Nani sent the stand-in goalkeeper Gelson the wrong way from the spot. Sporting are now just two points behind FC Porto and await the result of Sunday's clássico between Benfica and FC Porto, perhaps for once hoping for a Benfica win.

Earlier in the evening, another open game saw Vitória de Guimarães earn a 1-1 draw in Madeira against Nacional. Wesley put Vitória in front on 14 minutes, Wesley striding forward from the centre circle and only stopping when he had passed the Nacional defence and planted the ball past Diego. But Chilikov headed in a free kick on 38 minutes to put Nacional back on level terms, and that's how it stayed. Guimarães remain in the relegation zone, while Nacional drop out of the European places, overtaken by Boavista, who won on Friday.

Sunday's clássico between Benfica and FC Porto will be a sell-out, which means 65,000 at the Luz. The game will be Porto 'keeper Vítor Baía's 400th for the club; he will be playing because Hélton, recently first choice, is injured.


Boavista stretched their run of straight Liga victories to seven Friday with a 1-0 win at Gil Vicente. Boavista took the lead on nine minutes, an unmarked João Pinto heading immaculately past Paaulo Jorge from a free kick on the right by Manuel José. Then the rain started, torrentially, and neither side was able to put together any coherent football, although Gil had the better of the play. After the final whistle, there were scuffles on the pitch and Luís Coentrão of Gil Vicente and Boavista's Hélder Rosário were both shown red cards.


Vitória de Setúbal moved to within a handful of points of their pre-season objective Monday: to stay in the Liga. they did it at the expense of mid-table rivals União de Leiria, strangely pale on the night, and thanks to a goal six minutes into each half from two on-loan players: the first from Varela (Sporting), the second from Carlitos (Benfica). Vitória stretch their lead over União to five points.


FC Porto kept their five-point lead over Sporting at the top but extended it to eight points over Benfica Sunday with a 1-0 win over Marítimo. Raúl Meireles scored the goal on 21 minutes, striding unchecked throught the Marítimo midfield and driving past Marcos from outside the area. Five minutes later, Williams headed off the line from Lucho González. The referee gave Porto a penalty for hand ball and showed Williams a red card, but upon advice from the assitant linesman, he corrected his decision. Marítimo's starting line up included nine Brazilians.

A goal from sub Cesinha on 65 minutes gave Sporting Braga all three points at strugglers Naval. Top scorer João Tomás missed from the spot in the dying minutes. Braga move into third place ahead of Benfica, seven points behind Porto.

Nacional moved back into fifth, nine points behind Porto, with a 2-1 win at 'red lantern' Penafiel. Alexandre Goulart put the Madeiran side in front on 11 minutes, Orahovac equalised for Penafiel on the stroke of half-time but Chilikov got the winner on 65.

Gil Vicente just shaded a ding-dong battle to beat Académica 4-3 in Barcelos and move out of the relegation zone. Joeano put Académica in front on just seven minutes, João Pedro equalised for the home side on 22, Mateus put Gil ahead on 24, Joeano got his second from the spot on 35 and Gregory put Gil in front at the break with a goal on 39 minutes. Joeano got his hat-trick on 72 minutes to put the teams level, but then a minute from time, Carlos Carneiro got the winner in a famous victory for Gil. Académica's Pedro Silva saw a second yellow near the end.

Silas on 34 minutes and Ruben Amorim, fed by Silas, three minutes later gave Belenenses a solid lead that local mid-table rivals Estrela da Amadora could not surmount, although they did pull one back on 74 minutes through central defender Maurício with a free kick.


On a filthy night in Portugal that produced squelchy playing surfaces, the two Lisbon Grandes had differing fortunes.

Sporting received Paços de Ferreira and finished with all three points. The victory was initiated with a dubious penalty on the half hour, Paços 'keeper Peçanha appearing to clear the ball from the feet of midfielder João Moutinho. The referee saw nothing, unlike the linesman. Ricardo Sá Pinto scored from the spot. It wasn't until the last five minutes that Sporting made the result safe, subs Deivid and Tello scoring, both set up by the other sub Nani. Sporting climb to within two points of FC Porto, with the top team facing Marítimo Sunday. Paços remain perilously close to the drop zone.

Benfica did not fare so well on their wintry trip north to Guimarães. They never came to terms with the conditions, and Vitória always seemed the team more likely to succeed. Vitória went in front on 20 minutes, helped by a stroke of luck, midfielder Svärd sending a speculative long shot goalwards that ballooned off Ricardo Rocha's head and over Moretto in the Benfica goal. Twenty minutes from time, Neca clipped in a loose ball from ten metres to put the game beyond Benfica, whose coach Ronald Koeman admitted after the game that the club's title aspirations are now seriously jeopardised: they are five points behind FC Porto, which could extend to eight Sunday. Vitória remain in the relegation zone, but this result and their perfomance augur well for the near future.


Boavista made it six Liga wins in a row Friday, but they left it until added time against Rio Ave to translate their superiority on the night into the three points they deserved. The win enables the team from Porto to sneak into the European places, a position that will depend on the results of Sporting Braga and Nacional's games.

Rio Ave it was that came off the blocks sprinting, going in front on just three minutes through an unmarked Bruno Mendes with a header from a corner. Ricardo Silva, five minutes from half time, put the game even with a text-book header from a Manuel José free kick on the right. Boavista had varios chances to take the lead, but they were foiled by an excellent display from Mora in the Rio Ave goal and, on one occasion, by the bar after a long shot by Zé Manel. Five minutes from time, Rio Ave had Danielson sent off for a second yellow, and then into added time, Manuel José found the top right hand corner with a frontal free-kick to leave the result 2-1.


Vitória de Guimarães secured three precious points Monday in their fight for survival at the bottom of the Liga, winning 1-0 at faltering Marítimo. Saganowski got the only goal on five minutes, cracking a Moreno cross in at the near post. Marítimo were unable to undo Vitória's super-organised rearguard, and matters were made worse on 80 minutes when Marcinho saw a red card for hitting Flávio Meireles, and the Madeiran side were down to nine when captain Van der Gaag was sent off on the stroke of time for protesting a decision. Vitória are still five points away from safety, but this was a vital win.


The Liga returned to normal Sunday: the Big Three are first, second and third, Sporting and Benfica moving to within five points of FC Porto after wins. Meanwhile, Sporting Braga dropped two points at home and Nacional got thumped 4-1, also at home.

Sporting were the better side at Vitória de Setúbal and deserved the three points, Carlos Martins driving home a free kick from thirty metres and hitting another free kick that Marco Tábuas could only parry, Moutinho knocking in the rebound. Carlitos pulled one back for Vitória from the spot after Sã Pinto had handled. Vitória appear to be in free-fall after a marvellous first half to the season.

Benfica saw off Penafiel 4-0 at the Luz, but the bottom side put in a spirited performance and were unlucky not to have goals to show from some good chances in the first half, Moretto saving twice from Roberto. Geovanni got Benfica's first on 36 minutes, after a superb through ball from Petit. Then on the hour, Roberto headed through his own goal from a Petit corner. That knocked the stuffing out of Penafiel, and with their game getting more ragged, Nuno Gomes made it three on 77 minutes after good work down the left by Petit and Léo, whose cross it was. In added time, captain Simão added a fourth with Penafiel's defence all at sea.

Sporting Braga are in fourth, two points behind the Lisbon two. They were one-nil down at home to Estrela da Amadora, André Barreto scoring his first for the club, but João Tomás saved some of their blushes. Braga should have capitalised on their numerical advantage, though, after Estrela 'keeper Bruno Vale was sent off with half an hour to go.

In-form União de Leiria travelled to Madeira and embarrassed high-riding Nacional 4-1, with three goals in the first half hour from Alhandra, Paulo César and João Paulo from the spot. Goulart reduced the lead just before the break, also from the spot, but Maciel made it four for União with twenty minutes left.

Naval did themselves some good in their fight against relegation with a 1-0 win at Rio Ave, who missed two penalties. Franco got the only goal.

Paços de Ferreira also picked up some valuable points at the bottom with a 1-0 win over Gil Vicente, their first in seven games. Júnior Bahia was on target for Paços.


Both Porto clubs, FC Porto and Boavista, won away Saturday, both by 2-0 and both thanks to a couple of goals from one striker.

FC Porto dominated Belenenses throughout and translatd the dominance into three points, the goals coming from Adriano, his first for the club in official games. His first was just before half time, knocking in a low Ricardo Quaresma cross at the back post. His second, six minutes into the second half, was virtually a carbon copy of the first, but this time Quaresma's cross was from the left. Porto extend their lead at the top to eight points, albeit provisionally.

Boavista visited Académica and also dominated, although possession went Académica's way. But they could not find their way through a Boavista defence that has let in just one goal in the last seven games (Liga and Taça), all wins for the 'Panthers'. A rejuvenated Boavista took the points with two goals from an equally rejuvenated João Pinto. His first was a superb near-post header from a Zé Manuel free kick on the left. For his second on 77 minutes, he picked up an excellent square pass from Paulo Jorge, rounded Pedro Roma in the Académica goal and slotted home. Boavista continue to climb towards Europe.


FC Porto dominated Sporting Braga for large stretches of Monday's game but still dropped two points in a 1-1 draw. They were in front ten minutes into the second half, Adriano forcing a block from the excellent Paulo Santos in the Braga goal, with Argentian midfielder Lucho Gonzalez first to the rebound for a tap in. Porto's sin was trying to sit on the lead late in the game, and as often happens, their caution came up and bit them on the behind: two minutes from time, Bruno Alves, brought on as sub to bolster the defence, fouled South Korean forward Kim (possibly offside) in the area, and João Tomás made no mistake from the spot. Two great late saves by Paulo Santos from Raúl Meireles and Bosingwa gave Braga, who had never been able to kick-start their normally slick passing game, a point they did not really deserve.

Porto move five points clear at the top, with Sporting, Sporting Braga and Benfica all on 40. (see results and table)

Nacional coach Rui Alves is to report Sporting captain Ricardo Sá Pinto to the Liga after he was allegedly threatened after Saturday's game between the two clubs. Alves is also considering pressing criminal charges.


Vitória de Guimarães remain deep in trouble at the bottom of the table after they could only draw 2-2 with Belenenses Sunday in a game between two clubs that had voiced ambitions to European football next season but that now seem doomed to struggle to avoid the drop. Romeu scored against his old club on 43 minutes, taking advantage of some reckless over-confidence by Vitória 'keeper Nilson, but Belenenses' jubilation was short lived, Dário rifling home from inside the area on the stroke of half-time. On the hour Saganowski put Guimarães infront, but once again the advantage could hardly be savoured before Ruben Amorim drove in low from outside the area to equalise for Belenenses. and so it remained, Vitória's Paulo Sérgio hitting a post in the final minutes. Vitória remain seven points off safety.

The big score of the day was the 5-0 thumping by Gil Vicente over European contenders Vitória de Setúbal. Carlitos and Rovérsio in the first half and Carlitos again, Carlos Carneiro and Mateus in the second did the damage.

Bottom club Penafiel refuse to give up without a fight, beating Marítimo at home in a ding-dong 3-2 battle. Kanu put the visitors in front on 16 minutes, Roberto equalising on 32. On the hour, Dill gave Penafiel the lead, but an own goal by Sérgio Lomba five minutes later put the teams back on level terms. It was left to Bruno Amaro to give Penafiel all the points a quarter of an hour from the end.

Estrela da Amadora and Rio Ave ground out what by all accounts was a 0-0 draw of no interest whatsoever.


Benfica crashed 1-3 at União de Leiria Saturday in front of 17,000. It was their second straight defeat, with six points lost and six goals conceded. The Águias had their chances to put the game beyond União, but they came up against a brick wall in 'keeper Costinha. It was União who went in front, captain and central defender João Paulo moving upfield to crack home a low shot from 30 metres that Moretto saw late and could not reach. They extended their lead on 57 minutes, Luisão losing the ball in a dangerous frontal position; Paulo César shot, Moretto parried and Fábio Felício was on hand to tuck the ball away. Benfica thought they were back in it on 81 when Manduca, on as sub, hit a first time shot from an angle to beat Costinha. But it was the only time the excellent 'keeper would have to pick the ball out of the net, and on 87, Maciel on the counter-attack put the game beyond a Benfica that has lost its way in the last two games.

Sporting took advantage of Benfica's slip to move above them into second place with a 1-0 win over table rivals Nacional. A goal from defender Marco Caneira, fed by Liedson, five minutes into the second half was enough to move Sporting a point above Nacional and on the same points as Benfica, although Sporting have the advantage over their Lisbon rivals in the head-to-head. FC Porto are four points clear, and can increase the gap to seven if they beat Sporting Braga on Monday.

Académica moved further away from the relegation zone with a comfortable 3-0 win over Paços de Ferreira, all the goals coming in the second half from Gelson, Mangualde (own goal) and Serjão.


Boavista continued their run of good form with a 3-0 win over Naval, their fourth in a row. It was all over bar the shouting after just five minutes. An ummarked Figueiredo, making his league debut, headed home a João Pinto corner on a minute, and João Pinto swivelled to hit home a loose ball from close range on five. On the hour, it was the former Portuguese international once again who supplied the cross for Lucas to make the result beyond doubt.



Académica dragged themselves out of the relegation zone Monday with a 1-0 win at Vitória de Setúbal in what was a very scrappy affair, with Vitória just edging it in scrappy factor. Académica's goal came through Joeano on 70 minutes, stretching to tap in an N'Doye cross. But the Brazilian appeared to be offside, and initially, it appeared that the linesman had flagged for just that, but then he seemed to change his mind and the goal was allowed.


FC Porto missed a prime opportunity to stretch their lead to six points over Benfica at the top of the Liga when they could only draw 0-0 at Rio Ave Sunday. Porto dominated throughout but could not get the goals against a resolute Rio Ave rearguard.

Nacional and Sporting Braga both moved to within five points of Porto. Nacional beat Gil Vicente 2-0 in Madeira with goals from André Pinto in the first half, his twelfth of the season, and Ávalos in the second. Meanwhile, Braga pushed neighbours Vitória de Guimarães further into trouble at the bottom with a 1-0 home win, João Tomás heading home a Rossato cross on 52 minutes.

Nacional's Madeiran rivals Marítimo also won at home, 3-0 over União de Leiria. In a fifteen minute spell midway through the second half Zé Carlos got two and Kanu got a penalty to knock União's hopes on the head.

The result of the day was Belenenses' 5-0 pounding of lanterna vermelha Penafiel, who have just eight points from 20 games and may as well start packing for the trip down to the Liga da Honra. French forward Hassan Ahamada got a hat-trick, the other two goals coming from Rolando and Romeu. Belenenses' Sandro Gaúcho got a red card just before the break, Penafiel's Odair just after.


Sporting got the double over Benfica Saturday with an impressive and conclusive 3-1 win at the Luz in front of a crowd of 63,489. Sporting were the better team throughout, despite going behind to a Simão penalty. Another penalty, this time from Sá Pinto, and two goals from Liedson sorted Benfica out. Benfica could drop to six points behind FC Porto if they win at Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting in turn pulled themselves up to within three points of Benfica. (see match report)

Relegation-threatened Naval threw themselves a lifeline with a 2-0 win over Estrela da Amadora, the goals coming from Lito and Fajardo, one in each half.


Boavista continued their good run (three straight victories) with a 1-0 win at struggling Paços de Ferreira Friday. Paulo Jorge got the goal on 21 minutes, neatly clipping a Paulo Sousa through ball past Paços 'keeper Peçanha. Five minutes later, left back Areias was sent off leaving Boavista to defend their lead practically for the rest of the game.


There will be 600 police officers on duty in and around the Estádio da Luz Saturday evening for the clássico Benfica v Sporting, considered 'high risk' by the authorities.


The 19th jornada finished with a draw Monday, Belenenses clawing back a point at União de Leiria. União had gone in at the break two goals up through César and Touré , but a fighting display in the last 20 minutes, and goals from Sousa and Silas, turned it around for the Lisbon club.

There were no games on Sunday due to the presidential elections in Portugal (won by former Prime Minister, the rightist Social Democrat Hanibal Cavaco Silva), but Saturday saw a fullish programme.

FC Porto returned to clear top of the Liga, three points ahead of Benfica, with a 1-0 win over Naval. Porto's performance was far from impressive, earning whistles from the crowd at the end. In fact it was only an own goal from Naval captain Fernando on the half hour that gave Porto the advantage.

Sporting also struggled at home to Marítimo, but they were less lucky, losing two points in a 1-1 draw. Romagnoli got his first goal for Sporting on just seven minutes, cracking home a lay-off from Liedson. This was cancelled out on 42 minutes by Fahel, an overhead kick from close range after the Sporting defence had failed to clear. On 65 minutes, Sporting 'keeper Ricardo saved a penalty from Souza to at least leave the Lisbon 'giants' with a point.

Boavista continued their mini-revival with a 2-1 win at home to Estrela da Amadora. Central defender Ricardo Silva knocked home a loose ball on just two minutes to give Boavista a springboard, but ten minutes into the second half, Santamaria scored from the spot after Cadú had fouled Carreira. Luckily for Boavista, the referee also saw a foul at the other end three minutes later, this time by Anselmo on Cadú, and Zé Manuel made no mistake with the penalty.

Vitória de Setúbal earned their first win under new coach Hélio, 2-1 at Paços de Ferreira. Binho and Bruno Ribeiro gave the visitors a two-goal lead going into the break, reduced ten minutes into the second half by Ronny.

An early goal from Gaúcho for Rio Ave put Vitória de Guimarães under pressure, relieved somewhat a minute into the second half with a header from Saganowski. But Vitória are struggling to find their rhythm, and the tension is showing: Senegalese striker N'Doye allegedly put a man in hospital after the game when a small group of fans started verbally abusing the players as they entered their hotel.

Nacional dropped another two points, missing out yet again on a chance to push to the top of the Liga. This time it was a 0-0 draw at Académica.


Benfica drew level with FC Porto (at least provisionally) at the top of the Liga Friday, beating Gil Vicente 3-1 in an Estádio Municipal de Barcelos more than three-quarters full of benfiquistas. It was Gil that went in front, however, Nandinho scoring from the spot on nine minutes against his old club, after Simão had brought down Carlitos, also a former Benfica player. It was the first goal conceded by Benfica in nine games. Just seven minutes later, Benfica were level, Simão netting also from the spot after Marcos António had handled in the area. Geovanni put the champions in front on 33 with a first time strike from the edge of the area after a run down the right and low cross from Nuno Gomes. Ten minutes into the second half, Benfica went two goals in front after an awful mistake by Gil goalkeeper Jorge Baptista, kicking air instead of the ball from a back-pass by Marcos António. And that was that.

Sporting Braga drew 0-0 at bottom club Penafiel Thursday. Wender, who had been Braga's hero in the previous two games with three goals, missed a penalty near the end.


Boavista notched up their first away win of the season, beating Vitória de Setúbal 2-0 Monday. It was Vitória's second straight defeat, and the stuffing appears to have been knocked out of their strong start to the season. A refreshingly coherent Boavista were on top virtually thoughout and got the points with goals by Zé Manuel on 76 minutes (a well placed drive from the edge of the box after a superb though ball from João Pinto) and Manuel José ten minutes later against his old club. Boavista move into seventh, four points behind Vitória.


FC Porto slipped to only their second defeat of the season Sunday, their first away, when they went down 1-2 at useful Estrela da Amadora, notching up their third win in a row. Estrela were all over Porto in the first half and went in at half-time two-up with goals by Maurício from a free kick and Coutinho with a drive that went through Vítor Baía's legs. Porto reorganised in the second half and pushed Estrela back, but they could only manage one goal from all their chances, a neat goal on the hour by Lucho Ganzalez from a chipped through ball by Paulo Assunção. The win moves Estrela up to seventh, while Porto remain top, but their lead is now reduced to just three points.

Hot on Porto's heels are Benfica, who beat Académica 3-0 at the Luz with goals by Simão from the spot on four minutes, Luisão with a header on 78 and Nuno Gomes in added time. Académica protested that they should have had a penalty, which if converted would have made it 1-1, when Luisão handled in the box, but the referee saw nothing.

Nacional drew 2-2 at home for the second week running, this time against Paços de Ferreira. André Pinto put Nacional in front, his 11th goal of the season. Júnior equalised for Paços from the spot, and from the same place, Alexandre Goulart put Nacional back in front. But five minutes from time, central defender Luíz Carlos won a point for Paços.

Nacional's Madeiran neighbours Marítimo also drew at home, 1-1 against Gil Vicente. Gil went ahead on 26 minutes with an own-goal from Nuno Morais, and the home side left it until ten minutes from time to grab a point through Zé Carlos.

Naval and Vitória de Guimarães, both in need of points to escape the danger zone at the bottom, could only manage one apiece in a 0-0 draw.

Poor old Penafiel went down once again, this time 0-2 at Rio Ave, Evandro and Keita getting one in each half.


Sporting Braga moved into second in the Liga with a 1-0 home win over União de Leiria, breaking a three-match winning streak for União. Wender, recently returned from Sporting, scored his third in two games to secure the three points.

Lisbon giants Sporting travelled across town to steal all three points at hapless Belenenses. Tonel scrambled the ball in on 28 minutes after Marco Aurélio had failed to clear a Carlos Martins corner. Belenenses missed the chance to equalise on 67 minutes when Hugo Amorim blasted over a penalty. And in the closing minutes, Sporting's Sá Pinto allowed Marco Aurélio to save another penalty. Sporting remain fifth, while Belenenses hover just above the relegation zone.


União de Leiria closed the first half of the season with a bang, winning 2-1 at Rio Ave and climbing to seventh, above Boavista. União were two up within a quarter of an hour, Milhazes putting through his own goal and Alhandra. Evandro pulled one back for Rio Ave on 66, but it was not enough.


FC Porto reinforced their position at the top of the league Sunday with a comfortable win, albeit by a single goal, over local rivals Boavista. Boavista were a nonentity in the first half and went behind to a Ricardo Quaresma free-kick on 22 minutes, deflected past Carlos by the head of Zé Manuel. Boavista were much improved in the second half but were restricted to a couple of chances that Manuel José could not get past Vítor Baía. In the dying minutes, Boavista captain João Pinto was sent off for a second yellow, both for words to the referee.

Benfica were comfortable winners also over Paços de Ferreira, 2-0 at the Luz. Paços were good for the first ten minutes, but an own goal by João Duarte after a cut inside and shot by Nélson on the left was enough to throw their entire game plan out of kilter. Geovanni's near-post effort from a Simão cross for Benfica's second was enough to confirm Benfica's superiority. The game saw the débuts of Moretto in the Benfica goal (he had to make his first serious save on 90 minutes), Laurent Robert and Manduca, the latter two as substitutes.

Estrela da Amadora beat Vitória de Guimarães 2-0 at home, leaving the northern club second from bottom. Second-half goals from nippy forwards Manú and Semedo were enough to hoist Estrela away from the relegation zone.


In a thrilling match Saturday, Sporting Braga beat Sporting Lisbon 3-2. Wender, returning on loan to Braga after a less than famous spell at Sporting, headed in on 32 minutes to give Braga the lead. João Tomás made it 2-0 on 50 minutes, but then by the 70th minute Liedson had levelled the score with two opportunist goals. It was left to Wender to get the winner on 78 minutes, cocking a snook at the club that had let him go. Braga leapfrog Sporting into third place.

Académica travelled to Madeira and came away with a point from their 2-2 draw with Marítimo. Os Estudantes went ahead through Joeano on 15 minutes, but Marítimo turned it around through Rincón on 34 and Marcinho on the stroke of half time. Académica left it until two minutes from time for Hugo Alcântara to get the equaliser.

At the bottom, Penafiel's woes pile up. This time they were trounced 4-1 at Naval. Saulo gave Naval a 1-0 lead going into half time, but in the second half they stepped up a gear and went three up through Fernando and Lito. José Rui pulled one back for Penafiel on 72 minutes before Franco confirmed Naval's superiority on 83.


Nacional dropped two points at home to Vitória de Setúbal but still move three points clear of Benfica and three points behind FC Porto at the top. The Croat Franja put Vitória in front on the half hour after Ricardo Fernandes had handled in the area, and it wasn't until the 70th minute that Nacional could get back in the game against the best defence in the Liga: Patacas crossed from the right for André Pinto to direct a header inside the far post. André Pinto got a second just four minutes later to put Nacional in front, shooting from a distance after Binho had lost the ball in midfield. But in the dying minutes, Vitória salvaged a point through the Frenchman Lacombe , who had just come on as sub.

A weedy Belenenses lost 0-2 at home to Gil Vicente, Gil looking the more organised and objective team throughout. Despite losing Rodolfo Lima on the stroke of half time, sent off for a foul on Meyong, they pressed forward and got both goals in the second half through Carlitos with a marvellous solo effort on 64 minutes and Bruno Tiago on 81, driving home a loose ball from outside the area. "We were terrible", admitted Belenenses coach José Couceiro. Gil join Belenenses on 20 points, only two away from the relegation zone.


Games in the Liga will be played as from the 18th day with the Teamgeist ball designed for next summer's World Cup. Up until now, the ball used has been the Roteiro , used at Euro 2004.


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