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Portugal

The brotherhood of Christmas

Islam Slimani incredulous after having a goal disallowed

 

The Portuguese League has bid 2013 farewell with Sporting failing to maintain the two-point lead over rivals Porto and Benfica after a goalless draw at Alvalade against Nacional. For the first time in history, the winter break sees three teams assume the leadership, with one round to play in the league’s first half.

Sporting’s enthusiastic crowd were expecting to finally dismiss their own Ghost of Christmas Past, which usually turns the holiday season into a living nightmare for the green and white. Nacional had already proven themselves capable of suprising stronger opponents, as they did last month, holding the champions FC Porto to a 1-1 tie. And, once again, their mission was accomplished. Sporting scored by Islam Slimani, with 62 minutes on the clock, but referee Manuel Mota disallowed the goal for what he considered to be a foul by the… Continue reading →

Three by three

Benfica players celebrate their thrid of the night at Olhanense

 

In the Portuguese League, Sporting, FC Porto and Benfica scored three each to win their matches and leave everything unchanged at the top of the table. Sporting played first, on Saturday, and beat Belenenses by 3-0, displaying a positive attitude and showing they feel very comfortable in the role of the leader, despite their lack of relevant experience for the last five years.

Adrien Silva made it 1-0 from the penalty spot with 28 minutes on the clock, André Martins added to the lead shortly after the break and Wilson Eduardo settled the score with five minutes left to play. With this result, Sporting is now just three goals away of scoring as many as during the whole last season and coach Leonardo Jardim may well have to change his mind about not being a candidate to take home… Continue reading →

Sporting Lisbon takes control

Montero shows the way to first place

Eight years after being alone at the top of the table for the last time, Sporting has beaten Gil Vicente (0-2) at the traditionally complicated Cidade de Barcelos stadium and earned themselves a two-point lead over rivals Porto and Benfica. Fredy Montero was the man of the match once again, scoring two for second week in a row and allowing the Lions to make the most out of Benfica’s draw against a very modest Arouca.

Playing at their own ground, last season’s Europa League runners-up were surprised by Arouca’s organization and tenacity and found themselves trailing twice. But a controversial penalty on the 82nd minute allowed them to avoid what could have been a very embarrasing defeat at the hands of a team that struggles to leave relegation zone. The match ended with the score of 2-2.

In addition to losing co-leadership, Benfica… Continue reading →

Portugal: Coimbra’s students make way for new leaders

Fredy Montero scored twice and led Spoting to the top of the table

FC Porto lost the leadership of the Portuguese League after a 1-0 defeat in Coimbra against Académica. The blue and white were trying to get their heads up after an unusual sequence of three draws (two domestic and one in Champions League) but were surprised by Fernando Alexandre’s sense of opportunity. Académica’s midfielder took full advantage of a lack of concentration in the visitor’s defence after a corner kick and hit the ball to the top of the net, leaving goalkeeper Helton with no reaction.

Sporting and Benfica now share the top spot of the table and enjoy a two-point lead over Porto for the first time this season. Playing at Rio Ave, Benfica’s victory only materialized when the home side was reduced to ten men. Up to that moment, the team from Vila do Conde managed… Continue reading →

Portugal: Porto held to a draw, Benfica and Sporting closing in

Match day 10 of the Portuguese league saw FC Porto concede a home draw (1-1) against Nacional and lose ground over both their fiercest rivals at the top of the table. Striker Jackson Martinez gave Porto the lead with a tremendous header with 50 minutes on the clock but Mario Rondon rendered the effort worthless with only eight minutes to go.

The “Dragons” now have a single-point lead over Benfica and Sporting, who overcame two die-hard opponents and won their matches by the odd goal.

The match day started Saturday afternoon, with Benfica beating Braga thanks to a remarkable individual effort by former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic. On Sunday evening, Sporting visited Vitória Guimarães and managed to take home all three points when Islam Slimani struck home from close range. His shot deflected in by teammate and English defender Eric Dier.

These are the results of the round:

Saturday
Benfica… Continue reading →

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