At the other end of the table, bottom club CD Aves had a comfortable win at home to SC Portimonense who look to be in all sorts of trouble.
Sporting were hoping to close the gap on the top two as they entertained Benfica at the Alvalade and the first real chance fell to the home side as Rafael Camacho made full use of his blistering pace to skip away from Ferro but he failed to take advantage.
Both teams wasted chances until the stalemate was broken ten minutes from time when the Eagles substitute Rafa Silva, he’d only been on the pitch six minutes, took advantage of a loose ball inside the box to side-foot a shot past Sporting keeper Tiago Liori. The Portuguese international, who scored the opening goal of Benfica’s 5-0 victory in the 2019 Supertaça against Sporting at the Estádio Algarve back in August, was on hand to double his and Benfica’s account in the ninth minute of stoppage time.
This was Benfica’s 14th consecutive league victory and barring a major disaster they will be once again lifting the league title come May.
SC Braga’s new boss Rúben Amorim could not have wished for a better start to his top flight managerial career. After a 7-1 victory at Belenenses followed by a 2-1 home win over Tondela the first big test came as Os Arsenalistas travelled to the Dragon’s Den in Porto. The last time Porto had lost at home was to Benfica in early March last year.
Within five minutes the visitors shocked the home faithful as Fransérgio, gathering up Porto’s attempts to clear their lines from a corner, slammed home a volley from the edge of the area. The Brazilian was made to wait to have his goal validated as the referee checked for a possible offside via VAR. Three minutes before the break Porto were awarded a penalty following Raúl Silva’s mistimed tackle on Jesús Corona. Alex Telles stepped up to the spot but Braga keeper Matheus was on hand to save the shot with his trailing foot. Ten minutes after the interval Porto were awarded another spot-kick after Otávio was brought down by Nuno Sequeira. This time Tiquinho Soares elected to face Matheus but his side-footed attempt headed straight for the outside of the post before going wide. Tiquinho Soares made amends for the miss just two minutes later when he netted the equaliser but twenty minutes later Braga were back in front thanks to a Paulinho glancing header at the far-post from a free-kick.
This memorable victory for Braga should set them up nicely as they close in on FC Famalicão and Sporting in a quest for third spot in the league and a UEFA Europa League place next season.
Portimonense suffered a three goal defeat at Aves and, not having won since November, will be hoping to secure points against Belenenses (away) on Sunday before entertaining Moreirense at home a week later. In February they face difficult games at Sporting and FC Porto.