Rio Ave closed the 10th jornada on Monday with a 3-0 home win over struggling Académica, Hassan with two in the first half and Ukra on 65 minutes providing the goals. The result pushes Rio Ave up to 7th in the table and pushes Sporting down to 8th on goal difference. Académica are equal 14th with Nacional and Arouca, all on eight points, four points above the drop zone (Penafiel).

The Liga takes a two-week break now for international football and the Taça de Portugal.

Benfica’s Argentinian forward Nico Gaitán has extended his contract with the club for another two years until June 2018.


It was a weekend that shook up the top of the table a little with some surprise results.

Top club Benfica didn’t surprise, although their job in Madeira was made hard by a combative Nacional side that set out their stall in the first minute with a goal from Edgar Abreu. They had little time to enjoy their lead, however, as Sálvio headed in a Gaitán cross, on seven minutes, helped by a fumble from young keeper Rui Silva. On 19 the ball wasn’t cleared by the Nacional defence and Jonás was on hand to prod the ball home for what would turn out to be the winner. In the second half, Nacional had reason to complain when an over-eager linesman called Marco Matías offside when he was through on goal; he wasn’t.

Benfica moved to 25 points, two ahead of Vitória de Guimarães, who won at Arouca on Friday. FC Porto might have expected to keep pace with both of them but fell behind, managing only a 2-2 draw in an exciting, open game at Estoril. Brahimi put them in the lead on 20 minutes with a ridiculous piece of skill that left his marker at the corner flag while he cut into the area and beat Kieszek at the near post. The useful Kuca equalised for Estoril seven minutes later, and they went in front on 81 after Tozé was pulled down by Fabiano; Tozé dusted himself off and calmly slotted home the spot kick. It looked like Porto were going to lose their first game of the season, but in the dying minutes, sub Óliver kept a cool head in the heart of the box and found the net to limit the damage. Porto are on 22 points, three behind their eternal rivals.

The surprising Belenenses went fourth after a 1-0 win at Moreirense, but they left it until a minute from time to get the points. Moreirense ‘keeper Marafona fouled Tiago Silva in the area, and it was the latter who stepped up to score from the spot.

Two late goals gave Sporting Braga the points over bottom club Gil Vicente on Saturday: Pardo on 82 and Pedro Santos on 85 did the damage. Gil were down to ten men for 55 minutes after Luís Silva saw a second yellow. Braga go fifth on 18 points.

The same as Paços de Ferreira, another surprise this season. They took their brand of organized, thoughtful football to Alvalade and squeezed a point out of a Sporting side that can’t seem to put two good performances together. Their first half was very poor and it was Paços who went into the break 1-0 up through Hurtado. Sporting coach Marco Silva made two half-time changes, bringing Montero and Carlos Mané on for William Carvalho and Carrillo, and Sporting were a different kettle of fish. Montero scored from outside the box on 49 minutes to equalise, and Sporting claimed a goal later when the same player netted, but it was rightly disallowed for Slimani being offside. Paços were down to ten men for the last 15 minutes as Sérgio oliveira saw a second yellow, but Sporting couldn’t capitalise and had to settle for just the one point. They’re 7th, eight points behind local rivals Benfica.

Elsewhere, there were two 1-0 wins: Giovani Rosa did it for Vitória de Setúbal at home to Marítimo, while Boavista waited until added time at the end of the second half to take the points from Penafiel with a Carlos Santos goal.

Penafiel remain in the relegation zone on four points, one ahead of Gil Vicente and four adrift of safety, while the win takes Boavista to a miraculous ten points, six clear of danger.


Vitória de Guimarães went provisionally top of the Primeira Liga on Friday when they won 2-1 at Arouca. Arouca were more than a match for the surprise title contenders; they hit the woodwork three times before taking the lead on 75 minutes when Luís Tinoco sent a free-kick in from the right and Diego Galo got a head to it. Vitória hadn’t been their normal combative selves, but the goal appeared to wake them up and they turned the score round in a seven-minute spell. Josué got a head to a corner on 82 minutes, and on 89, Bruno Gaspar galloped down the right, his shot was parried by Goicoechea and Hernâni, who had been wasteful up to that point, was on hand to slot the ball home.

Vitória have 23 points, Benfica 22 and FC Porto 21. Benfica visit Nacional while Porto play at Estoril, both on Sunday. Arouca remain fourth from bottom on eight points.

07/11/14 (II)

National coach Fernando Santos has named his squad for the upcoming games against Armenia (Euro 2016, 14/11) and Argentina (friendly in Manchester, 18/11). Right back Bosingwa returns to the fold after falling out with previous coach Paulo Bento.

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilha), Rui Patrício (Sporting)

Defenders: Bosingwa (Trabzonspor), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Cédric (Sporting), José Fonte (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient), Ricardo Carvalho (Mónaco), Tiago Gomes (Sporting Braga);

Midfielders: Adrien, João Mário and William Carvalho (Sporting), André Gomes (Valência), João Moutinho (Mónaco), Tiago (Atlético Madrid)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Éder (Sporting Braga), Hélder Postiga (Coruña), Nani (Sporting), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg)


The Big Three’s poorer brothers had a poor night in the Europa League on Thursday.

Estoril went down 1-0 at Moscow Dynamo to a Kuranyi goal on 77 minutes, four minutes after coming on as sub. Estoril still have a remote chance of qualifying out of Group E, though. PSV Eindhoven won at Panathinaikos, which means that the standings are as follows: Moscow Dynamo 12 points, PSV 7, Estoril 3, Panathinaikos 1.

Later in the evening Rio Ave could only draw 2-2 at home to Steaua Bucharest, putting them out of the competition. Diego Lopes headed in a Ukra free-kick on 35 minutes to give Rio Ave the lead, Steaua equalised on the hour through a Keseru volley, Diego Lopes restored Rio Ave’s lead on 77 minutes from the spot after Tarantini had been fouled in the box, but with the last kick of the match, deep into added time, Lucian Filip forced home a loose ball to give them seven points, two behind Dynamo Kiev and one ahead of Aalborg. Rio Ave have just the one point.

Portugal’s U-21s will play England, Italy and Sweden in next year’s European Championship (17-30 June). In Group B are Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark and Serbia. The opening game of the group will be between Portugal and England (18 June).


The two Portuguese teams involved in the Champions League on Wednesday followed the good example set by Benfica on Tuesday; all three results mean that Portugal move up to fourth in the UEFA rankings, behind Spain, England and Germany, but ahead of Italy.

FC Porto clinched qualification to the knockout stages with a convincing 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in Group H. Porto had their main chance to take the lead just before the break when Balenziaga fouled Danilo as he broke into the box, but Jackson Martínez crashed the spot kick against the bar. It was only a question of time, though - 56 minutes to be precise. Brahimi jinked his way to the line on the left and crossed for Jackson to make amends for the penalty miss and bundle the ball home. The result was made safe on 74 minutes: Laporte passed across the goal to Iraizoz, but the ball bobbled, he missed his clearance and Brahimi simply had to tap in.

Shakhtar beat BATE Borisov 5-0 in the other game, meaning that Porto qualify on ten points, with Shakhtar, on eight points, likely to join them. BATE have three and Athletic one.

“We had the hope and the will to beat a very demanding rival, who were playing their last cards to qualify, at a difficult venue” said Porto coach Julen Lopetegui. “The team gave an extraordinary response against a very good opponent and we were fair winners. The team showed character in the second half to react to adversity. This qualification makes me very happy, and it wasn’t easy. I don’t know how many teams have managed to do it in four games. We didn’t think it was possible. The team has to be congratulated - they responded well in all the situations.”

Sporting came from the refereeing-generated disappointment of Gelsenkirchen last week, and the semi-self-inflicted disappointment of the Liga defeat at Vitória de Guimarães at the weekend, to re-ignite their CL campaign with an excellent victory over Schalke 04 at Alvalade. It was the German side who had the first word on 17 minutes, a free kick from deep deflected into his own goal by Slimani. But perhaps reacting to the Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho’s public criticism of the team after Guimarães, they reacted decisively, central defender Sarr glancing in a header from an Adrien free-kick on 26 minutes. On 52, Jefferson directed a shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from outside the box on the left, and on 72 Nani tapped in after Carrillo made the line on the right and cut the ball back. At 3-1, Sporting needed only to hold on and they were home, but the inevitable happened and Schalke pulled one back throgh Aogo, breaking to the left of the goal and hitting a cross shot past Rui Patrício. To sportinguistas’ relief, Slimani made amends for his earlier mistake and ran onto a through ball from his own half to slot it past the oncoming Fahrmann and make it 4-2.

Chelsea could only draw 1-1 at Maribor, so it’s all open in Group G: Chelsea have eight points, Schalke 5, Sporting 4 and Maribor 2.

“The team’s character and personality came to the fore - we never stopped believing in ourselves,” said the proud Sporting coach Marco Silva. “We knew that we had to win to achieve what we wanted. We were at a disadvantage after what happened in Germany, and tonight we played our part. Our next game (at home to Maribor) will also be decisive and we have to play our part again, which is winning.


Benfica are still in with a shout in the Champions League after the two results in their group went their way on Tuesday. Earlier in the evening, Bayer Leverkusen beat Zenit 2-1 in St Petersburg to move to nine points and leave Zenit on four. Benfica joined them after beating AS Mónaco (5 points) 1-0 at the Luz.

Benfica had the best of the first half but could not convert their possession and pressure into goals. In the second half, Mónaco took the game by the scruff of the neck and were all over Benfica at times, but a mixture of good luck, and the lack of a clinical touch from Mónaco left it at 0-0 until the 82nd minute. Gaitán took a corner on the left, the ball found its way to the back post more by luck than design, and Talisca, for whom this was the first European goal, was lurking to tuck the ball away. It was the first goal that Mónaco have conceded in this Champions League - a precious goal and a precious victory that leaves second place doable - albeit difficult - for Benfica.


Belenenses moved up to 5th in the table on Monday (pushing Sporting down to 6th) after they beat struggling Boavista 3-1 at a rain-sodden Restelo Stadium in Lisbon. Boavista, with newcomers Uchebo and Gabriel starting for the first time, were playing some of their best football of the season, with brisk inter-passing up front and lots of mobility from the midfield and front-runners, but their defence wasn’t at the same level and Belenenses were in a clinical mood.

The hosts took the lead on 13 minutes; Miguel Rosa found space on the left and his low cross skimmed across the face of the goal, escaping the defenders but finding Deyverson who simply had to side-foot it in from ten metres. Boavista were back in it two minutes later, Brito thumping the ball home after a misunderstanding in midfield between Bruno China and João Meira. But Boavista’s defence was on holiday again on the half-hour, allowing Paulo Sturgeon to break in from the right and feed Deyverson to get his and Belenenses’ second with a crisp shot from just outside the box; he has seven for the season. The final result was made four minutes later when Sturgeon chased down a seemingly lost ball in the right corner and crossed for Miguel Rosa to rise unchallenged and head home.

If the first half had been lively and interesting, the second was slow and dull, not helped by a soggy pitch following a half-time downpour. Boavista had the best chance of the half on 70 minutes, their most dangerous player Brito finding himself in front of goal, but he hooked his shot wide. It would have put the visitors back in the game, but their resolve collapsed from then on in. Boavista are third from bottom on just seven points from their nine games.


Paços de Ferreira notched up their fourth straight win, putting four past Vitória de Setúbal and going ... fourth, one point ahead of Sporting and five behind leaders Benfica. It all kicked off in the second half, Urreta scoring a wonderful solo goal on 52 minutes. Sérgio Oliveira and Hurtado added two on 66 and 79 before Paulo Tavares pulled one back for Vitória on 83. But it was no more than a consolation, and Bruno Moreira made it 4-1 on the stroke of time.

Sporting Braga went sixth, two points behind Paços, with a 1-1 draw at Académica. Braga striker Éder got his second goal in two games on the hour, folllowing up when a Pardo shot was only half-saved by Cristiano. A quarter of an hour from time, Académica got their point when Aderlan’s shot was deflected over Braga ‘keeper Matheus by Luíz Carlos.

Gil Vicente got a rare point in another 1-1 draw, at home to Arouca. Caetano put Gil in front on 77 minutes, but they couldn’t hold out for what would have been their first win, Diallo equalising ten minutes later. Gil remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just three points from their nine games.

The mid-table meeting between the two Ms, Marítimo and Moreirense, ended with a 2-1 win for the visitors, who took the lead on 17 minutes through João Pedro. Danilo Pereira made it level on 52 but Marítimo slipped to their second defeat in a row from an André Simões goal on 56 minutes. Moreirense move to 9th, leapfrogging Marítimo.


FC Porto remain second in the table after a 2-0 home win over Nacional. In the end they were coasting, but it had been difficult to build up the result. Full-back Danilo put them in front on nine minutes, shooting through Rui Silva’s legs after the ‘keeper had parried a Jackson Martínez header. But it wasn’t until 74 minutes that the result was safe, Brahimi cutting in from the left and curling a lovely shot into the far corner.

Vitória de Guimarães are third after an impressive 3-0 victory over Sporting. The more aggressive Vitória were always on top. Their first two goals were almost identical, João Afonso heading the ball across goal after crosses from the right: for the first on 15 minutes, Bouba Saré headed in; for the second on 42 (where Afonso was offside) it was Maurício who put through his own goal as he tried to head over. Vitória’s captain and best player on the night, André André, got the third from the spot after he himself had been fouled by Cédric.

Two Sporting fans were stabbed in tussles after the game and were hospitalised.

Porto keep within a point of Benfica at the top, with Vitória a point behind them. Sporting are now six points off first place.

Estoril put recent poor performances behind them with a 2-1 win at struggling Penafiel. Emidio Rafael on seven minutes and Tozé on 68 gave them a cushion. Penafiel ran them close with a Rabiola goal six minutes from time.


Benfica opened the 9th jornada of the Primeira Liga with a difficult 1-0 win over Rio Ave at the Luz. Top scorer Talisca – he now has eight goals – was the hero on the hour with a sublime strike from 25 metres. Eight minutes later, Esmael found the net from a cross by Wakaso on the right, but it was controversially disallowed. TV replays show that he was perhaps offside, but only by millimetres. The controversy arose because the linesman who gave the decision was a good five metres behind play and couldn’t possibly have seen it.

Benfica recorded revenues of 184.7 million euros in 2013/14, according to their accounts, published on Friday, up 24.7% on the previous season. The transfer of footballers represented 41% of that total, while the club’s own TV channel, Benfica TV, brought in 15%. Participation in the European competitions (Champions League and then Europa League) made up 12%. Sponsors contributed 11% (up 12.7%).

Gate receipts were only 7% (down 23%). The total of 6.5 million euros was 1.9 million less than the previous season, mainly with respect to the Champions League – takings from the domestic league were up 2.3%. (Maisfutebol)






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