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liga news - 2007

footballportugal

31/12/07

The balance sheet of fair play at the Christmas interval (games only resume on 04/01) has Estrela da Amadora at the top. Liga leaders FC Porto are fifth. Boavista are bottom: The top team at the end of the season could have an UEFA Cup place.

1 Estrela da. Amadora
2 Vitória de Setúbal
3 Leixões
4 União de Leiria
5 F.C. Porto
6 Académica
7 Sporting
8 Vitória de Guimarães
9 Nacional
10 Belenenses
11 Paços de Ferreira
12 Sporting Braga
13 Marítimo
14 Benfica
15 Naval
16 Boavista

24/12/07

Sporting Braga conceded a 0-0 draw at home to northern rivals Boavista Sunday, despite dominating during all but the first 15 minutes. Bad marksmanship, bad luck and a good display from Liechtenstein international 'keeper Peter Jehle kept Braga out, the last ten minutes a perfect illustration: sub João Tomás missed two sitters, and a Jorginho header was palmed against the bar by Jehle.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, João Pereira, Anilson, Rodriguez, Carlos Fernandes, Roberto Brum, Frechaut, Vandinho (Jaílson 57), Jorginho, Linz (João Tomás 79), Wender.

Boavista: Peter Jehle, Rissut, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Mário Silva, Gilberto, Jorge Ribeiro, Fleurival (Diakité 60), Zé Kalanga, Fary (Bangoura 62), Mateus (Pedro Moreira 71).

After three consecutive defeats, Marítimo returned to their winning ways and leapfrogged Belenenses into seventh. The victims were União de Leiria, who are rock bottom with just five points from 14 games. Fogaça put the Madeiran side ahead, while Sougou equalised for União, both in the first half. Djalma gave Marítimo the three points in the second half.

Vitória de Setúbal could only draw 1-1 at Leixões, Jorge Gonçalves giving the visitors the lead on 18 minutes, his namesake Filipe Gonçalves levelling for Leixões five minutes later. Setúbal remain in 5th, losing ground on Vitória de Guimarães in 4th, while Leixões are 11th.

23/12/07

Sporting, like their Lisbon neighbours Benfica, made up ground on FC Porto at the top with a 2-1 win over a Paçõs de Ferreira, a side whose low position in the Liga belies their quality. Paços went in front on 10 minutes, Edson finishing off a good cross from Cristiano. Seven minutes later, Sporting were level, Vukcevic finishing off a Miguel Veloso pass. Still, Sporting were finding it hard to make headway against a combative and cohesive Paços, until, that is, the hour mark: Vukcevic was through on goal but was brought down by 'keeper Peçanha, who saw a straight red. Romagnoli sent Pedro the wrong way from the spot. Paços kept plugging gamely away, but the numerical inferiority told in the end.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Rui Patrício, Abel, Tonel, Gladstone (Marian Had 86), Ronny (Izmailov 46), João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Romagnoli (Adrien Silva 71), Vukcevic, Liedson, Purovic.

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde (Furtado 87), Rovérsio, Tiago Valente, Chico Silva, Pedrinha, Filipe Anunciação, Dedé, Edson (Ricardinho 80), Cristiano, Wesley (Pedro 63).

Sporting go third, nine points behind FC Porto, two behind Benfica and one ahead of Vitória de Guimarães, who beat Belenenses 1-0 in an excellent game of open football. Ghilas got the only goal of the game, prodding in at the near post from a cross by Andrezinho.

Académica made the short trip to Figueira da Foz to beat Naval by the same score in the Central Portugal derby, Cris getting the goal on 50 minutes. Académica move up to 12th, one point behind Naval in 10th.

22/12/07

FC Porto lost for the first time in the Liga this season at Nacional.Friday. Porto were without inluential winger Ricardo Quaresma through suspension and they seemed to feel it in the last third. Nacional were up for challenging the Liga leaders and secured the three points with a cracking shot from outside the area on 57 minutes by their top scorer Lipatin. Nacional's Felipe Lopes was sent off in the dying minutes for a second yellow.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Cardozo, Felipe Lopes, Alonso, Ávalos, Cléber, Juliano, Lipatin (João Coimbra 84), Juninho (José Vítor 66), Adriano (João Moreira 55).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pedro Emanuel, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho Gonzalez, Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles (Leandro Lima 66), Mariano Gonzalez (Kazmierczak 78), Hélder Postiga (Adriano 60), Lisandro Lopez.

21/12/07

Benfica eventually strolled to a 3-0 win against disappointing Estrela da Amadora at a less-than-half-full Luz Thursday. Benfica were whistled off at half time after a poor display, but they came out with more ideas in the second and went ahead through Cristian Rodriguez on 51 minutes, heading in a long throw-in from Binya. Maurício brought down Di Maria after 70 minutes, Cardozo sending Nélson the wrong way from the spot. And the score was completed with Nuno Gomes finishing off good work from Di Maria a minute from time.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim;,Nélson (Nuno Gomes 46), Luisão, David Luiz, Léo, Katsouranis, Binya, Maxi Pereira, Rui Costa (Di Maria 46), Cristian Rodriguez (Freddy Adu 82), Cardozo.

Estrela da Amadora: Nélson, Rui Duarte, Wagnão, Maurício, Hélder Cabral, Fernando, Tiago Gomes, Yoni (Pedro Pereira 72), Mateus, Ndiaye (Anselmo 69), Luís Aguiar (Fábio 74).

16/12/07

Sporting came from behind at Marítimo on Sunday to win 2-1 and gain ground on Lisbon rivals Benfica, who lost on Saturday. It was Sporting's third successive victory (following wins in the Taça de Portugal and Champions League) but first win in three Liga outings, while Marítimo have now suffered three straight defeats.

Marítimo it was that went in front on the hour, Fogaça beating Adrien Silva to the ball at the back post from a cross on the left to head in past Rui Patrício. It was ten minutes later that Sporting responded, Vukcevic firing in from close range, the ball deflecting wildly off a defender's toe and fooling Marcos. The same Vukcevic got the winner 15 minutes later, finishing off a head down from Liedson, although the Brazilian striker was in an offside position from the cross, delivered by Abel from the right.

Sporting are now in third, two points behind Benfica and 12 behind FC Porto.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, Ricardo Esteves, Ediglê, Van der Linden (Fernando 68), Evaldo, Wénio, Bruno, Fábio Felício, Kanu (Gregory 90), Mossoró, Bruno Fogaça (Marcinho 83)

Sporting: Rui Patrício, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Ronny (Pereirinha 72), Miguel Veloso, Adrien Silva (Romagnoli 58), Vukcevic, João Moutinho, Purovic (Gladstone 89), Liedson

15/12/07

Sporting Braga opened the 13th jornada of the Liga Friday with a 2-0 win at traditionally difficult Paços de Ferreira, moving provisionally into fourth place in the table. Linz put Braga in front on 34 minutes from a pass by Wender, and the same Wender fed Vandinho on the hour. Braga's central defender Paulo Jorge was sent off three minutes later for a second yellow, but even in numerical supriority, Paços could not find a way back.

The teams lined up:

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Ferreira, Tiago Valente, Kiko (Fernando Pilar 72), Chico Silva, Dedé, Filipe Anunciação (Cristiano 50), Pedrinha, Edson (Renato Queirós 63), Furtado, Wesley.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Rodriguez, Carlos Fernandes, Frechaut, Roberto Brum; Jorginho, Vandinho (Castanheira 77), Wender (Anilton Júnior 69), Linz (Jailson 69).

04/11/07

Vitória de Guimarães came from behind against Académica Monday to win 2-1 and move into third place in the Liga. Pavlovic put Académica in front on 22 minutes, and that's the way it stayed until the second half when Ghilas on 51 minutes and Mrdakovic on 69 gave Vitória the precious three points.

The teams lined up:

Vitória: Nilson, Andrezinho, Sereno, Geromel, Desmarets, João Alves (Targino 35), Flávio Meireles; Fajardo, Ghilas (Carlitos 67), Alan, Rabiola (Mrdakovic 46).

Académica: Pedro Roma, Orlando, Litos, Kaká, Pedro Costa; Paulo Sérgio, Pavlovic (Joeano 82), Ndoye, Lito, Ivanildo (Miguel Pedro 76), Vouho (Hélder Barbosa 56)

03/11/07

02/11/07

If the clássico had gone the other way, Benfica would have been a single point behind FC Porto, but it is the portistas who are now seven points in front, in turn giving Sporting the chance to catch up on their Lisbon rivals when they play União de Leiria Sunday.

Benfica came out all guns blazing in front of over 60,000 at the Luz, but Nuno Gomes squandered an early chance and the game soon reached a stalemate, broken four minutes from half-time by Ricardo Quaresma ("It's always special to beat Benfica"), jinking inside David Luíz on the right before curling the ball low past Quim with the outside of his right boot. It was enough to settle the result.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Luizão, David Luiz, Luís Filipe, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis (Cardozo 64), Maxi Pereira (Dí Maria 70), Cristian Rodriguez, Rui Costa, Nuno Gomes (Adu 78).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Fucile, Lucho, Paulo Assunção, Raúl Meireles (Bollati 80), Tarik Sektioui (Hélder Postiga 60), Lisandro, Quaresma (Mariano González 68).

01/11/07

Vitória de Setúbal, now fourth, and Belenenses drew 1-1 Friday in the opening match of the 12th jornada. The result was decided within the first quarter of an hour, Weldon putting Belenenses in front on five minutes, Ruben Amorim putting through his own goal on 13. Former Vitória central defender Hugo Alcântara was sent off five minutes from time.

The teams lined up:

Vitória de Setúbal: Eduardo, Janício, Robson, Auri, Jorginho, Elias (Paulinho 87), Sandro, Ricardo Chaves, Leandro (Edinho 53), Cláudio Pitbull, Matheus (Bruno Gama 72).

Belenenses: Marco, Ruben Amorim, Rolando, Hugo Alcântara, Areias, Gabriel Gomez; Hugo Leal (Cândido Costa 60), Silas, José Pedro, Roncatlo (Fernando 81), Weldon (Gonçalo Brandão 86).

The clássico between Benfica and FC Porto at the Luz Saturday, in front of an expected 60,000, of whom 3,000 will be portistas, will be controlled by over 600 police officers . Benfica can move to within one point of Porto if they win.

 

27/11/07

Boavista secured their first Liga win of the season Monday against old rivals Vitória de Guimarães. The Black Panthers were 2-0 up within a quarter of an hour, Fary netting on two mintes, Radanovic putting through his own goal on 13, both from low curling free kicks by Jorge Ribeiro out on the left. But Boavista let Vitória back in the game: sub Felipe headed in on 21 minutes, and another sub, Targino, equalised on 67 minutes. But a last desperate assault by Boavista had Marcelão heading another Ribeiro free kick back across the goal for captain Ricardo Silva to tap in from close range.

26/11/07

FC Porto kept the four-point buffer between themselves and second-placed Benfica with a 2-0 win over difficult Vitória de Setúbal Sunday. Top scorer Lisandro López got the first after just five minutes, finishing off a chain of passes down the middle of the pitch, and Ricardo Quaresma finished Vitória off with a swinging drive from outside the box on the right that beat Eduardo high at the near post.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pedro Emanuel, Bruno Alves, Marek Cech, Lucho Gonzalez, Paulo Assunção (Kazmierczak 86), Raul Meireles (Farías 86), Tarik Sektioui (Mariano Gonzalez 63), Lisandro Lopez, Ricardo Quaresma.

Vitória de Setúbal: Eduardo, Janício, Auri, Robson, Adalto, Elias (Filipe Gonçalves 79), Sandro, Ricardo Chaves, Paulinho (Edinho 46), Cláudio Pitbull, Matheus (Bruno Gama 62).

Paços de Ferreira moved away from the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Nacional, Wesley netting after just seven minutes.

João Ribeiro also gave his team, Naval, an early lead at Marítimo, this time on four minutes, and it was enough to secure a valuable three points for the side from Figueira da Foz.

Belenenses and Estrela da Amadora drew 0-0 in an unventful game at the Restelo Stadium: Estrela set out their stall for a 0-0 draw and went home happy ... unlike the few hundred that braved the chill November evening to watch the spectacle.

25/11/07

Liga action returned this weekend after a lay-off for international matches, and it was Benfica that lost no time in setting the bar.

A 3-1 win at Académica put them within one point of top team FC Porto, who receive Vitória de Setubal Sunday. It was the Coimbra side that went in front, Lito scoring on 25 minutes following an N'Doye free-kick. Benfica equalised ten minutes later, Rui Costa netting from 25 metres following a di Maria freee-kick. It was even-stevens until the last five minutes when poor goalkeeping by Ricardo let in Luisão, with a neat back-heel, and sub Freddy Adu to make the final, rather exaggerated scoreline.

The teams lined up:

Académica: Ricardo, Nuno Piloto, Litos, Kaká, Pedro Costa, Paulo Sérgio, Pavlovic (Hélder Barbosa 88), Lito, N´Doye, Ivanildo (Miguel Pedro 46), Vouho (Joeano 59).

Benfica: Quim, Luís Filipe, Luisão, David Luiz, Léo, Katsouranis (Petit 60), Binya; Nuno Assis (Cardozo 10), Rui Costa, Di Maria, Nuno Gomes (Freddy Adu 62).

The teams lined up:

Sporting, meanwhile, dropped more points in relation to their main rivals, only managing a 1-1 draw at Leixões. They left it until the last five minutes to salvage something, Purovic netting to save more vivid blushes after Abel had put through his own goal after a quarter of an hour. Sporting are now six points behind Lisbon rivals Benfica and could be ten points behind FC Porto, depending on Sunday's result.

Leixões: Beto, Filipe Oliveira, Nuno Silva, Elvis, Ezequias, Jorge Duarte (Nwoko 63), Bruno China, Jorge Gonçalves, Pedro Cervantes (Vieirinha 70), Hugo Morais, Roberto (Vinicius 82).

Sporting: Rui Patrício, Abel, Gladstone, Polga, Ronny (Purovic 27), Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Izmailov, Romagnoli (Farnerud 80), Vukcevic (Pereirinha 65), Liedson.

On Friday, União de Leiria and Sporting Braga could not get beyond a 0-0 draw, the fourth in 15 meetings between the two teams. Bottom club União have scored just five goals all season, and here striker Jõao Paulo hit a post and had a penalty saved by Paulo Santos. Braga themselves had the ball in the net twice, both times disallowed for offside. It was not a famous début for new coach Manuel Machado after the 3-0 defeat of Sporting two weeks ago under caretaker António Caldas.

13/11/07

Marítimo won the Madeiran derby Monday, beating Nacional 2-0 at Nacional's hillside stadium. Giant striker Makukula got the first on 25 minutes, with Wénio scoring the second on 65. Marítimo are in 6th place, one point behind Sporting and Vitória de Setúbal, while Nacional are 9th.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ricardo Fernandes, Ávalos, Igor Pita, Juliano, Cléber, João Coimbra, Juninho (Adriano 82), Lipatin (Cássio 67), Edu Sales (João Moreira 46).

Marítimo: Marcos, Ricardo Esteves, Ediglé, Van der Linden, Evaldo, Mossoró (Marcinho 68), Wénio, Olberdam (Fernando 42), Luís Olim, Kanu, Makukula (Bruno Fogaça 88).

The opening game of the 11th jornada on Friday threw up a 0-0 draw between União de Leiria and Sporting Braga. It was new coach Manuel Machado's first full game in charge of Braga, who are 7th, while União remain planted at the bottom of the table with just four points from 11 games.

12/11/07

Sunday threw up quite surprising results involving the Big Three.

Top team FC Porto were two up at Estrela de Amadora, with goals from Lisandro López and Raul Meireles, and appeared to be cruising to victory before a disastrous final five minutes. First Porto goalkeeper Hélton charged out of his goal to punch away a long free-kick but was beaten to the ball by towering central defender Maurício, the ball looping in. Then Porto's central defender Stepanov tugged Jermiah's shirt, Mateus netting from the spot.

The teams lined up:

Estrela da Amadora: Nélson, Rui Duarte, Wagnão, Maurício, Hélder Cabral, Marco Paulo, Marcelo Goianira (Mateus 46), Tiago Gomes, Vítor Moreno (Ndiaye 72), Anselmo, Yoni (Jeremiah 46).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Stepanov, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho Gonzalez (Bolatti 69), Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles (Kazmierczak 86), Tarik Sektioui (Adriano 76), Lisandro Lopez, Ricardo Quaresma.

The two points dropped (for the second week in a row) allow Benfica to move to within four points of the top team. Boavista, playing their best football of the season, gave the Lisbon side a good run for their money in a balanced first half, although it was Benfica who went in one up, Cardozo scoring from close range after some good interplay from Rui Costa and Nuno Gomes.

Boavista were shaken on 55 minutes with a red for a second yellow to Zé Kalanga, but they were also stirred into a response, Jorge Ribeiro equalising after a magnificent run down the left by Mateus. Maxi Pereira on the hour and Cristiano Rodriguez five minutes later put Benfica two in front, with sub Laionel hitting the post for Boavista on 80. That would have made it 3-2, but then came the collapse::a minute later, a Ricardo Silva own-goal made it 4-1, and two more from Nuno Gomes in the last five minutes, one from the spot, made it 6-1. Sub Bergessio had the chance to make it 7-1 from the spot, but Jehle, making his Liga début for Boavista this season, dived to his right to save.

The result was an exaggerated reflection of what had happened on the pitch, but even so, Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco offered his resignation. The club, equal second from bottom, is, however, going through a change of presidency, and no decision on Pacheco's future is likely to be taken in the very near future.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Luís Filipe, Luisão, Katsouranis, Léo, Maxi Pereira (Di Maria 68), Binya, Rui Costa (Romeu Ribeiro 86), Cristian Rodriguez, Nuno Gomes, Cardozo (Bergessio 77).

Boavista: Jehle, Rissut, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Bruno Pinheiro, Fleurival, Diakité, Jorge Ribeiro (Laionel 75), Zé Kalanga, Fary (Edgar 62), Mateus (Bangoura 81).

Sporting came undone in Braga, going down 3-0 to the local Sporting. Fréchaut headed Braga in front on 25 minutes, and a three-minute spell around the hour mark finished Sporting off: Linz prodded in from close range and Jorginho crashed home a brilliant half volley at the back post from a corner. Sporting's woes were compounded five minutes from time with a red for Tonel after a nasty high challenge on João Pinto. The result leaves Sporting fifth, eight points behind Porto.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, João Pereira, Rodriguez, Paulo Jorge, Carlos Fernandes, Frechaut, Roberto Brum, Jorginho, José Manel (Stélvio 60), Linz (João Pinto 85), Wender (Hussaine 71).

Sporting: Tiago, Abel, Polga, Tonel, Ronny (Purovic 46), Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Romagnoli, Izmailov (Pereirinha 60), Liedson, Djaló (Had 68).

Vitória de Setúbal's excellent season continues, this time the team winning 3-1 at home to Académica. Matheus, Elias and Cláudio Pitbull (a pennalty) got Vitória's goals, Fofona getting a consolation for Os Estudantes.

Naval took advantage of bottom club União de Leiria's abysmal form (just three points from ten games) to win 1-0, Marcelinho scoring from a free kick. It was Vítor Oliveira's first game in charge of União after Paulo Duarte's exit.

On Saturday, Vitória de Guimarães could only draw 0-0 at home to battling Paços de Ferreira, desperately in need of points. Even so, Vitória, newly promoted, are third in the Liga.

Belenenses and Leixões drew 1-1 on Friday. In-form José Pedro put Belenenses in front on four minutes, and it wasn't until near the end that sub Nwoko equalised for the visitors.

With the Liga going into a forced break for international football (with the Madeiran derby, Nacional v Marítimo, still to play), the table looks like this:

1. FC Porto 26 points from 10 games
2. Benfica
22 10
3. V. Guimarães
19 10
4. V. Setúbal
18 10
5. Sporting
18 10
6. Marítimo
14 9
7. Sp. Braga
14 10
8. Belenenses
13 10
9. Nacional
10 9
10. Leixões
10 10
11. E. Amadora
9 10
12. Naval
9 10
13. Académica
8 10
14. Boavista
6 10
15. P. Ferreira
6 10
16. U. Leiria
3 10

06/11/07

Vitória de Guimarães climbed to fourth in the table, on equal points with Sporting and seven points behind FC Porto at the top, after a bad-tempered 1-0 win in Madeira against Marítimo. The Marítimo captain Bruno saw a direct red on 33 minutes after he lashed out at his opposite number Flávio Meireles, and the Maarítimo coach Sebastião Lazaroni was sent off just before the break after continuosly protesting the referee's decisions. Sub Ghilas it was who got the goal on 70 minutes that gave Vitória all three points.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, Ricardo Esteves, Ediglê, Van der Linden, Evaldo, Bruno, Olberdam; Kanu (Bruno Fogaça 86), Marcinho (Wénio 36), Mossoró (Luís Olim 83), Makukula

Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Andrezinho, Sereno, Geromel, Luciano Amaral (Mohma 17) (Fajardo 39), Flávio Meireles, João Alves (Ghilas 62), Carlitos, Desmarets, Alan, Mrdakovic

05/11/07

Sporting put four past Naval Sunday in a 4-1 win that brings them to seven points behind FC Porto. Moutinho put Sporting in front on ten minutes, with Diego heading Naval level on 28. On the hour, Liedson put Sporting back in front with an excellent goal from nothing, curled in from the edge of the area. Naval 'keeper Taborda was sent off seven minutes later for bringing down Liedson, but Moutinho allowed substitute 'keeper Wílson Júnior to save the spot kick. Sporting added two in the last five minutes through Vukcevic and Gladstone.

Boavista and Setúbal played out one of two 3-3 draws. Boavista were 2-0 up within 25 minutes through Fleurival and Jorge Ribeiro, but Pitbull pulled one back in added time of the first half. Auri levelled for Vitória on 57, and Edinho gave them the lead on the hour. Marcelão fluked the equaliser for Boavista on 71.

Académica and Estrela da Amadora played out the other. Lito got a hat-trick for Académica, the first by any player this season, with Maurício, Anselmo and Wagnão getting the visitor's three.

União de Leiria stayed at the bottom after a 1-3 home defeat to Nacional, Spadacio, Juninho and Fellype Gabriel scoring for the Madeiran side. Paulo César got a consolation in the last minute. The result was the last straw for União coach Paulo Duarte, who handed in his resignation after the game.

04/11/07

Benfica beat Paços de Ferreira 2-1 away on Saturday to go second in the Liga, taking advantage of FC Porto's slip-up on Friday to move to within six points of the leader. Cristian Rodríguez put the Eagles in front on 21 minutes, Tiago Valente equalised eight minutes later and Katsouranis got the winner four minutes from time.

The crisis at Sporting Braga continues. After a week that saw the sacking of coach Jorge Costa, they went down 0-3 at Leixões, the Matosinhos team's first win of the season. Roberto and Bruno China gave them a two-goal lead going into the break, and Jorge Gonçalves made it three a quarter of an hour from time.

03/11/07

FC Porto's eight-match run of consecutive wins was cut short Friday when they could only draw 1-1 at home to a well organised Belenenses. Porto's game was affected by the injury to captain Lucho González on 10 minutes, but they went in front on 20, a fortuitous block by Paulo Assunção falling for Hélder Postiga (in an off-side position) to net his first Liga goal of the season. Five minutes into the second half, however, José Pedro broke through and flicked past the oncoming Helton, and from that point on, Porto increasingly lost their calm as a certain desperation set in over the continuation or not of their run. They did have chances, notably through Bruno Alves from set pieces and top scorer Lisandro López, but the scoreboard stayed the same till the end.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Stepanov, Bruno Alves, Cech, Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles, Lucho (Leandro Lima 10, Tarik 60), Quaresma, Lisandro, Hélder Postiga (Adriano 71).

Belenenses: Costinha, Cândido Costa, Rolando, Hugo Alcântara, Rodrigo Alvim, Gabriel Gomez, Ruben Amorim, Silas (Evandro Paulista 47), José Pedro, Weldon (João Paulo 89), Roncatto (Rafael Bastos 77).

 

30/10/07

FC Porto extended their run of wins to eight Monday, beating Leixões 3-0 at the Dragão. The game was virtually sewn up in the first seven minutes, Lisandro Lopez and Sektioui netting. Lisandro got a second ten minutes from time (his eighth of the season) to take Porto to a maximum 24 points, eight points ahead of Benfica in second, nine ahead of Sporting in third.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa (Marek Cech 13), Stepanov, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho Gonzalez (Mariano Gonzalez 70), Bolatti, Raul Meireles, Tarik Sektioui (Hélder Postiga 59), Lisandro Lopez, Ricardo Quaresma.

Leixões: Beto, Marco Cadete (Tales 72), Nuno Silva, Elvis, Ezequuias, Paulo Machado, Bruno China, Pedro Cervantes; Vieirinha (Livramento 80), Roberto, Jorge Gonçalves (Filipe Oliveira 46).

Sporting Braga travelled south to Figueira da Foz and could only manage a 1-1 draw against Naval. Saulo put the home side in front inside the first minute, and it took a penalty on 57 minutes, converted by Linz, to give Braga the point. Naval's Elivelton was sent off on the hour fpor a second yellow.

The teams lined up:

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Diego, China, Davide (Eanes 85), Gilmar, Dudu (Lopes 62), João Ribeiro (Hugo Santos 76), Elivelton, Saulo.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Rodriguez, Carlos Fernandes, Vandinho, Madrid, Jorginho, Hussaine (Linz 46), João Tomás (Jailson 52), Wender (José Manuel 46).

29/10/07

Benfica climbed to second in the Liga with a 2-1 win in a thrilling game at home to Marítimo Sunday. Kanu put the Madeiran side in front on seven minutes, lobbing Quim from an acute angle (...) Then on 17 minutes, the Paraguayan striker Cardozo put Benfica level from the spot after Ricardo Esteves had handled a Rui Costa cross. What could have been a turning point in the game occurred on the half-hour mark, Quim bringing down Kanu as he rounded the Benfica ´keeper and was set to score. Quim was sent off, and Makukula had the chance to bury Benfica. But Butt, the substitute 'keeper, had other ideas and dived to his right to keep out the Portuguese international's spot kick.

Marítimo could not take advantage of their numerical superiority, however, and sure enough, it was Benfica who took the points, left back Léo going on a crazy run down the right and crossing low for sub Freddy Adu to flick in from close range. The win leaves Benfica five points behind FC Porto, who receive Leixões on Monday.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Maxi Pereira (Freddy Adu 80), Luisão, Edcarlos (Butt 30), Léo, Katsouranis, Binya, Di Maria (Luís Filipe 46), Rui Costa, Cristian Rodriguez, Cardozo.

Marítimo: Marcos, Ricardo Esteves, Ediglê, Van der Linden, Evaldo, Mossoró, Olberdam, Wénio, Marcinho (Djalma 78), Makukula (Briguel 81), Kanu.

Boavista drew 0-0 at Estrela da Amadora in a game of little interest. Boavista hit the post twice, through Grzelak and Jorge Ribeiro, but neither team deserved to win this poor match.

28/10/07

Sporting lost ground in respect of their traditional rivals after a 0-0 draw at Madeiran side Nacional. Once again, coach Paulo Bento's decision to play Miguel Veloso in the centre of defence in the absence of Anderson Polga removed coherenece from the midfield, and it had repercussions throughout Sporting's plaay.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Igor Pita, Cléber, Bruno Amaro, Juninho, Fellype Gabriel (Edu Sales 80), Cássio (Rodrigo 67), Lipatin (José Vítor 76

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel, Tonel, Miguel Veloso, Marian Had (Ronny 46); Izmailov (Purovic 67), João Moutinho, Vukcevic (Pereirinha 67), Romagnoli, Liedson, Yannick

Vitória de Setúbal continued their excellent start to the season with a 3-1 win at home to Paços de Ferreira. Auri, Edinho and Gama scored for the home side, while Luís Carlos got Paços' goal

Belenenses could only draw 0-0 at home to Académica.

27/10/07

Vitória de Guimarães kept up the good start to their season Friday with a 2-1 win over Uniao de Leiria. Friday. João Paulo put the vistors in front after a quarter of an hour, Mrdacovic equalised on 46 minutes and Rabiola gave Vitória the points in added time.

09/10/07

Sporting Braga needed a Roland Linz penalty five minutes from time to beat Nacional, the penalty given for a handball by central defender Ricardo Fernandes. Both sidea had had a hatful of chances before that, but bad aim and good goalkeeping kept both goals untouched. Alonzo (86) and Juliano (94) saw direct reds for Nacional, César Peixoto saw one (93) for a second yellow.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Dani Mallo, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Frechaut, César Peixoto, Andrés Madrid (Roberto Brum 33), Vandinho (Castanheira 75), Jorginho, Hussaine, Linz, Wender (Jaílson 58)

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Alonzo, Cléber, Bruno Amaro, Juliano, Fellype Gabriel, Juninho (João Moreira 58), Lipatin (Cássio 65).

Boavista do still not know what it is like to win this season, going down heavily 2-4 at home to Belenenses. Former Boavisteiro José Pedro gave Belenenses the lead on 26 minutes from the spot (a dubious penalty given against Carlos), central defender Marcelão equalising with an ostentatious overhead kick from ten metres. Silas restored Belenenses' lead with a well-placed shot from the edge of the box on 51 minutes, Marcelão got his second with a free kick on 67, but Gabriel Goméz once again put the visitors in front, Marcelão was sent off ten minutes from time for a second yellow, and José Pedro killed his former club at the death.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: Carlos, Rissutt, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Mário Silva (Mateus 66), Fleurival, Diakité, Jorge Ribeiro, Edgar (Fary 88), Bangourá, Grzelak (Zé Kalanga 76).

Belenenses: Costinha, Amaral, Hugo Alcântara, Rolando, Rodrigo Alvim, Silas (Gonçalo Brandão 89), Rúben Amorim, Gabriel Gomez, Roncatlo (Fernando 56), José Pedro, Weldon (João Paulo 83).

Paços de Ferreira got their first win of the season at home to Estrela da Amadora. Furtado on 71 minutes and Renato Queiróz on 73 gave Paços the leeway that not even an Anselmo goal five minutes from time could shake. Paços thus climb from bottom spot to leave União de Leiria there.

07/10/07

Sporting climbed provisionally into second place in the table Saturday with a hard-fought 3-0 win over one of the Liga's surprise teams Vitória de Guimarães. In fact the score flattered the home side, and it was only in the last half hour that they broke through Vitória's resolve. The first goal came on the hour from a situation in midfield where Purovic clearly fouled Vitória captain Flávio Meireles. The foul was not given and the ball broke for sub Izmailov to lob Nílson. The Russian got his and Sporting's second eight minutes later, a speculative shot from 25 metres that took and awkward bounce from the appalling Alvalade pitch (it will be replaced this week) to wrong-foot Nílson. Then five minutes from time, central defender Tonel rose above everyone to crash home a header from a corner.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Stojkovic Abel, Tonel, Polga (Had 76), Ronny (Izmailov 46), Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Romagnoli, Vukcevic, Yannick (Purovic 46), Liedson

Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Andrezinho, Sereno, Geromel, Luciano Amaral, João Alves, Flávio Meireles (Rabiola 70), Carlitos (Mrdakovic 64), Ghilas, Desmerets, Alan

02/10/07

Leixões stole a point at Académica Monday with a 1-1 draw. They went in front on 63 minutes through Hugo Morais, but Lito equalised 15 minutes later.

01/10/07

Vitória de Guimarães climbed to third in the table Sunday with a 1-0 win over local rivals Sporting Braga in the Minho derby. Vitória were always the better side, but the manner of their win was controversial: on 52 minutes, Geromel headed goalwards from a corner and it looked like Andrés Madrid had cleared off the line, but the goal was given. Vitória were reduced to ten men on 76 minutes with the expulsion of top scorer Fajardo, but the home side managed to hold out.

The teams lined up:

Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Andrezinho, Sereno, Geromel, Luciano Amaral, Flávio Meireles, Fajardo, João Alves (Carlitos 89), Alan (Moreno 79), Mrdakovic (Ghilas 68), Desmarets.

Sporting Braga: Dani Mallo, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Frechaut, César Peixoto, Vandinho (José Manuel 70), Andrés Madrid, João Pinto (Jailson 63), Jorginho, Linz, Wender (Hussain 70).

Marítimo remain second in the table, despite only drawing 1-1 at Estrela da Amadora. Tiago Gomes headed Estrela in front early in the second half, central defender Fernando equalising for the Madeiran side on the hour.

A Roncatto goal just before the break gave Belenenses the three points in a 1-0 victory over Paços de Ferreira, who have yet to win this season. Both sides have European duty this week, against Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar, respectively.

Vitória de Setúbal kept up their good start to the season with a 2-0 home win over União de Leiria. Auri got the first on the hour, with Edinho clinching the result at the death.

Nacional got their first win at home, 2-0, to now-bottom club Naval. Gabriel scored the first and assisted Cássio for the second.

 

30/09/07

Boavista's best performance of the season was not enough in the Porto derby Saturday to stop an FC Porto who now have six victories from six. In front of 31,000 at the Dragão, Argentinian forward Lisandro López was Boavista's executioner, knocking the ball in on 15 minutes after Carlos had fumbled a Ricardo Quaresma free kick, and a quarter of an hour from the end working himself into a position to fire past Carlos' right hand.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Stepanov, Bruno Alves, Cech, Lucho Gonzalez (Bolatti 78), Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles (Adriano 78), Tarik Sektioui (Leandro Lima 46), Lisandro Lopez, Ricardo Quaresma.

Boavista: Carlos, Rissutt, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Moisés, Fleurival, Diakité, Jorge Ribeiro, Zé Kalanga (Bangoura 52), Edgar, Mateus (Laiomel 70).

In the Lisbon derby at the Luz,
Benfica and Sporting could do no more than huff and puff to a 0-0 draw in front of 48,000 fans expecting more of a spectacle, the result benefiting only FC Porto.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, EdCarlos, Léo, Katsouranis, Rui Costa (Nuno Assis 88), Maxi Pereira, Di Maria (Adu 82), Cristian Rodriguez, Nuno Gomes (Cardozo 76).

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Ronny, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Romagnoli, Vukcevic (Farnerud 68), Djaló (Celsinho 83), Liedson.

25/09/07

Boavista and Académica drew 0-0 Monday in the last game of the fifth jornada. It was a dull affair, neither side deserving to win, although Boavista came closest, hitting the bar twice.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: Carlos, Rissut, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Moisés, Diakité, Essame (Gilberto 46), Jorge Ribeiro, Zé Kalanga (Hugo Monteiro 78), Bangoura, Mateus (Ivan 68).

Académica: Pedro Roma, Pedro Costa, Orlando, Kaká, Vítor Vinha, Tiero (Cris 46), Paulo Sérgio, N'Doye, Fofana (Miguel Pedro 46), Joeano (Lito 74), Hélder Barbosa.

24/09/07

FC Porto continue to lead the way in the Liga after a fifth straight win, this time at Paços de Ferreira. Paços gave as good as they got but were ineffective in front of goal, while Porto's Lisandro López was not, netting both goals (11 and 67 minutes)

The teams lined up:

P. Ferreira: Peçanha, Ferreira, Luiz Carlos, Rovérsio, Mangualde, Dedé, Filipe Anunciação (Pedrinha 57), Fernando Pilar, Ricardinho, Edson (Edson Di 69), Cristiano (Furtado 33).

FC Porto: Nuno, Bosingwa, João Paulo, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho, Paulo Assunção (Tarik Sektioui 82), Raul Meireles (Bolatti 63), Lisandro, Edgar (Leandro Lima 57), Quaresma.

Sporting and Vitória de Setúbal drew 2-2 in an exciting game on the atrocious Alvalade pitch. Elias put Vitória in front four minutes before the break, João Moutinho equalised from the spot on 65 minutes, Matheus restored Vitória's lead on 77 (a 'frango' from Stojkovic) and Purovic thumped home a header five minutes from time.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel, Gladstone (Romagnoli 46), Polga, Ronny, Vukcevic (Yannick 71), Miguel Veloso, Farnerud (Izmailov 46), João Moutinho, Liedson, Purovic

Vitória de Setúbal: Eduardo, Janício, Robson, Auri, Jorginho, Elias, Ricardo Chaves (Filipe Gonçalves 82), Sandro, Paulinho (Bruno Ribeiro 59), Matheus, Pitbull (Leandro Branco 63).

Benfica could only draw 0-0 at Sporting Braga, leaving them already six points behind rivals FC Porto at the top. But for Quim in the Benfica goal, in fact, Benfica would have come away with nothing; one save of a Roland Linz header from close range was exceptional.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Dani, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Frechaut, César Peixoto, Castanheira (Wender 69), Madrid, Vandinho, Zé Manuel (Lenny 69), Linz, Jorginho

Benfica: Quim, Luís Filipe, Edcarlos, Katsouranis, Léo, Di Maria (Cardozo 65), Maxi Pereira, Rui Costa (Romeu Ribeiro 86), Gilles, Rodriguez, Nuno Gomes (Nuno Assis 65)

Marítimo kept up their superb start to the season with a 2-0 win over Belenenses in Madeira. Kanu got the first on 25 minutes, with Makukula confirming the result on the stroke of time.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, Ricardo Esteves, Ediglê, Van der Linden, Evaldo, Marcinho, Bruno, Olberdan, Fábio Felício (Luís Olim 90), Kanu (Mossoró 70), Makukula (Bruno Fogaça 90).

Belenenses: Costinha, Cândido Costa (Mendonça 62), Rolando, Hugo Alcântara, Devic (Roncatto 51), Rodrigo Alvim, Silas (João Paulo Oliveira 81), Gabriel Goméz, Ruben Amorim, José Pedro, Weldon.

Leixões drew 1-1 with Nacional at a re-modelled Estádio do Mar on Saturday. Lipatin put the visitors in front on 15 minutes after a counter attack, but Nuno Diogo equalised ten minutes from time.

União de Leiria could do no more than draw 0-0 with Estrela da Amadora in front of yet another sparse home crowd.

The teams lined up:

União de Leiria: Fernando, Éder Bonfim, Bruno Miguel, Éder Gaúcho, Laranjeiro, Hugo Faria, Tiago, Paulo César (Toñito 71), Maciel (N´Gal 57), João Paulo, Sougou

Estrela da Amadora: Nélson, Rui Duarte, Maurício, Wagnão, Cardoso, Tiago Gomes, Fernando, Pedro Pereira, Mateus (Luís Aguiar 73), N´Diaye (Nuno Viveiros 87), Moses (Anselmo 57).

22/09/07

Vitória de Guimarães hit Naval for four Friday, although the hosts were actually in front for 20 minutes through Paulão. Then Flávio Meireles and Fajardo in quick succession turned the game Vitória's way, and Mrdakovic and Ghilas, both in the second half, confirmed Vitória's good form.

The teams lined up:

Naval: Wilson, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Gaúcho, China, Delfim (Lazaroni 79), Gilmar, Godemeche (Dudu 46), João Ribeiro, Davide (Saulo 55), Marcelinho.

Vitória de Guimarães:
Nilson, Andrezinho, Geromel, Sereno (Márcio Martins 77), Luciano, Flávio Meireles, João Alves (Moreno 80), Fajardo, Alan, Mrdakovic (Ghilas 65), Desmarets.

03/09/07

Marítimo are top of the table after recording their third win, this time 2-0 at home to Académica. Makukula got them off to a great start with a goal on three minutes, but then he was sent off for a second yellow four minutes later, meaning that Marítimo were down to ten men for over 80 minutes. But Académica were unable to exploit this fact, and it was Marítimo who extended their lead a quarter of an hour from time, Bruno scoring from a direct free kick on the edge of the box.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, Ricardo Esteves (Briguel 12), Van der Linden, Ediglê, Evaldo, Olberdam, Bruno, Fábio Felicio (Luís Olim 90), Marcinho, Makukula, Kanu (Mossoró 77).

Académica: Pedro Roma, Sarmento (Joeano 46), Berger, Kaká, Cris, Paulo Sérgio (Tiero 25), Pavlovic, Lito, Vouho (Peralta 57),

FC Porto made light work of their visit to União de Leiria, coming out 3-0 winners. Sektioui put them in front on 36 minutes, but União's resistance was to be broken by an illegal goal on 49, Bruno Alves crossing from the left when the ball was clearly out of play, Lisandro López heading in. On 65, João Paulo put the nail in the coffin of his former club.

The teams lined up:

União de Leiria: Fernando, Éder Bonfim, Bruno Miguel, Éder Gaúcho, Laranjeiro, Tiago, Faria (Toñito 82), Lukasiewicz (João Paulo 51), Sougou, Paulo César, N'Gal (Cadú 48)

FC Porto: Nuno, Bosingwa, João Paulo, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Paulo Assunção (Leandro Lima 70), Lucho González, Raúl Meireles, Tarik Sektioui (Mariano González 64), Lisandro López (Edgar 75), Quaresma

Sporting had much more trouble disposing of a well organised Belenenses (1-0), and once again it was Brazilian striker Liedson who resolved the issue ten minutes from time with a text-book header after a cross from the left by Vukcevic. Belenenses had been reduced to ten on 53 minutes after their 'keeper Costinha, a former Sporting player, brought down Liedson; Captain Moutinho allowed substitute Carlos to parry and collect the loose ball.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel, Anderson Polga, Tonel (Yannick Djaló 66), Ronny, Miguel Veloso (Vukcevic 57), João Moutinho, Izmailov (Purovic 66), Romagnoli, Liedson, Derlei

Belenenses: Costinha, Cândido Costa, Rolando, Hugo Alcântara, Rodrigo Alvim, Gabriel Gómez (João Paulo 83), Rúben Amorim, José Pedro (Marco Gonçalves 53), Silas (Rafael Bastos 64), Fernando, Roncatto

Benfica needed a huge mistake from Nacional 'keeper Diego to break through in Madeira, his weak goal kick falling to Paraguayan striker Cardozo, who could not believe his luck as he strode forward and struck the ball past the embarrassed Swiss international. Benfica's second, on 70 minutes, was down to a brilliant jinking run from Rui Costa on the edge of the area and a well placed low shot into the left of the goal. Then fifteen minutes from time, Diego was to help Benfica once again, this time bringing down Maxi Pereira, making his début. Cardozo cracked in the spot kick for his second to make it 3-0 to Benfica, their first win of the season.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Alonso, Cléber, Bruno Amaro (José Vítor 46), Fellype Gabriel, Juliano, Edu Sales (Cássio 46), Lipatin (Ricardo Pateiro 73).

Benfica: Quim, Luís Filipe, Miguel Vítor, Katsouranis, Léo, Maxi Pereira, Petit, Rui Costa, Di Maria (Romeu Ribeiro 83), Nuno Gomes (Cristian Rodriguez 64), Cardozo.

Vitória de Setúbal came away from Figueira da Foz with a point after holding Naval to a 0-0 draw. Naval had Gilmar sent off in the last minute for words to the referee. Naval have not won at home since December and have just two points from their three games.

02/09/07

Sporting Braga left it until the last ten minutes to grab all three points from their reception of a spirited Estrela da Amadora, who went in front on nine minutes through N'Diaye. braga pressed forward, but it was not until the 82 minutes that they made a breakthrough, Rodriguez poking in from close range. Then in the last minute, Austrian striker Roland Linz got his first goal since his transfer from Boavista, collecting a low cross from Zé Manel in front of goal, swivelling and practically knocking it through estrela 'keeper Nélson.

The teams lined up:

Sporting de Braga: Dani Mallo, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Rodriguez, César Peixoto (Zé Manel 69), Andrés Madrid (Castanheira 46), Vandinho, João Pinto, Hussaine, Linz, Wender (Jaílson 79).

Estrela da Amadora: Nélson, Rui Duarte, Maurício, Wagnão, Cardoso (Daniel 55), Fernando, Mateus, Tiago Gomes, Pedro Pereira (Moreno 68), N'Diaye (Marco Paulo 76), Moses.

Boavista snatched a point from their trip to Paços de Ferreira Saturday with a goal that was scored from a clear offside position. Paços had gone in front on 34 minutes through Cristiano on a rapid counter attack, but then seven minutes from time, Bangourá received the ball a good two metres off-side in front of goal and calmly stroked the ball in.

The teams lined up:

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde, Luiz Carlos, Rovérsio, Chico Silva, Paulo Gomes (Ricardinho 85), Dedé, Fernando Pilar, Edson (Márcio Carioca 87), Cristiano, Furtado (Edson Di 89).

Boavista: Carlos, Gilberto, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Rissut, Diakité, Fleurival, Olufemi (Grzelak 77), Laionel (Hugo Monteiro 80), Bangourá, Mateus (Ivan 69).

01/09/07

The two newly promoted teams, Leixões and Vitória de Guimarães, shared the points from an exciting 2-2 draw. Paulo Machado put the home side in front on five minutes, Fajardo equalised on 20, Vieirinha put Leixões back in front with a shot from an impossible angle on 36 and Fajardo got an excellent second to put Vitória definitively level 12 minutes from time.

The teams lined up:

Leixões: Beto, Marco Cadete, Elvis, Nuno Diogo, Exequias, Pedro Cervantes (Hugo Morais 13), Bruno China, Paulo Machado (Livramento 78), Vieirinha, Roberto, Jorge Gonçalves (Nwoko 83),

Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Sereno, Geromel, Radanovic, Luciano Amaral (Targino 63), Flávio Meireles, João Alves (Desmarets 46), Carlitos, Fajardo, Alan (Ghilas 46), Miljan

 

28/08/07

Vitória de Setúbal drew 1-1 with Nacional Monday in the final game of the first jornada. Lipatin put Nacional in front on eight minutes, Vitória equalising ten minutes later through a clearly off-side Paulinho.

27/08/07

FC Porto got revenge for the recent defeat in the Supertaça by beating Sporting 1-0 at the Dragão Sunday. It was a hard-fought, occasionally vicious game, even in terms of possession but with Porto generally the more lucid in attack. Quaresma hit the bar with a trademark free kick in the first half, but the deadlock was only broken on 53 minutes. Sporting 'keeper Stojkovic picked up a back pass from Anderson Polga on the edge of the six-yard box; Lucho González back-heeled the indirect free-kick to Raul Meireles who crashed his shot through the ruck of Sporting players on the line.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Fucile, Lucho, Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles (Mariano Gonzalez 67), Tarik (Postiga 46), Lisandro (Bolatti 84), Quaresma.

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel (Pereirinha 76), Tonel, Polga, Ronny (Yannick 46), João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Romagnoli, Izmailov (Vukcevic 62), Derlei, Liedson.


Porto go top of the table along with Marítimo, who won comfortably 2-0 at Boavista, still trying to integrate almost a full team of newcomers. Kanu got the goals, the first a free header at the back post, the second a mazy run from the right with the Boavista defence looking on admiringly. Boavista had two seemingly valid penalty claims turned down, one in each half, and their forward Edgar was sent off for a second yellow.

Estrela da Amadora have got off to a good start with four points from their two games. Their visitors Naval went in front on the half-hour through Marcelinho, but Cardozo equalised for Estrela before the break. Wagnão and Mateus before the hour was up made it 3-1.

Académica and União de Leiria drew 1-1, João Paulo putting Académica in front early in the second half and Joeano equalising from the spot on the hour. Hugo Costa saw a second yellow for the foul that gave the penalty, while Académica had been reduced to ten men in the first half with Lito getting a direct red.

Paços de Ferreira and Leixões also drew 1-1, Edson scoring for Paços, Marco Cadete equalising, both goals coming in the second half.

26/08/07

Benfica dropped another two points on Saturday when they were only able to draw 0-0 with a combative Vitória de Guimarães at the Luz. Benfica's best chance fell to Nuno Gomes in the first half, but his low shot skimmed just past the right-hand post. Then in the second, a terrific swinging free-kick from Cardozo was palmed away by Nílson. With all natural central defenders injured, Benfica had to field junior Miguel Vítor in the back four, but he did not let the side down.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nelson, Katsouranis, Miguel Vítor, Léo, Nuno Assís, Petit, Rui Costa, Fábio Coentrão (Luís Filipe 70), Nuno Gomes (Romeu Ribeiro 69), Cardozo (Bergessio 81)

Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Sereno, Danilo (Moreno 75), Geromel, Andrézinho, Carlitos (Desmarets 63), Flávio Meireles, João Alves, Fajardo, Alan (Ghilas 54), Mrdakovic

Sporting Braga beat Belenenses 2-0. On his début for the club, Austrian striker Roland Linz was brought down by Devic on 23 minutes, César Peixoto scoring from the spot. On 57 minutes, Vandinho made it two, tapping in after Costinha had made a double save from Linz and Wender.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Costinha, Cândido Costa, Devic, Rolando, Rodrigo Alvim, Hugo Leal (Mendonça 46), Ruben Amorim (Rafael Bastos 83), Silas, José Pedro, Fernando (Roncatto 46), João Paulo Oliveira.

Sporting Braga: Dani, João Pereira, Paulo Jorge, Rodriguez, César Peixoto, Vandinho, Madrid, João Pinto, Hussaine (José Manuel 77), João Tomás (Linz 8), Wender (Jailson, 83).

22/08/07

Naval and Belenenses drew 1-1 Monday in the last game of the first jornada. Fernando put the visitors in front ten minutes from time with a free-kick from a full 35 metres, but a minute from time, Naval equalised with a header from Paulão. It was Naval coach Francisco Chaló's first game in the top tier.

20/08/07

Boavista, with just three faces carried over from last season, ground out a 0-0 draw at União de Leiria Sunday. The Panthers perhaps had the better of the first half, helped by an active Grzelak on the left and a solid Marcelão in the centre of defence, but in the second half União dominated and had several chances to score, all squandered or blocked. It was the third 0-0 draw of the last three seasons. A further negative aspect of the game was the presence of no more than 500 spectators for União's first home Liga match of the season.

The teams lined up:

União de Leiria: Fernando, Éder, Renato, Éder Gaúcho, Laranjeiro, Faria (Toñito 63), Tiago, Cadu da Silva (Alhandra 73), Sougou, Paulo César, Zongo (N´Gal 51).

Boavista: Carlos, Bruno Pinheiro, Ricardo Silva, Marcelão, Mário Silva, Gilberto, Fleurival, Gajic (Rissutt 46), Laionel (Fary 83), Edgar, Grzelak (Ivan Santos 60).

After Leixões had drawn their opener with Benfica 1-1 Saturday, fellow newcomers Vitória de Guimarães followed suit with a 1-1 draw at home to Vitória de Setúbal. Fajardo put Guimarães in front on five minutes, but Matheus equalised for Setúbal on 26, and they shut up shop for the rest of the game.

19/08/07

Champions FC Porto got off on the right foot Saturday with a 2-1 win at Sporting Braga, coached by former Porto captain Jorge Costa. The hero of the day was winger Ricardo Quaresma with two scorching goals, both from free-kicks: the first, on the half hour, from 25 metres, the second, seven minutes from time, from an angle on the left. Meanwhile, João Pinto had put Braga level early in the second half with a first time stab at a Vandinho cross from the left.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Dani, João Pereira, Rodríguez, Paulo Jorge (Castanheira 85), César Peixoto, Fréchaut, Vandinho, João Pinto, Hussaín (Zé Manel 63), João Tomás (Jaílson 75), Wender

FC. Porto: Helton; Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Cech, Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles, Lucho (Leandro Lima 65), Quaresma, Adriano (Hélder Postiga 35), Tarik (Mariano Gonzalez 60)

Benfica did not have such a happy start against newly-promoted Leixões at Boavista's Bessa Stadium, borrowed for the occasion. Benfica showed that they are missing Simão Sabrosa (transferred to Atlético Madrid) and Manuel Fernandes (Everton), and it wasn't until two minutes from time that they broke the deadlock, Petit with a free header at the back post from a Rui Costa corner. But just when Benfiquistas thought the points might be in the bag, the defence lost concentration and deep into added time, the Nigerian Nwoko, on as sub, had time to hook the ball in from in front of goal.

The teams lined up:

Leixões: Beto, Marco Cadete, Elvis, Nuno Diogo, Ezequias, Bruno China, Pedro Cervantes (Hugo Morais 84), Paulo Machado, Jorge Gonçalves (Nwoko 71), Roberto (Tales 77), Vieirinha.

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Katsouranis, David Luiz, Léo, Petit, Luís Filipe (Fábio Coentrão 70), Rui Costa, Nuno Assis (Andrés Diaz 90), Nuno Gomes (Bergessio 55), Cardozo.

Marítimo got off to a good start with three points against Paços de Ferreria (3-1) in Madeira. Paços coach José Mota said afterwards that the first half was the worst of his career: Makukula, Ediglé and Makukula again put Marítimo three up within the first half hour. Dédé pulled one back for Paços five minutes into the second half.

Also in Madeira, Nacional drew 0-0 with Estrela da Amadora.

18/08/07

Sporting got their Liga campaign off to a roaring start Friday with a comfortable 4-1 win over Académica. Derlei put them in front on 25 minutes with a strike from the edge of the box after a delightful dummy from Vukcevic, and Liedson headed the second from a free-kick out on the right just before the break. Central defender Tonel scored from a corner on 68 minutes, Gyano pulled one back for Académica ten minutes from time but then Sporting captain Moutinho made it four for Sportng from the spot after Kaká had fouled Liedson.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Ronny, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Farnerud 71), Vukcevic (Yannick 71), Liedson, Derlei (Adrien 90m).

Académica: Pedro Roma, Berger (N´Doye 46), Litos, Kaká, Orlando, Tiero, Paulo Sérgio, Cris, Lito, Joeano (Hélder Barbosa,61),Ivanildo (Gyano 46).

Derlei became only the third player to score for all the Big Three (Benfica, FC Porto, Sporting) after Eurico Gomes and Paulo Futre.

17/08/07

The Liga kicks off Friday with Sporting v Académica at Alvalade XXI; the game is set to be a virtual sell-out (around 50,000). On Saturday, Benfica play Leixões at Boavista's Bessa stadium (loaned to Leixões to be able to take the 25,000 expected) and FC Porto visit Sporting Braga, coached by former Porto stalwart Jorge Costa.

All the games on the first jornada:

Marítimo v Paços de Ferreira (18/08)
União de Leiria v Boavista (19/08)
Sporting v Académica (17/08)
Sporting Braga v FC Porto (18/08)
Naval v Belenenses (20/08)
Nacional v Estrela da Amadora (18/08)
Vitória de Guimarães v Vitória de Setúbal (19/08)
Leixões v Benfica (18/08)

07/08/07

FC Porto versus Sporting Braga and Leixões versus Benfica on the opening jornada of the new Liga season will be played on 18 August, brought forward from Sunday because of the Euro 2008 qualifier between Portugal and Armenia on the following Wednesday.

 

31/07/07

Next season's Liga will kick off on Friday, 17 August, at 20.30, with Sporting receiving Académica.

21/05/07

At half time of their home game against Desportivo das Aves, on the final day of the season, FC Porto fans were seeing the title slip away; Sporting were beating Belenenses at Alvalade, and Porto were only level with Aves after Moreira had equalised an Adriano goal – Sporting were Champions. But the cream eventually rose to the top, and Porto got three more in the second half (two from Lisandro Lopez and an own goal from Jorge Ribeiro) to deservedly clinch the title for the second year running. the result sent Aves down to the Liga de Honra.

Sporting cruised past a Belenenses with one eye on next weekend's Taça de Portugal Final and secured second spot. The final score of 4-0 was perhaps exaggerated, two of the goals coming in the final two minutes from Yannick and Pereirinha, to add to the two first half goals from Liedson – the Liga's top scorer – and Alecsandro .

Porto and Sporting qualify directly for the Champions League next season, while Benfica will have to play the last qualifying round after they finished third. They kept up their end with a 2-0 win over Académica, who were already safe from relegation. Derlei got a rare goal on 10 minutes, and Mantorras scored Benfica's last goal of the season on 81.

Sporting Braga pipped Belenenses for fourth spot after drawing 1-1 at home to Nacional. The two goals came within ten minutes of the tart, Diego putting the visitors in front and Wender getting a point for Braga. Both Braga and Belenenses qualify for the UEFA Cup next year.

The other UEFA cup spot goes to Paços de Ferreira, who are in Europe for the first time in their history. They drew 1-1 at Beira-Mar, Cristiano putting them in front on eight minutes with Vasco Matos equalising for Beira-Mar early in the second half. Unfortunately for the latter, the result was not enough to escape the drop, and they joined Desportivo das Aves into the Liga de Honra, finishing just one point behind Vitória de Setúbal.

Vitória saved themselves with a 2-1 win at Naval, who were safe and had nothing to play for except their self-respect. In fact, Elivelton put Naval in front after just nine minutes, but goals from Auri and the veteran Ayew before half time gave the club from José Mourinho's home town a chance to survive; relegation might well have been the death knell for the cash-strapped club.

União de Leiria missed out on Europe to Paços by just one point after drawing 1-1 at steadily improving Estrela da Amadora. Estrela went in front on the hour through Anselmo , and Slusarski put União level five minutes later.

20/05/07

Boavista finished a disappointing season on a minor high, beating Marítimo 2-1 in Madeira. Polish winger Grzelak put Boavista in front on 17 minutes, Smit equalised early in the second half, but Linz, with his 10th goal of the season, gave Boavista a little lift.

14/05/07

The penultimate jornada of the Liga threw up some intriguing results, with both title and relegation issues postponed until the last game of the season.

Until the 75th minutes of their game at Paços de Ferreira, FC Porto had lost their top spot to Sporting, who were winning 1-0 at Académica. Then Adriano bundled in the goal that equalised Antunes ' earlier free-kick, and Porto were left needing to win their last game at home to Desportivo das Aves to be sure of the title. If they lose that game and Sporting at least draw theirs at home to Belenenses, or if Porto draw and Sporting win, then Sporting will be champions.

Sporting beat Académica 2-0 in Coimbra, Liedson getting on the score-sheet on four minutes, and Moutinho providing the coup de grâce a minute from the end. Despite the defeat, Académica are safe as results in other games went their way.

Benfica are still in with a (remoter) shout after they won at Vitória de Setúbal, Fabrízio Miccoli getting the decisive goal nine minutes from time.

Porto are on 66 points, Sporting 65 and Benfica 64.

At the bottom, two out of three will go down to the Liga de Honra: Desportivo das Aves (22 points), Beira-Mar (22) or Vitória de Setúbal (21).

Aves lost at home to Estrela da Amadora, Moses getting the only goal after a quarter of an hour (and getting sent off eight minutes from time).

Nacional's Ricardo Fernandes, José Vítor and Rodrigo Silva got the first half goals that finished off Beira-Mar in Madeira.

União de Leiria, chasing a UEFA Cup place, were two down heading towards half-time at home to Naval, Saulo and Elivelton getting the goals, but União pulled one back in added time through Cadu. Then early in the second half, Paulo César equalised, and that was the way it stayed.

The final day's games are as follows:

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

Leixões return to the top flight after 18 years away, while Vitória de Guimarães are back after only one season in the Liga de Honra.

13/05/07

Belenenses secured fourth spot in the Liga Saturday with a 2-0 win over Marítimo. The usual suspects Garcês, on 34 minutes, and Dady from the spot, on 72, made the difference.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Marco Aurélio, Amaral, Rolando, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Cândido Costa, Pinheiro (Gaspar 87), Silas (Djurdjevic 77), Fernando (José Pedro 63), Dady, Garcês.

Marítimo: Marcos, Luís Olim, Gregory, Alex, Evaldo, Arvid, Wénio (Mbesuma 53), Douglas (Kanu 53), Filipe Oliveira, Marcinho, Lipatin (Gonçalo 68).

Vying for 4th along with Belenenses are
Sporting Braga. They fulfilled their part of the 'bargain' by beating Boavista 1-0 at the Bessa … Boavista's first home defeat in five months. On 21 minutes, Lucas tried to clear a ball on the edge of the area, it hit his team-mate Ricardo Silva and fell into the path of Braga winger Wender , whose cross-shot beat Boavista 'keeper Jehle hands down. Braga's Andrés Madrid was sent off on 50 minutes for striking Boavista's Austrian striker Roland Linz.

Belenenses and Braga have both qualified for the UEFA Cup and will be joined by a third club from Paços de Ferreria, União de Leiria or Nacional. União, who play in one of the 30,000 capacity stadiums built for Euro 2004, but who rarely get more than two or three thousand, will open their doors for Sunday's game against Naval, and each spectator will get a free T-shirt.

07/05/07

Sporting glided past Vitória de Setúbal on Sunday to re-gain second place in the Liga. They got off to the best of possible starts but benefited from an on goal, by Madior after just one minute. Liedson headed his 12th of the season on 26, then got his 13th on 52 before Amuneke pulled one back 12 minutes from time. The result leaves Vitória bottom with two games remaining.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel, Caneira, Polga (Tonel 66), Tello, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Romagnoli, Nani (Farnerud 71), Yannick, Liedson (Alecsandro 60).

Vitória de Setúbal: Milojevic, Janício, Hugo, Auri, Veríssimo, Madior (Ayew 32), Labarthe (Rui Dolores 46), Sandro, Bruno Ribeiro, Varela, Amuneke.

Sporting Braga beat Belenenses to go level with them on points in 4th/5th. Zé Carlos put Braga in front on 20 minutes, Dady equalised eight minutes from time, but on the stroke of time, full-back Carlos Fernandes got the winner.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Frechaut, Paulo Jorge, Rodríguez, Carlos Fernandez, Madrid, Vandinho, João Pinto, Maciel (Castanheira 90), Zé Carlos (Chmiest 66), Wender (Davide 82)

Belenenses: Costinha, Amaral (Fernando 76), Rolando, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Sandro Gaúcho, Cândido Costa, Zé Pedro, Silas, Dady (Pinheiro 86), Roma (Garcês 54)

União de Leiria put a stop to Desportivo das Aves' recent good form with a 3-1 win, their goals coming from Slusarski and Éder (2, one penalty), while Hernâni replied for Aves.

A Tiago Gomes free-kick on 39 minutes gave Estrela da Amadora the points at home to Paços de Ferreira, a result that keeps Estrela in the top tier and puts Paços' European ambitions at risk.

06/05/07

Top club FC Porto took another step to what now seems an inevitable title Saturday with a 2-0 home win over Nacional of Madeira, whose disappointing but safe season continues. It was only in the second half, however, that Porto made their mark, with goals from Anderson and Fucile.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Ricardo Costa, João Paulo, Fucile, Lucho( Ibson,70), Paulo Assunção (Jorginho 56), Anderson, Cech (Raul Meireles 56), Lisandro, Adriano

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ricardo Fernandes, Ávalos, Cardozo, Alonso, Cléber (Pateiro 8), Juliano, Bruno (Leandro Bonfim 71), Diego José, Rodrigo (Cássio 75).

Benfica beat Naval at the Luz, but their display was such that there were white handkerchiefs before the end, a sign to the directors that the fans were (are?) not happy with the coach and the team. Petit put Benfica in front after just 11 minutes, after great work and a cutback from Miccoli on the left, but the team could not capitalise on the lead, and Naval were stronger in the second half, drawing level on 77 minutes through Lito. But just when it seemed that Naval might snatch a point, Miccoli was given time to control the ball, turn and put it past his marker Fernando and the 'keeper Taborda.

Benfica: Quim, Nélson (Paulo Jorge 84), Katsouranis, David Luiz, Léo, Manu (Mantorras 67), Karagounis, Petit, Rui Costa, Derlei (João Coimbra 72), Miccoli.

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Fernando, China, Carlitos (Delfim 29), Orestes, Gilmar, Fajardo (Elivelton 72), Saulo, Lito.

Marítimo conceded a 0-0 draw to struggling Académica in Madeira. It was a valuable point, though, in Os Estudantes' quest for Liga survival.

05/05/07

After the Lord Mayor's Show ... came Boavista's performance at bottom club Beira-Mar on Friday. The Panthers beat their city neighbours FC Porto last weekend with their best display of the season, but suddenly seemed to have forgotten what they did right. They even had the benefit of playing against ten men when Beira-Mar 'keeper Eduardo was sent off after only 15 minutes (his replacement Bruno Sousa was the sixth 'keeper used by Beira-Mar this season), but a Devic header from a corner 15 minutes from time punished Boavista while it took Beira-Mar off the bottom of the table, at least provisionally.

The teams lined up:

Beira-Mar: Eduardo, Jorge Vidigal, Devic, Alcaraz, Tininho, Emerson (Rui Lima 46), Diakité, Buba (Diarra 70), Edgar, Delibasic (Bruno Sousa 16), Vasco Matos.

Boavista: William, Lucas, Ricardo Silva, Hélder Rosário (Marcos António38), Fernando Dinis (Livramento 53), Paulo Sousa, Cissé, Essame, José Manuel, Fary, Grzelak (Hugo Monteiro 61).

Fixtures for the penultimate jornada next weekend will be set by the Liga on Monday. Cubs that are competing for the same objectives will have to play at the same time.

01/05/07

After four games without a win, Sporting Braga returned to victories Monday evening with a 1-0 win at struggling Académica, Zé Carlos getting the only goal on the hour. Académica's Kaká had been sent off for a second yellow just minutes earlier. Braga are fifth, three points behind Belenenses, who they play next week. Académica, who haven't won at home since November, are now just four points above the drop zone.

The teams lined up:

Académica: Pedro Roma, Sarmento (Cláudio Pitbull 71), Litos, Kaká, Vítor Vinha (Alexandre 62), Miguel Pedro, Paulo Sérgio, Roberto Brum, Lino, Gelson (Medeiros 62), Gyano.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Frechaut, Paulo Jorge, Rodriguez, Carlos Fernandes, Vandinho (Castanheira 92), Madrid, João Pinto, Maciel, Zé Carlos, Wender (Cesinha 71; Andrade 83).

 

30/04/07

Neither Benfica nor Sporting managed to take real advantage of FC Porto's defeat at Boavista the day before when the drew a tense clássico 1-1 Sunday in front of 55,000 at the Luz. The Lions came out snarling and were up within two minutes, Abel crossing from the right for Liedson to beat his marker and head home. Benfica reacted well and their subsequent pressure told on 23 minutes when Miccoli cracked a low shot past Ricardo's right hand. The draw leaves Sporting three points adrift of FC Porto and Benfica four, with just three games left.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Anderson, David Luiz, Léo, Petit (Mantorras 80), Katsouranis, Rui Costa, Karagounis, Nuno Gomes (Manú 68), Miccoli.

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel (Pereirinha 65), Caneira, Polga, Tello, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Tonel 87), Nani, Yannick (Alecsandro 65), Liedson.

Desportivo das Aves full-back Jorge Ribeiro, brother of Atlético Madrid's Maniche, scored a scorcher to beat Naval away and lift Aves, who looked dead and buried a month ago, out of the relegation zone.

Vitória de Setúbal dropped into the zone after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Marítimo. Lipatin put the Madeiran side in front with Varela equalising for Vitória.

Nacional needed a penalty in added time from Juliano to get the points at home to Estrela da Amadora.

29/04/07

Boavista produced a shock Saturday, beating local rivals FC Porto 2-1 and re-launching the title race; Benfica, five points behind Porto, and Sporting, four, play each other Sunday. Boavista climb to ninth.

It was one of Boavista's best performances of an immensely disappointing season for their fans. They came out employing the aggressive, pressing style which has characterised them before and Porto were immediately on the back foot. The Panthers' early pressure was rewarded with a goal on 14 minutes, central defender Ricardo Silva beating his marker Bruno Alves to the ball to head in from a Grzelak corner.

Two brilliant saves by Hélton from Cissé and the excellent Kazmierczak kept the difference minimal before the break, but early in the second half, Grzelak sent Zé Manuel through on goal and the nippy winger beat the oncoming Hélton. Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira, who deserted Boavista before the season proper began, made several changes, including bringing on Anderson for the ineffectual Postiga, and their game grew. Things were looking up especially on 70 minutes when Peter Jehle, the Liechtenstein ´keeper making his début for Boavista, was sent off for bringing down Adriano; Lucho González stroked the penalty past sub William. But Porto were unable to capitalise on their numerical superiority, and a famous victory for Boavista could have been by an even wider margin but for a little luck when Hélton managed somehow to take the ball off Linz's foot with the Austrian striker through on goal.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: Peter Jehle, Lucas, Hélder Rosário, Ricardo Silva, Mário Silva, Cissé (Essame 90), Kazmierczack, Tiago, José Manuel, Linz (William 71), Grzelak (Marquinho 82).

FC Porto: Helton. Bosingwa, Ricardo Costa, Bruno Alves. Marek Cech (Renteria 74). Jorginho (Lisandro Lopez 54), Raul Meireles. Lucho Gonzalez. Hélder Postiga (Anderson 46), Adriano. Ricardo Quaresma.

Earlier in the evening, Belenenses consolidated their fourth spot with a 2-0 win over bottom club Beira-Mar, Garcés in the first half and Dady in the second getting the goals. They move provisionally six points ahead of Sporting Braga, who they meet next week.

28/04/07

Rivals for a European place Paços de Ferreira and União de Leiria opened the 27th jornada Friday with a 0-0 draw. There was criticism of the refereeing: Paços had a penalty claim turned down in the first half, and União's Renato was sent off for a second yellow as early as the 26th minute, Paços' Antunes went for a second yellow on 82, and Paços' Mangualde got a straight red on the stroke of time. Paços stay 6th, four points ahead of União and on the same points as Sporting Braga, although Braga have a game in hand.

22/04/07

Benfica put an end to a three-match run without winning in the Liga with a 3-0 victory over Marítimo in Madeira. Benfica hit the post twice in the first half through Miccoli and Rui Costa, but Marítimo had a valid claim for a penalty turned down when Petit handled. Then in the second half, things went right for the Lisbon giants, and two goals from Miccoli and a third deep into added time by Katsouranis from the spot (the penalty given for an excellent clean tackle on Manú by Milton do Ó) gave them the three points to move provisionally second above Sporting.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, José Gomes (Filipe Oliveira 68), Milton do Ó, Gregory, Evaldo, Wénio (Luís Olim 45), Olberdam, Douglas, Marcinho, Lipatin, Mbesuma (Kanu 68)

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Anderson, David Luiz, Léo, Katsouranis, Petit, Rui Costa, Karagounis (João Coimbra 86), Miccoli (Manú 94), Nuno Gomes (Derlei 72)

21/04/07

Estrela da Amadora practically guaranteed their Liga safety Friday with a 2-1 win over Boavista. At an Estádio José Gomes with no more than 500 souls rattling around inside, both teams served up concrete proof of why more people were not there: football of the very poorest quality throughout. Save for a mad ten minutes midway through the second half which saw three goals, the sides were reduced to one or two dangerous shots on goal each: at the end of the first half, Estrela's Moses came close with a header from a Luís Loureiro free-kick, and early in the second half, Ricardo Sousa forced a good save from Pedro Alves, also from a free-kick. Then on the hour, Yoni took a short free-kick on the right, Marco Paulo crossed and Moses this time made no mistake with his header. Boavista sparked briefly into life, a spell of pressure culminating in a swivel and volleyed slice over the 'keeper's head from 25 metres by defender Hélder Rosário . But Boavista lost focus almost immediately, and on 70 minutes, Luís Loureiro curled the winner into the top right-hand corner from a free out on the left, William apparently thinking it was going wide.

The win consolidates Estrela's 12th place, nine points off the drop zone, and now just one point behind Boavista in 11th. Jaime Pacheco, Boavista's coach, was quick to blame the referee Bruno Paixão for the result, but it was really no more than an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes; this is the poorest Boavista side for many a season.

The teams lined up:

Estrela da Amadora: Pedro Alves, Rui Duarte, Hugo Carreira, Amoreirinha, Edu Silva, Luís Loureiro, Marco Paulo (Sérgio Marquês 69), Jaime (Moses 26), Tiago Gomes, Anselmo, Jones (Yoni 58).

Boavista: William, Lucas, Ricardo Silva, Hélder Rosário, Mário Silva (Marcos António 75), Tiago (Fary 89), Cissé, Ricardo Sousa, Kazmierczak, José Manuel (Hugo Monteiro 67), Linz.

17/04/07

Benfica failed to win for the fifth game in a row Monday, drawing 0-0 at home to Sporting Braga. Benfica looked tired and out of ideas, but still had chances to win, notably through Mantorras, who had two good sights of goal, and Karagounis, who his tth ebar after a mazy run into the area from the right. The loss of two points means that Benfica slip to third in the table, a point behind Sporting and five behind FC Porto, with five games left.

16/04/07

União de Leiria jumped to eighth in the Liga with a 1-1 draw at Boavista Sunday. União dominated for large stretches, and it was natural that they should go ahead, Cadu da Silva latching onto a half-save by William from a Slusarski shot. That was on the hour, and so comfortable were União that it came as something of a surprise that Boavista managed an equaliser, Hélder Roasário meeting a Zé Manuel free kick at the back post to sweep the ball in past Fernando on 82 minutes.

It was coach Jaime Pacheco's 250th game in charge at Boavista (123 wins, 71 draws and 56 defeats) but he had to deal with whistles from the (meagre) crowd for the twenty minutes during which his side was behind.

The teams lined up:

Boavista:
William, Lucas, Hélder Rosário, Ricardo Silva, Mário Silva, Livramento (Essame 56), Tiago, Kazmierczack, José Manuel, Linz (Fary 62), Nuno Pinto (Grzelak 49).

União de Leiria: Fernando, Laranjeiro, Marcos António, Renato, Éder, Paulo Gomes, Faria, Harison (Paulo Machado 74), Cadu da Silva, Slusarski (Rossato 88), Alhandra (Paulo César 83).

Things are looking bad for Vitória de Setúbal, who dropped into the relegation zone after a 1-3 capitulation at home to Beira-Mar, who climb above them in the scramble to avoid relegation. Sandro had put Vitória in front on 13 minutes, but two second-half goals from Edgar and one from Ratinho gave Beira-Mar the valuable three points.

In a crazy game at Nacional, struggling Desportivo das Aves also got a precious three points with a 4-3 win. Cássio put Nacional in front on 12 minutes and Filipe Anunciação equalised on the hour. Then in the last 20 minutes, all hell broke loose: Aves went 4-1 up, Paulo Sérgio (2) and Moreira adding the goals, but then Diego got two in the last two minutes to make the dying seconds a nail-biting affair.

In the other game of the day, Paços de Ferreira held Naval to a 1-1 draw away. Saulo put the hosts in front just before the break, but then Renato Queiróz Gave Paços a point a quarter of an hour from time.

15/04/07

FC Porto kept the pace at the top of the Liga Saturday with a win at Académica that at one time looked comfortable but then got a bit hairy. Central defender Bruno Alves scored his first goal for the club just before the break, a shot from close range after a lot of confusion in the heart of the area. It was only twenty minutes from the end, however, that Porto appeared to put the game beyond a sprightly Académica, Adriano putting the finishing touch to a brilliant Quaresma cross from the left. Marek Cech brought Filipe Teixeira down in the area a quarter of an hour from the end, Lino sending Hélton the wrong way from the spot. Afer that, there was always the fear that Académica could snatch a draw, so Porto resorted to time-wasting tactics, hoiks out of defence and holding the ball up on the wings … and it worked: they won the three points that keep them top, four ahead of Sporting. Benfica play on Monday and can theoretically move up to second, three points behind Porto.

The teams lined up:

Académica: Pedro Roma, Sarmento, Kaká, Litos, Lino, Paulo Sérgio (Alexandre 73), Filipe Teixeira, Vítor Vinha (Miguel Pedro 64), Dame, Joeano, Gyano (Roberto Brum 46).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Ricardo Costa, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Jorginho (Raul Meireles 67), Lucho Gonzalez, Marek Cech, Hélder Postiga (Anderson 77), Adriano (Renteria 90), Ricardo Quaresma.

Earlier in the evening,
Belenenses had consolidated their fourth place with a relatively easy 3-0 win over neighbours Estrela de Amadora. They established the result within half an hour, two Garcês goals sandwiching one from top scorer Dady. Belenenses are now five points ahead of Sporting Braga, who have a game in hand.

14/04/07

Sporting kept up their side of the bargain in the title race Friday with a convincing 4-0 win over Marítimo – an uncomfortable début for the new coach of the Madeiran side Alberto Pazos. The destiny of the game was fixed after just one minute through Liedson, and Romagnoli made it two before 20 minutes were up. Marítimo kept it respectable until the last ten minutes when Moutinho and sub Alecsandro made it four.

The result puts Sporting provisionally into second, one point behind FC Porto.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel, Marco Caneira, Polga, Tello, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Nani (Pereirinha 70), Romagnoli (Alecsandro 70), Liedson, Djaló (Farnerud 81).

Marítimo: Marcos, Zé Gomes, Milton, Alex (Gregory 50), Evaldo, Wênio, Olberdam, Filipe Oliveira (Marcinho 46), Luís Olim (Douglas 42), Mbesuma, Lipatin.

10/04/07

Benfica blew the chance to stay within a point of FC Porto at the top of the Liga Monday when they could only draw 2-2 at bottom club Beira-Mar in front of a record crowd of 25,000, predominantly Benfica fans.

The hosts surprisingly went into the front on 24 minutes through Ratinho, and with a combination of stout defending and a goalkeeper, Eduardo, in great form, Benfica were kept at bay until the last ten minutes. Talisman Pedro Mantorras had come on as sub on 80 minutes, and two minutes later his busyness around the goal created a chance for him that he did not waste; his first Liga goal of the season. But Beira-Mar did not crumple as might have been expected, and they took the lead again, former Benfica striker Delisabic diving in at the near post to head in a Mateus cross. But on the stroke of time, Simão invented a penalty for himself and strode up to put the spot kick past Eduardo, who got a hand to it. It was Simão's 11th of the season, and he heads the list of top scorers.

The teams lined up:

Beira-Mar: Eduardo, Ricardo, Devic, Alcaraz, Tininho, Diakité, Luciano Ratinho (Matheus 77), André Leão (Emerson 42), Rui Lima, Artur (Reginaldo 88), Delibasic.

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, David Luiz, Anderson (Derlei 65), Léo, Petit, Katsouranis, Karagounis (Rui Costa 46), Simão, Nuno Gomes (Mantorras 79), Miccoli.

FC Porto are on 56 points, Benfica 53 and Sporting 52.

08/04/07

Sporting moved to level on points with Benfica Saturday with a 1-0 win at Sporting Braga. Winger Nani got the only goal on 50 minutes, a reflex header after Paulo Santos had parried an Abel cross.

Belenenses also won 1-0 away from home, at União de Leiria, Dady getting the goal on 66 minutes. The win takes them up to fourth, above Braga.

Another 1-0 result was Desportivo das Aves' win over dismal Boavista, Moreira scoring on the hour against his old club. Aves climb off the bottom of the table, but are still looking good bets for the drop. Boavista were down to ten men from the 50-minute mark, Cissé getting his marching orders.

There were two more red cards at coach-less Marítimo, Smit off on 36 minutes, for Marítimo, China for Naval a quarter of an hour from the end. The cards were matched by goals, Gregory putting the Madeiran side in front on 12 minutes, Pimenta equalising ten minutes from time.

Marítimo's Maderian neighbours Nacional slipped up at Paços de Ferreira, always strong at home. They actually went in front early on through Leandro do Bomfim, but two goals from Geraldo in the last fifteen minutes gave Paços the points and a view of Europe.

The final game was a ding-dong 3-3 draw between Estrela da Amadora and Académica that went 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3. Anselmo, Dário and Jaime, from the spot, got the goals for the home side, Claudio Pitbull and Joeano with two got the visitors'. Estrela's Marco Paulo was sent on his way with a red card on 74 minutes.

07/04/07

FC Porto set the weekend's Liga bar high Friday with a crunching 5-1 over lowly Vitória de Setúbal. Porto were 4-0 up by half-time with goals from Jorginho, Adriano (2) and Hélder Postiga. Bruno Ribeiro pulled one back for Vitória on the hour, but it could never be more than a consolation, and Brazilian midfielder Anderson, back to Liga action after a long lay-off through injury, fixed the score a quarter of an hour from time. Porto now have 52 goals from 24 Liga games.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Marek Cech, Ricardo Quaresma, Bosingwa, Lucho Gonzalez (Lucas Mareque 57), Jorginho (Anderson 46), Adriano (Vieirinha 67), Hélder Postiga.

Vitória de Setúbal: Milojevic, Janício, Mamadou, Auri, Bruno Ribeiro, Sandro, Binho (King 68), André Barreto, Varela, Amuneke (Mbamba 46), Rui Dolores (Inzaghi 64).

The pressure is now on Benfica to keep up by getting three points at Beira-Mar Monday.

03/04/07

Full-back Abel got his first goal for Sporting at home to Beira-Mar Monday, and a second from Liedson helped the Lions to gain ground on FC Porto (four points) and Benfica (three) at the top of the Liga.

02/04/07

Benfica and FC Porto shared the points in Sunday's clássico in front of 62,000 at the Luz. It was seen as being a decisive game at the top as whichever team won would be out in front for the final sprint. As it is, Porto remain one point ahead of Benfica, and the result gives the team in third, Sporting, a chance to make up ground when they play Beira-Mar Monday.

It was a typical game of two halves. Porto dominated the first 45 minutes and went in front on 41, Quaresma swinging over a cross from the left with central defender Pepe heading in at the back post.

In the second half, Porto could blame themselves for easing off and letting Benfica back in the game, capped by a goal from a free-kick from the right by Simão which was headed against the far post by central defender Davíd Luíz before striking Porto captain Lucho González and going in.

The fact that both goals were scored or caused by central defenders from dead ball situations summed up the game: tense but scrappy, with heart ruling head for much of the time.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, David Luiz, Anderson, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis (Rui Costa 46), Simão, Karagounis, Miccoli (Mantorras 85), Nuno Gomes (Derlei 70).

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Paulo Assunção, Lucho Gonzalez, Raul Meireles (Marek Cech 60), Jorginho (Renteria 74), Ricardo Quaresma (Anderson 90), Adriano.

Porto had a large number of fans at the game (Super Dragões), grouped in the top tier at one end of the Luz. It added to the atmosphere, but they were seriously out of order by sending cherry bombs and ripped-up seats onto the Benfica fans below.

Marcinho gave Marítimo an early lead at home to Sporting Braga, but goals from Wender and Maciel gave Braga the points.

An own goal from Pedro Simões and a second-half goal from Nigerian forward Amuneke against Estrela da Amadora helped Vitória de Setúbal to breathe a little at the bottom of the table.

Académica v União de Leiria and Naval v Nacional both ended in 0-0 draws.

01/04/07

Belenenses provisonally climbed to fourth in the Liga with a 1-0 home win over bottom club Desportivo das Aves Saturday, Dady providing the goal on 17 minutes.

Two goals from Austrian international Roland Linz helped Boavista to a 3-1 win over Paços de Ferreira at the Bessa. Boavista went 1-0 up on 37 minutes through a Kazmierczak free kick, and the same Polish midfielder touched the ball on for Linz to tap home his first on the hour. Antunes pulled one back for Paços from a free-kick, deflected off the wall, two minutes later, but Linz broke through and placed a left footed shot past Peçanha's left hand on 73 minutes to give Boavista a welcome three points.

 

21/03/07

Sporting Braga returned to the fourth spot Tuesday with a 2-1 home win over Naval. they went in front on 27 minutes, an excellent header from João Pinto responding to a cross by Luís Filipe on the right. It stayed that way until the 67th minute when Naval's top scorer Nei headed home a free-kick, but they lost the chance of a point in the closing stages when Mário Sérgio handled and Zé Carlos scored from the spot.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Nem, Paulo Jorge, Carlos Fernandes, Andrés Madrid, Andrade, Frechaut, João Pinto (Chmieste 74), Zé Carlos (Davide 90), Wender (Maciel 68).

Naval : Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Fernando, China, Orestes, Delfim (Pimenta 89), Gilmar, Lito (Eriverton 76), Saulo (Carlitos 58), Nei.

20/03/07

Benfica huffed and puffed and missed chances in the local derby at Estrela da Amadora Monday, but a free-kick by midfielder Petit (his third goal in as many matches) from a full 35 metres, ten minutes from time, gave them the points needed to draw within one point of FC Porto at the top. The next jornada in the Liga, in ten days' time due to international matches, has the clássico between Benfica and FC Porto at the Luz.

The teams lined up:

Estrela da Amadora: Paulo Lopes, Rui Duarte, Amoreirinha, Fonte, Edu Silva, Daniel (Anselmo 83), Marco Paulo, Luís Loureiro ( Zamorano 74), Tiago Gomes, Moses, Dário (Viveiros 66).

Benfica: Moretto, Nélson, David Luiz, Anderson, Léo, Petit, Simão (Paulo Jorge 88), Karagounis, Derlei (João Coimbra 57), Miccoli, Nuno Gomes (Mantorras 90).

19/03/07

Belenenses put paid to Paços de Ferreira's record of one year and three months' invincibility at home Sunday with a 2-0 win that takes them nearer to clinching a European place. Cândido Costa on 37 minutes, slotting home after a delightful back-heel by Silas, and Dady on 77 after some woeful defending gave the Blues the three points that put them momentarily into fourth above Sporting Braga, who have a game in hand.

In an amazing game at the Municipal Stadium in Aveiro, Beira-Mar let slip a supreme chance to claw their way nearer safety at the bottom of the Liga table. André Leão put them in front on 22 minutes, and that's the way it stayed until three minutes from time. Then Lipatin and Mbesuma turned it around for Marítimo, before central defender Alcaraz gave Beira-Mar a point with a header in added time.

It was an identical score and almost as dramatic at bottom club Desportivo das Aves, who drew 2-2 with fellow strugglers Académica. Dame on 37 minutes and from 25 metres out put Académica in front. Then on 71, Maniche's brother Jorge Ribeiro equalised with a free kick from way out. A minutes later, Académica's Alexandre was sent off for a second yellow, and five minutes from time, Hernâni put Aves in front for the first time. But they couldn't hold on, and on the stroke of time, Filipe Teixeira gave Académica a point.

Vitória de Setúbal also left it until added time to secure a valuable point at União de Leiria. N'Gal had put União in front early in the second half, but veteran striker Ayew levelled at the curtain.

18/03/07

Sporting provided the shock of the last few jornadas by beating FC Porto 1-0 at the Dragão Saturday. The result brings Sporting to within six points of Porto, but perhaps more significantly gives Sporting's Lisbon rivals Benfica the chance of drawing within just one point of Porto if they can beat Estrela da Amadora on Monday … and Benfica play Porto in two weeks' time …

Sporting produced a very mature, together display, given their youth and recent shaky performances, and were always a threat on the Porto goal … but it took just one strike to defeat the reigning champions of the Liga: a free kick immaculately swerved round the wall by Chilean defender Tello on 70 minutes.

FC Porto: Helton; Fucile, Pepe, Bruno Alves e Marek Cech; Lucho Gonzalez (Jorginho, 73 m), Paulo Assunção e Raul Meireles; Alan (Postiga, 46 m), Adriano (Bruno Moraes, 77 m) e Ricardo Quaresma.

Sporting: Ricardo; Abel, Caneira, Polga e Tello; Miguel Veloso; João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Pereirinha, 66 m) e Nani; Yannick e Alecsandro (Custódio, 82 m).

The remaining games for the top three are these:

23rd jornada
Benfica-F.C. Porto
Sporting-Beira Mar

24th jornada
F.C. Porto-V. Setúbal
Sp. Braga-Sporting
Beira Mar-Benfica

25th jornada
Benfica-Sp. Braga
Sporting-Marítimo
Académica-F.C. Porto

26th jornada
Sporting-Naval
Marítimo-Benfica
F.C. Porto-Belenenses

27th jornada
Benfica-Sporting
Boavista-F.C. Porto

28th jornada
F.C. Porto-Nacional
Benfica-Naval
Sporting-V. Setúbal

29th jornada
P. Ferreira-F.C. Porto
Académica-Sporting
V. Setúbal-Benfica

30th jornada
F.C. Porto-Aves
Sporting-Belenenses
Benfica-Académica

17/03/07

Boavista lost for the first time in ten games on Friday, 0-2 at Nacional, and missed the chance of catching the Madeirans up in the table; Nacional jump to 7th on 31 points, within sight of the European places, while Boavista remain in 11th on 25.

The game was won in the first half. On seven minutes, central defender Ricardo Fernandes lost his marker and beat William to the ball to head home a Juliano free kick, and on 35, the same Juliano sprinted through the heart of the Boavista defence to shoot past the helpless William. Boavista hit the bar through their best player, Kazmierczak, but that was as near as they got.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Alonso, Bruno Amaro, Chainho, Juliano, Diego José (Cléber 90), Cássio (Rodrigo 69), Pateiro (Leandro Bonfim 83).

Boavista: William, Lucas, Ricardo Silva, Hélder Rosário (Fernando Dinis, 46), Cissé, Essame, Livramento (Marcos António 76), Kazmierczack, Marquinhos (Hugo Monteiro 61), Linz, Grzelak.

13/03/07

Two cracking shots from Simão (16m) and Petit (86) decided an entertaining match for Benfica, at home to adventurous União de Leiria. The result takes Benfica back to four points behind FC Porto at the top of the table. The bad news for Benfica was the injury to 'keeper Quim, Moreira returning to the team to substitute him.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim (Moreira 72), Nélson, David Luiz, Anderson, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis, Simão, Karagounis, Nuno Gomes, Miccoli (Derlei 76).

União de Leiria: Fernando, Éder, Marcos António, Eliézio, Laranjeiro, Harison, Paulo Gomes, Marco Soares (Ivanildo 75), Paulo César (Paulo Machado 59), Touré (Slusarski 67), N'Gal.

12/03/07

FC Porto remained safely clear at the top of the Liga Sunday with a difficult 2-1 win at Marítimo. Porto were 2-0 up by half time, the goals coming from Adriano and Raul Meireles, but they sat back in the second half and let Marítimo into the game. The Madeirans puled one back on 85 minutes through Douglas, but they couldn't quite go the extra yard.

The teams lined up:

Marítimo: Marcos, Briguel (Wénio 64), Gregory, Milton do Ó, Evaldo, Olberdam, Arvid, Marcinho, Douglas, Kanu (Mbesuma 68), Luís Olim (Lipatin 68)

FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Pepe, Bruno Alves (Ricardo Costa 35), Cech, Lucho, Paulo Assunção, Ibson (Raul Meireles 12), Adriano, Renteria (Jorginho 58), Quaresma

Sporting Braga continue in fourth, although they are now not clear after drawing 0-0 at home to second-to-bottom club Beira-Mar. Braga's Castanheira was sent off on 70 minutes.

Braga are joined in fourth by the surprising Paços de Ferreira, who won 2-0 at Académica with goals from Medeiros (own goal) on nine minutes and Renato Queiroz on 80. Académica are now hovering perilously above the relegation places, and there were white handkerchiefs in the crowd for the team and coach Manuel Machado. Striker Alvarez was allegedly assaulted by irate fans after the game.

Bottom club Desportivo das Aves managed a point at Vitória de Setúbal. Amuneke put the home side in front on eight minutes, with the diminutive Paulo Sérgio somehow getting in between the central defenders to head the equaliser on 25.

On Saturday, Sporting kept their slim hopes of the title alive with a comfortable 3-1 win over Estrela da Amadora. They were 3-0 up at one point, with goals from João Moutinho and Yannick Djaló (2), with Moses getting a consolation for Estrela five minutes from time.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Tello, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho (Farnerud 74), Nani, Romagnoli (Bruno Pereirinha 63), Yannick Djaló, Carlos Bueno (Alecsandro 63)

Estrela da Amadora: Paulo Lopes, Zamorano, José Fonte, Amoreirinha, Hugo Carreira, Marco Paulo, Luís Loureiro, Tiago Gomes, Nuno Viveiros (Jones 56), Rui Borges (Moses 34), Ndiaye (Daniel 56)

Goals by José Pedro from the spot on 13 minutes and Dady on 41 were enough to give Belenenses the points over Nacional. Belenenses coach Jorge Jésus said that the season's objective has been reached: keeping the club in the top flight.

On Friday, Boavista notched up their tenth draw of the season, 1-1 at Naval, who went in front on just four minutes through Saulo, with Boavista's Polish midfielder Kazmierczak equalising with a spectacular long-range shot in added time of the first half.

Benfica face União de Leiria on Monday to complete the jornada.

07/03/07

Boavista drew 0-0 at home with Belenenses Monday; it was Boavista's 9th draw of the season. They remain 12th, with Belenenses 8th. There was a 'crowd' of just 2,500 people at the Bessa (capacity 30,000). A 67-year-old Boavista fan died of a heart attack during the game.

The teams line up:

Boavista: William, Marquinho, Ricardo Silva, Cissé, Nuno Pinto, Zé Manuel, Essame, Tiago (Marcos António 92), Kazmierczak, Fary (Linz 58), Hugo Monteiro (Grzelak77)

Belenenses: Marco Gonçalves, Amaral, Rolando, Nivaldo , Rodrigo Alvim (Gaspar 84), Cândido Costa (Pinheiro 71), Sandro Gaúcho (Fernando 60), Zé Pedro, Rubem Amorim, Dady, Silas.

05/03/07

Sporting, in third, fell to five points behind Lisbon rivals Benfica and nine behind top club FC Porto Sunday when all they could do was draw 0-0 at União de Leiria. Sporting's play was influenced greatly by striker Liedson being sent off after just 22 minutes for lashing out at União full back Rossato in a goalmouth incident. There were just 6,800 in the Leiria Municipal Stadium to watch the game between the teams in third and fifth.

The teams lined up:

União de Leiria: Fernando, Laranjeiro, Marcos António, Eliézio, Rossato (Ivanildo 61), Paulo Gomes, Faria, Paulo Machado (Alhandra 79), Harison, Paulo César (Cadu 75), Slusarski

Sporting: Ricardo, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Caneira, João Moutinho, Paredes (Tello 76), Romagnoli (Pereirinha 46), Nani, Bueno (Yannick 62), Liedson

Beira-Mar remain six points away from safety after going down 1-3 at home to Naval. Saulo put the visitors in front on the hour, Edgar equalised five minutes later, but then two goals in the last ten minutes from Nei, one of them from the spot, sent the points in the direction of Figueira da Foz.

Chainho on the half hour set Nacional on their way to a 4-0 win over, on coach Manuel Machado's return to Madeira. Cassio with two and Diego completed the rout. Nacional continue in the running for Europe, while Académica are hovering above the relegation zone.

An N´Diaye header on 22 minutes was enough to give Estrela da Amadora the points at home against the other Madeiran side in the Liga, Marítimo. Filipe Oliveira was the only Portuguese player in the Marítimo starting line-up: there were six Brazilians, two Dutchmen, a Chilean and a Zambian.

On Saturday, FC Porto kept a good head of steam up at the top, winning 1-0 at home to Sporting Braga, the Braga coach Jorge Costa returning for the first time to his second home. Adriano beat his marker on nine minutes to control a Lucho González cross in front of goal and crack it home. It proved enough.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa (Lucas 53), Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles, Lucho (Ibson 65), Ricardo Quaresma, Lisandro, Adriano.

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Rodriguez, Paulo Jorge, Jorge Luiz, Frechaut, Andrade, Castanheira (Davide 77), Cesinha (Bruno Gama 84), Zé Carlos, Diego (Chemiest 64).

Benfica had two strokes of luck to beat bottom club Desportivo das Aves: Hernâni allowed Quim to save his penalty on 35 minutes, and former Benfica centre back Sérgio Nunes was sent off on 65. Five minutes earlier, Nuno Gomes had prodded in a low Nélson cross from the right to give Benfica all three points and keep them four points behind the leaders Porto.

The teams lined up:

Desportivo das Aves: Nuno, Anilton, William, Sérgio Nunes, Pedro Geraldo, Filipe Anunciação, Mércio, Paulo Sérgio, Hernâni (Diego Gama 71), Jorge Ribeiro, Octávio (Sérgio Carvalho 67).

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Katsouranis, Anderson, Léo, Petit, Nuno Gomes, Karagounis, Derlei (Paulo Jorge 81), Miccoli (João Coimbra 90), Simão.

On Friday, Paços de Ferreira kept up their unbeaten home run with a penalty on 11 minutes from João Paulo to beat Vitória de Setúbal 1-0. Vitória are in a very dangerous position at the bottom of the Liga.

 

27/02/07

Benfica kept pace with FC Porto at the top, and drew away a little from Sporting, by beating Paços de Ferreira 3-1 in front of 35,000 at the Luz Monday. They were 2-0 up after half an hour through Simão, a curled free-kick, and Nuno Gomes, a close-range header from a Karagounis cross. Then just before the break, Fahel prodded in and suddenly the Benfica edifice was wobbling. Paços came out strongly in the second half, but their shooting was poor, and Simão with a rare header sentenced them on 64 minutes.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Anderson, Léo, Katsouranis, Petit, Simão (João Coimbra 90), Karagounis (Derlei 83), Miccoli, Nuno Gomes (Paulo Jorge 90).

Paços de Ferreira: Coelho, Mangualde, Geraldo, Luiz Carlos, Antunes, Elias (Mojica 82), Paulo Sousa, Fahel (Leanderson 62), Edson, João Paulo, Cristiano (Ricardinho 68).

Estrela da Amadora had not lost for nine games, but they lost the record at Sporting Braga in Jorge Costa's second game in charge (and second win). José Fonte put Estrela in front, but on the half-hour Wender missed the chance to draw Braga level from the spot. Six minutes later, Braga had another penalty, and this time captain Paulo Jorge took the responsibility … and scored. In the dying minutes, Wender made up for the earlier penalty miss by heading in the winner.

There was another 2-1 result in Madeira, Marítimo beating rivals for a European place União de Leiria. União took an early lead through Marcos António, but Mbesuma equalised early in the second half, and Laranjeiro put through his own goal ten minutes from time.

26/02/07

FC Porto put five past second-to-bottom club Beira-Mar Sunday … in Aveiro. They were 1-0 up on just 18 minutes, Lisandro López chesting in a Ricardo Quaresma cross from the right. Beira-Mar put up a good fight until the 71st minute when the other Argentinian in the Porto side, captain Lucho González, netted, but there was a clear offside beforehand, not given. Beira-Mar collapsed from that point on, shipping three more goals in 13 minutes from Raul Meireles, sub Alan and another sub Adriano, from the spot. FC Porto are seven points clear of Benfica and Sporting at the top, although Benfica have a game in hand.

The teams lined up:

Beira-Mar: Eduardo, Ricardo, Devic, Alcaraz, Ezequias, Leandro Makelele (André Leão 45) Veselinovic (Roma 73), Rui Lima, Tininho (Matheus 62), Delibasic, Edgar

FC Porto: Helton, Bosigwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Cech, Lucho, Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles, Lisandro (Alan 73), Hélder Postiga (Adriano 62), Quaresma (Renteria 78)

A Diego José header gave Nacional the lead on 54 minutes at Vitória de Setúbal, and it lasted until seven minutes from time when South Korean forward Kim hit home a loose ball, the game finishing 1-1.

On Saturday, Belenenses were two up at Naval after just 11 minutes, through Nivaldo and Dady. Lito six minutes before half time and Gaúcho six minutes after it drew Naval level, but José Pedro prodded home from in front of goal on 71 to give the Blues all the points, 2-3.

Earlier in the evening, Boavista broke a recent run of draws with a valuable 2-0 win at Académica. Grzelak hit a cross shot from the left after he appeared to have fouled Paulo Sérgio to get the ball, and 20 minutes later the other Pole in the Boavista side, Kazmierczak, got a carbon copy goal.

24/02/07

Sporting may fall further behind in the title race after all they could do on Friday against bottom club Desportivo das Aves was draw 0-0, and that was at home. Sporting had their chances, especially in the second half, but Nuno was on great form in the Aves goal. Sporting were whistled off the pitch by their own fans at the end. They are third on 39 points, the same as Benfica and four behind FC Porto. Aves stay bottom, with just 11 points from 19 games.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira, Anderson Polga, Miguel Veloso, Ronny (Farnerud 60), Custódio (Carlos Martins 75), João Moutinho, Yannick, Nani, Liedson, Bueno (Alecsandro 81).

Desportivo das Aves: Nuno, Anilton, William, Sérgio Nunes, Pedro Geraldo, Filipe Anunciação, Mércio, Leandro (Paulo Sérgio 61), Artur Futre, Jorge Ribeiro (Jocivalter 86), Hernâni (Marcelo Henrique 72).

Porto visit second-from-bottom club Beira-Mar this weekend, while Benfica host Paços de Ferreira.

19/02/07

Benfica overtook Lisbon rivals Sporting and moved into second place in the Liga, four points behind FC Porto, after beating Nacional 2-0 in Madeira. Italian striker Fabrizio Miccoli was the hero with two goals: on 62 minutes, he had time on the edge of the area to control a loose ball with his chest and volley it low into the left-hand corner of the net, and ten minutes later, he beat Patacas to the ball on the halfway line and ran it on to prod it past the oncoming Diego.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego Benaglio, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Alonso, Chainho, Bruno Amaro (Zé Rui 66), Bruno (Rogerinho 46), Juliano, Diego (Chilikov 80), Rodrigo.

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Anderson, Luisão, Léo, Petit, Katsouranis, Rui Costa (Karagounis 12), Simão, Miccoli (Paulo Jorge 82), Nuno Gomes (João Coimbra 92).

Slusarski, with a goal in the dying moments, gave União de Leiria the three points (1-0) in their game at home to Sporting Braga, thus leapfrogging the northern side into fourth place.

Estrela da Amadora were 2-0 up after a quarter of an hour at home to bottom but one club Beira-Mar, Luís Loureiro and Marco Paulo getting the goals. But they let the visitors back into it and the club from Aveiro drew level before the break through Alcaraz and Edgar, the second goal coming in added time.

Bottom club Desportivo das Aves also drew, at home to Marítimo. Diogo Valente put the Madeiran side in front on 22 minutes, but on the stroke of half time, Filipe Oliveira put through his own goal to give Aves a point.

18/02/07

Sporting dropped two points Saturday at Paços de Ferreira, unbeaten at home in over a year. It looked like Liedson might have resolved it after 51 minutes, latching onto a Miguel Veloso through ball before planting it past the excellent Peçanha, but twenty minutes later, Cristiano strode through the Sporting midfield to drive the ball low past Ricardo's left hand from a full 25 metres.

The teams lined up:

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde, Luiz Carlos, Geraldo, Antunes, Fahel, Paulo Sousa, Elias, Edson (Leanderson 88), João Paulo (Emerson 90), Ricardinho (Cristiano 58).

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira (Romagnoli 81), Tonel, Anderson Polga, Ronny, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Yannick (Carlos Martins 66m), Nani, Liedson, Bueno (Alecsandro 66).

Boavista proved once again not to have a killer instinct, dropping two points at home to Vitória de Setúbal. Grzelak put Boavista in front on the hour, heading in a cross from the right by Hugo Monteiro, but the former Boavista striker Ayew equalised for Vitória five minutes from time, heading down a Varela cross that squirmed out of 'keeper William's grasp and in.

17/02/07

FC Porto set the pace for this weekend's Liga games, comfortably beating Naval 4-0 at the Estádio do Dragão. The result was constructed with goals from Porto's Argentinian players: Lisandro Lopez ran onto a through ball from Bruno Morães on 20 minutes and flicked the ball past Taborda, while Gonzalez drove home after Taborda had only half-cleared a low cross from Pepe on 35. The game was practically finished off a minute into the second half when Postiga put Lopez through for his second, and substitute Adriano provided the topping on the cake with a diving header from a Cech cross on the stroke of time.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fucile, Lucho Gonzalez (Ibson 60), Bruno Moraes (Renteria 76), Paulo Assunção, Lisandro Lopez (Adriano 48), Hélder Postiga, Marek Cech.

Naval: Taborda, Mário Sérgio, Paulão, Gaúcho, China, Gilmar, Orestes, Lito, Fajardo (Carlitos 83), Osvaldo (Saulo 61), Nei (João Ribeiro 46).

14/02/07

Teams will wear a black armband for this week's games, in memory of Federation vice-president Carlos Silva, who passed away on 4 February. Portugal's players wore black armbands for last week's international against Brazil in London, as did the teams for last weekend's Taça de Portugal ties.

03/02/07

It has been quite a weekend already for the Portuguese championship. Benfica gave away two points at home to Boavista on Friday (0-0), but they saw the gap between themselves and top club FC Porto narrowed on Saturday, although they were overtaken by Lisbon rivals Sporting. On the night, it was two substitutes that made all the difference.

Porto, without the suspended Pepe and Ricardo Quaresma, had most of the play against Estrela da Amadora at home, Estrela's 'keeper Paulo Lopes and poor finishing denying Porto the lead. They had a Hélder Postiga 'goal' disallowed late in the game for offside, but deep into added time, with Porto gambling on four forwards in an effort to break the deadlock, Estrela's Tiago Gomes beat a tiring Paulo Assunção on the right, crossing low for Anselmo to beat Ricardo Costa to the ball and, with a neat flick, squeeze the ball between Hélton and the near post to give Estrela a 1-0 win and all three points. It was the first time Porto had dropped points at home all season, and it was Estrela's eighth straight game without defeat.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Ricardo Costa, Bruno Alves, Lucas Mareque (Ibson 76), Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles (Alan 59), Lucho Gonzalez, Vieirinha (Sokota 69), Hélder Postiga, Lisandro.

Estrela da Amadora: Paulo Lopes, Rui Duarte, José Fonte, Amoreirinha, Edu Silva, Luís Loureiro, Tiago Gomes, Marco Paulo, Rui Borges (Zamorano 80), Nuno Viveiros (Hugo Carreira 68), Jones (Anselmo 68).

Later in the evening, Sporting struggled to break down a typically well organised Nacional and went behind on 26 minutes to a Bruno Amaro goal. Time was ticking away, and past the hour mark Sporting were still behind. Coach Paulo Bento brought on attacking players Romagnoli, Pereirinha and Bueno, and it was the Uruguayan striker Bueno that was to prove the hero of the evening for Sporting. A quarter of an hour from the end, he headed in his first (although fouling Alonso in the process), he got his second three minutes later, Liedson added a third on 83 minutes, Bueno got another on the stroke of time and in added time he got his fourth, the best of the lot, turning Diego and dummying Ávalos and Fernandes before placing his shot coolly into the net for 5-1. It was the first time in 15 years that a Sporting player had scored four; the last was Jorge Cadete in 1992, against another Madeiran side, União.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira, Tonel (Pereirinha 57), Polga, Rodrigo Tello (Romagnoli 66), Miguel Veloso, Nani, Carlos Martins (Carlos Bueno 57), João Moutinho, Liedson, Djaló.

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ricardo Fernandes, Ávalos, Alonso, Chaínho (Pateiro 81), Bruno, Bruno Amaro, Juliano, Zé Rui (Leandro do Bomfim 74), Rodrigo.

With two 0-1 defeats in the space of a week (they lost at União de Leiria last weekend), FC Porto suddenly see their commanding position at the top of the table crumbling; they are now only three points clear of Sporting, four of Benfica.

03/02/07

Benfica presented the cub's new mascot Friday, a man in an Eagle costume. The mascot is called Vitória … but it brought only bad luck and a draw on the night. After seven consecutive wins at the Luz, Benfica, playing in front of 50,000 expectant Benfiquistas, were halted by Boavista goalkeeper William (a magnificent display), the post (three times) and some sloppy finishing. The game could have ended 5-0 or 6-0, but a 0-0 draw is what Benfica got, leaving them weaker vis-à-vis their rivals Sporting and top club FC Porto. Boavista, who only really showed in the first 15 minutes, have now stolen points off Sporting (1-1) and Benfica in the space of a week.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Nélson (João Coimbra 90), Luisão, Anderson, Léo, Petit (Mantorras 82), Katsouranis, Karagounis (Derlei 63), Rui Costa, Simão, Nuno Gomes.

Boavista: William, Lucas, Ricardo Silva, Cissé, Nuno Pinto, Tiago (Ricardo Sousa 67), Essame, Kaz, Hugo Monteiro (Marquinho 67), Fary (Marcos António 84), Grzelak.

 

30/01/07

Nacional beat Marítimo 3-2 on Monday in a ding-dong Madeiran derby. Nacional were two-up within a quarter of an hour through Bruno Amaro, with a monumental strike from 20 metres, and Gregory, an own goal. But they took their foot off and their local rivals slowly made their way back into the game, especially in the second half. Filipe Oliveira pulled one back on 66 minutes, Bruno Fernandes re-established the two-goal lead three minutes later, but Lipatin on 84, with a glancing header similar to Filipe Oliveira's, kept Nacional on their toes until the end.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Diego, Patacas, Ávalos, Ricardo Fernandes, Alonso, Bruno Fernandes, Chainho (Fernando Cardozo 67), Bruno Amaro, Rodrigo (José Rui 90), Cássio, Juliano.

Marítimo: Marcos, Briguel (Filipe Oliveira 27), Gregory, Milton do Ó, Evaldo, Wénio (Olberdam 56), Arvid, Kanu (Lipatin 56), Marcinho, Diogo Valente, Mbesuma.

Nacional climb above Marítimo into 6th. Just four points separate the team that is 5th, União de Leiria, from Belenenses in 10th.

29/01/07

Sporting lost ground to local rivals Benfica when they could only draw 1-1 at Boavista on Sunday. Sporting's Liedson sneaked between the central defenders to head home a Tello cross five minutes into the second half, but ten minutes later, the same Tello handled a shot by José Manuel and Ricardo Sousa sent Sporting 'keeper Ricardo the wrong way to equalise from the spot kick. Sporting were on the back foot on the hour when Alecsandro was sent off for a second yellow, but then fifteen minutes later, José Manuel got his marching orders, also for a second yellow, to even up the numbers.

Sporting are a point behind Benfica, six behind FC Porto.

The teams lined up:

Boavista: William; Lucas, Hélder Rosário, Cissé, Nuno Pinto (Fary 72), Essame, Kazmierczack, Ricardo Sousa (Livramento 82), Zé Manel, Grzelak, Linz (Hugo Monteiro 87)

Sporting: Ricardo, Caneira, Tonel, Polga, Tello, João Moutinho (Djaló 81), Custódio (Carlos Martins 46), Romagnoli (Miguel Veloso 64), Nani, Alecsandro, Liedson

Vitória de Setúbal got three precious points in their fight against relegation with a 1-0 win at Académica, a result that drags os Estudantes down into the maul.

According to the national daily Correio da Manhã, the final whistle was the best moment in a dour 0-0 draw between Estrela da Amadora and Naval. The bottom two clubs Desportivo das Aves and Beira-Mar ground out the same result.

28/01/07

Benfica moved to within five points of FC Porto Saturday with a 2-1 win at Lisbon neighbours Belenenses. Benfica got their goals in an attractive first half, Rui Costa involved in both: on 13 minutes, his through ball was touched in by Simão, with 'keeper Costinha recklessly out of his goal, and on 37, his free-kick was headed in from close range by giant centre back Luisão, Benfica's best player. The second half was a scrappy affair, with Belenenses controlling play but producing little penetration. They did pull one back on 87 minutes with the goal of the game, the excellent Rodrigo Alvim crossing, Dady stepping over the ball and Silas coolly slotting it in. But it was a bit late to do any more, and Benfica, perhaps wisely, spent what was left of the game playing for time. Belenenses' frustration manifested itself with a red card in added time for José Pedro, who had elbowed Katsouranis in a challenge for the ball.

The teams lined up:

Belenenses: Costinha, Amaral, Rolando, Nivaldo, Rodrigo Alvim, Pinheiro (Eliseu 77), Mancuso, José Pedro, Silas, Dady, Roma (Garcés 45)

Benfica: Quim, Nélson, Luisão, Anderson, Léo, Katsouranis (Beto 93), Petit, Rui Costa (Manú 85), Karagounis, Nuno Gomes (Mantorras 91), Simão

Paços de Ferreira, who have not lost at home for over a year, were 3-0 up after an hour at home to Sporting Braga, with goals from Elias (first half), João Paulo and Antunes. Braga finally woke up and pulled it back to 3-2 through Wender from the spot and Andrade, but like Belenenses, they left the recovery too late and that's how it ended. Paços' Pedrinha was sent off on the stroke of time.

The teams lined up:

Paços de Ferreira: Peçanha, Mangualde, Geraldo, Luiz Carlos, Antunes, Pedrinha, Paulo Sousa, Elias, Edson João Paulo, Cristiano (Renato Queirós 86)

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge, Nem, Paíto (Bruno Gama 62), Vandinho, Ricardo Chaves (Andrade 74), Wender, João Pinto (Diego 46), Cesinha, Zé Carlos

27/01/07

FC Porto lost for only the second time this season on Friday, going down 0-1 at União de Leiria. The game was influenced greatly by the sending off of Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma on the stroke of half time for allegedy hitting Tixier in the face as the two tussled for the ball (it seemed a harsh decision as any contact made looked accidental). Porto 'keeper Helton later called the refereeing "a disgrace". Porto, who had dominated the first half, crumbled in the second, letting União take control, and it was Tixier who sealed Porto's fate, heading in a free-kick from Ivanildo (on loan from Porto) on 70 minutes. Porto hit the bar through Bruno Alves in the final minutes, but it was União, coached by former Porto striker Domingos Paciência, who took the spoils.

The teams lined up:

União de Leiria: Fernando, Laranjeiro, Marcos António, Renato, Tixier, Faria, Paulo Gomes, Paulo Machado (Cadú da Silva 72), Sougou (Slusarki 33), Paulo César, Ivanildo (Alhandra 82).

FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Lucas Mareque, Lucho Gonzalez, Paulo Assunção (Vieirinha 73), Raul Meireles (Ibson 59), Lisandro Lopez, Hélder Postiga (Bruno Moraes 68), Ricardo Quaresma.

Sporting and Benfica now have a golden opportunity to make up ground on the leaders, but both have tough games this weekend: Benfica visit neighbours Belenenses on Saturday, while Sporting play at Boavista on Sunday. If they win their games, however, they will draw to within six and five points, respectively, of Porto.

Next weekend's games involving the Big Three have been shifted to Friday and Saturday to give players the chance to recover in time for the Portugal v Brazil friendly, to be played in London on 6 February.

16/01/07

There were just ten goals scored in the eight games of the 15th jornada of the Liga (equalling the lowest number scored – on the 3rd jornada)

FC Porto extended their lead at the top to seven points over Sporting with a comfortable 2-0 win at bottom club Desportivo das Aves, the goals coming early and late: Lucho González got the first on nine minutes after good teamwork, and Quaresma got the second in added time.

Sporting could do no better than a 0-0 draw at Belenenses in the Lisbon derby, causing them to lose ground to Porto and allowing Benfica to move within one point of them. Sporting midfielder Carlos Martins was sent off in the second half with yellow cards for two awful fouls.

Benfica copied FC Porto in an excellent game at Académica, both goals coming from defenders. Ricardo Rocha was offside to tap in on two minutes, but left back Léo was onside to score a superb goal two minutes from time.

Sporting Braga fell further behind Benfica with a 0-0 draw at Nacional, the same score as in the game between União de Leiria and Estrela da Amadora.

Beira-Mar stay second from bottom after a 0-1 defeat at Paços de Ferreira, Luíz Carlos getting the only goal ten minutes from time.

Naval climbed to 6th with a convincing 3-0 win at troubled Vitória de Setúbal, where home fans hurled abuse at their players as they left the dressing room. Fajardo in the frist half and Nei and Mário Sérgio in the second got the goals.

On Friday, Boavista drew 1-1 at home to Marítimo, who went in front through Marcinho on 19minutes after an awful mistake by Boavista's central defender Cissé. but just two minutes into the second half, Boavista salvaged a point with an excellent drive from Polish midfielder Kazmierczak.

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