There was no change at the top of the Primeira Liga as the top four clubs recorded wins but it was FC Porto who had to wait until three minutes from time to snatch victory against lowly Portimonense at the Estádio do Dragão.
The visitors will think themselves unlucky not to have returned south with at least a point. Eight minutes before the break, former Porto centre-forward, Jackson Martinez spurned the opportunity to give Portimonense the lead when he headed wide when totally unmarked from a corner. Worse was to follow on the stroke of half-time as the Colombian international was tripped in the box and from the resulting penalty blazed his spot-kick high over the bar.
Portimonense, fighting for their top flight survival, battled valiantly during the second-half as Porto increased the pressure. But it was all to no avail as Telles bagged all three points in spec-tacular fashion in the 87th minute, thundering a long-range strike deep into Gonda’s net and clinching an important win for Porto in the title race.
Benfica have had a torrid time in recent weeks losing away at second place Porto and then being mugged by SC Braga at the Estádio da Luz, so victory at Gil Vicente was imperative if they were to keep their title ambitions on track.
The single goal win came in the fifteenth minute courtesy of a Vinicius header from Adel Taarabt’s cross. A former Tottenham starlet, Taarabt developed into a genuine superstar at Queens Park Rangers as he dazzled fans in the Championship and then the Premier League with his audacious skills and goals. However, ill-discipline and an apparent reluctance for hard graft saw both Neil Warnock and then Harry Redknapp lose patience with the playmaker, and loan spells to Fulham and Milan followed. He then moved to Benfica in 2015 but hardly ever played, and has even been demoted to the club’s B team for large parts of his career.
However a year ago, after seven months in the reserves, Taarabt was back to the senior set-up and he hasn’t looked back since. He has played all but four of Benfica’s league matches this season and his influence cannot be underestimated.
SC Braga returned from Scotland having surrendered a 2-0 lead at Ibrox Park and finally losing their first-leg Europa Cup tie 3-2 against Glasgow Rangers.
Amorim made eight changes as Braga beat V.Setúbal 3-1 to hold on to third place. Horta (63’) and Wilson Eduardo (75’) gave Os Arsenalistas a two goal lead before Ghilas reduced the arrears in the eighty-ninth minute.
Deep into stoppage time Barcelona bound Trincão made the game safe. A month ago FC Barcelona announced the transfer of Trincão, with effect from 1st July. The Portugal U21 international signed a five-year contract with a staggering buyout clause of €500m. Following one of Sporting’s finest performances of the season, defeating Istanbul Basaksehir 3-1 in the Europa League first-leg at the Avalade, the Lions were hoping to continue the good work against Boavista.
In January Andraž Šporar joined Sporting on a five-year contract for a fee of €6m, making him the most expensive player in the history of the Slovak Super Liga. He repaid a large slice of that transfer fee by scoring against Istanbul Basaksehir and got his first Prim-eira Liga goal when he diverted Gonzalo Plata’s free-kick after just twelve minutes against Boavista. The Ecuadorean winger Gonzalo Plata added a second before the interval to leave Sporting snapping at the heels of SC Braga.