Sporting Clube de Portugal have completed a league and cup double by sealing their 11th Portuguese futsal title, beating outgoing champions SL Benfica 3-1 on Sunday to win their best-of-five play-off series 3-1.
Sporting went into the match with the championship in their sights after defeating Benfica 4-2 on Saturday, having won the opening contest 5-1 before the Eagles restored parity following a penalty shoot-out victory in the second game. As with Saturday's instalment, Benfica were the home side, but despite Nene cancelling out Alex's third-minute free-kick for Sporting, they were unable to pull the series level again as Marcelinho and Caio buried second-half efforts.
"Benfica fought hard during the whole game today and made our victory even more valuable," commented Sporting coach Nuno Dias afterwards. "We had 39 competitive matches this season and only lost one game in the regular season, against Rio Ave, and another one on penalties [against Benfica in the play-offs]. This title was more than deserved. Now I want to celebrate, because I deserve it too."
The Lions, 2011 UEFA Futsal Cup runners-up, were certainly the dominant force in Portugal this term, overcoming SC Braga 7-1 to lift the Portuguese Cup and finishing 16 points clear of second-placed Benfica in the regular season. Aside from their loss to Rio Ave, they won all their fixtures to top the table, seeing off Benfica at home and away before meeting them for a fourth consecutive time in the play-offs – and the ninth time in 11 years.
Sporting will now enter the 2013/14 UEFA Futsal Cup in the elite round from 19 to 24 November, with the draw scheduled for 18 October.
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