Primeira Liga Week in Review

Tanaka's last-minute goal gave a visiting Sporting side a 1-0 victory over Braga.

Tanaka’s last-minute goal gave a visiting Sporting side a 1-0 victory over Braga.

This weekend in the Primeira Liga was an important one at the top of the table. Current champions and league-leaders Benfica hosted high-flyers Vitoria Guimaraes, while a resurgent Sporting side visited Braga. Let’s take a look at the action:

The first match of the round was a Friday match between Estoril and Moreirense. Estoril has failed to capture their form over the past two seasons, though they find themselves at a respectable mid-table position. Moreirense, despite having just been promoted this year, also find themselves middle of the table. Estoril struck first through defender Ruben Fernandes, but were pegged back by Moreirense just after the restart by midfielder Vitor Gomes.

On Saturday, fans witnessed one of the more intriguing fixtures of the round. League-leaders Benfica hosted a hugely-impressive Vitoria Guimaraes side. Ahead of this match, many fans wondered how Jorge Jesus’s Benfica would cope without their star midfielder Enzo Perez, who recently departed for Valencia. Jesus and Benfica answered that clearly, as his side rolled over Vitoria 3-0. Goals from Jonas, Ola John, and Nicolas Gaitan earned the victory for Benfica. In Saturday’s second match, Academica drew Pacos de Ferreira 2-2. Both teams went into halftime without scoring, but soon after, Academica took the lead, through a Marcos Paulo penalty. Just minutes later, Pacos tied up the game, courtesy of a goal from defender Rafael. Late in the game, Academica once again took the lead, thanks to a goal from substitute Mineiro. But late into stoppage time, Pacos once again tied up the game, thanks to a dramatic goal from Vasco. In Saturday’s final match, Porto defeated Belenenses 3-0. A first half goal from Jackson Martinez, along with second half goals from Oliver Torres and Evandro helped Porto to the win.

In Sunday’s first match, Arouca hosted Vitoria Setubal. A late goal from Nuno Coelho was enough to push Arouca past Vitoria Setubal, as both teams sit closer to the relegation zone than they would surely like. In a game riddled with expulsions, Gil Vicente hosted Penafiel. Both teams are desperately fighting relegation, and find themselves at the bottom of the table. Despite taking the lead through Rabiola, Penafiel were unable to avoid defeat, as a second half surge saw Gil Vicente score twice (through Joao Vilela and Simeon Nwankwo) and win 2-1. That win was Gil Vicente’s first of the season. Next, Rio Ave and Maritimo both played out to a scoreless draw. Elsewhere, Nacional hosted Boavista. Not much was expected of Boavista this season, following their addition to the league, despite having played in the Portuguese third tier just last season. The team find themselves at 12th place in the league; a respectable position given their situation. Against Nacional on Sunday, however, they could not manage a win, thanks to two goals from Nacional striker Lucas Joao, which overturned Leozinho’s goal for Boavista. In the last match (and possibly the most anticipated) match of the round, Sporting Braga hosted Sporting CP. Both sides have been on impressive winning runs of late, and are both fighting for Champions League spots at the top of the table. Though Sporting seemed the better team throughout the match in terms of chances created, Braga held their own. Fans would have to wait until the last kick of the match for a goal, however. Sporting’s Junya Tanaka, who had yet to score in the league after arriving in the summer, beautifully curled a free-kick into the back of the net, breaking Braga fans’ and players’ hearts and giving Sporting a 1-0 win. That win saw Sporting capture third place in the table, overtaking Vitoria Guimaraes.

Top Performers of the week (according to player ratings)*

9: Lucas Joao – Nacional

9: Nicolas Gaitan – Benfica

9: Junya Tanaka – Sporting

8: Jose Sa – Maritimo

8: Nani – Sporting

8: Tiago Rodrigues – Nacional

8: Goicoechea – Arouca

8: Nuno Coelho – Arouca

8: Hector Herrera – Porto

8: Oliver Torres – Porto

8: Urreta – Pacos Ferreira

8: Jonas – Benfica

8: Julio Cesar – Benfica

*all player ratings are on a ten-point scale

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