After last weekend’s upset-filled action, Round 19 returned a sense of normalcy. Sporting, Braga, Benfica, and Porto all recorded wins over potentially tricky opponents, while Nacional and Rio Ave continued to climb the table. Here’s all the action, as it happened.
The only action occurring on Friday was between hosts Braga and visitors Moreirense. The two sides played to a scoreless draw at the reverse fixture earlier in the season, and this match could have easily been the same. Both teams have had mixed fortunes as of late in the league, but both are performing admirably this season. At the end, Braga edged away with a narrow 1-0 victory, thanks to a goal from Pedro Santos, though in all honesty, the match could have gone either way.
The bulk of the action was on Saturday, and Benfica faced Boavista in the first fixture of the day. Boavista have been relying on home form this season, and with only one away victory this entire season (against Vitoria Setubal), little was expected from Petit’s men as they traveled to the Estadio da Luz. This match featured Pizzi as Benfica’s box-to-box midfielder, filling the role that Enzo Perez once filled. In the end, Benfica recorded a predictably comfortable 3-0 victory, with goals coming from Lima, Maxi Pereira, and Jonas (penalty). The win sees Benfica continue their domination at the top of the table.
In Madeira, Nacional hosted Belenenses. Tiago Rodrigues (who has been in red-hot form since arriving on loan) scored a wonderful free-kick to open up the scoring in Nacional’s favor, only for Miguel Rosa to equalize just before the half. A second-half Marco Matias goal was enough to give Manuel Machado’s men a 2-1 win over Belenenses, which sees them continue their impressive winning run.
Elsewhere, a struggling Penafiel side welcomed a Vitoria Guimaraes side that has seemed to have lost some steam. Penafiel are fighting for survival in the league, while Vitoria are fighting for European qualification. An impressive performance from Penafiel earned them a 1-1 draw, with Joao Martins giving them the lead, before an Andre Andre penalty equalized for Vitoria. The result sees Vitoria slip further away from the top of the table.
Sunday’s action opened up with Estoril visiting Rio Ave. Estoril’s Yohan Tavares saw red on the half-hour mark, and with Del Valle scoring the resulting penalty, Rio Ave looked in firm control of the match. Soon after, however, Rio Ave’s Prince Gouano was sent off, bringing both teams to ten men. Seba leveled the scores for Estoril late in the second half, before Rio Ave grabbed the lead, thanks to a stoppage-time penalty scored by Sporting CP target Hassan.
In Coimbra, Academica hosted Maritimo. Academica sat one spot above the relegation zone before the match, while Maritimo sat in a more comfortable mid-table position. The match ended at 1-1, thanks to a first-half goal from Maritimo’s Edgar Costa and a second-half goal from Academica’s Aderlan. The match also saw Sporting CP loanee duo Ricardo Esgaio and Salim Cisse debut for Academica. Both performed admirably.
In a similar encounter, Gil Vicente hosted Vitoria Setubal, with both teams are languishing at the lower end of the table. A first half goal from Gil Vicente’s Joao Vilela was followed by a second-half goal from Setubal’s Zequinha, making the final score at 1 apiece.
In one of the more anticipated fixtures of the day, Arouca hosted Sporting CP. Arouca, like Gil Vicente, Vitoria Setubal, Academica, and Penafiel, are languishing near the bottom of the table. Sporting, on the other hand, was unbeaten in 10 games coming into the match. Despite going behind, thanks to a first half penalty from Arouca’s David Simao, Sporting secured the victory after three unanswered goals coming from Fredy Montero, Andre Carrillo, and Tobias Figueiredo (who scored his first for the club).
The final fixture of the round was a bit of an unpredictable one. Pacos Ferreira, who had just defeated Benfica a week earlier, traveled to Porto, who had just lost to Maritimo just a week earlier. One of the story-lines coming into the match was on what impact Sergio Oliveira would have on the game. It was announced recently that Sergio will be returning to Porto next season, and after he scored the decisive penalty to give Pacos the win over Benfica just a week before, questions were raised as to if he could repeat it against his future employers. In the end, Pacos didn’t even come close. The visiting team was swept aside, as Porto pummeled them 5-0. Goals came from Jackson Martinez, Cristian Tello, Hector Herrera, a Ricardo Quaresma penalty, and one of the goals of the Primeira Liga this season: a trivela from Ricardo Quaresma. Take a look here.
Top Performers of the week (according to ForaDeJogo.net player ratings)*
8 – Maxi Pereira: Benfica
8 – Samaris: Benfica
8 – Tiago Rodrigues: Nacional
8 – Tiago Pinto: Rio Ave
8 – Del Valle: Rio Ave
8 – Hassan: Rio Ave
8 – Toze: Estoril
8 – Carlos Mane: Sporting CP
8 – Andre Carrillo: Sporting CP
8 – Oliver Torres: Porto
8 – Ricardo Quaresma: Porto
8 – Jackson Martinez: Porto
8 – Cristian Tello: Porto