UEFA Europa League semi-finalists SL Benfica remain on course for the Portuguese double after beating FC Porto 3-1 in Lisbon to reach their 35th Portuguese Cup final against Rio Ave FC.
Needing just two points in their three remaining Liga matches to win their 33rd title, Benfica overturned a first-leg deficit to set up an 18 May final with Rio Ave, who overcame SC Braga 2-0 at home and on aggregate. That is four days after the UEFA Europa League decider in Turin, with Benfica travelling there first on 1 May for the second leg of their semi-final with Juventus which begins on 24 April, four days after they aim to clinch the Liga when bottom side SC Olhanense visit on Sunday.
Eduardo Salvio's first domestic goal of an injury-hit campaign came from a 17th-minute header to level the aggregate score against Porto, only for the hosts' Guilherme Siqueira to be dismissed before the half-hour after two yellow cards in quick succession. Silvestre Varela restored Porto's overall advantage early in the second half but Enzo Pérez's penalty just before the hour and an André Gomes goal ten minutes from time helped Benfica into their second straight final, having lost last year against Vitória SC, with Porto's Ricardo Quaresma also sent off late on.
Benfica, who last lifted the trophy a decade ago, can now become the first team to claim 25 Portuguese Cups, and can also emulate the treble of UEFA Cup and domestic double achieved by José Mourinho's Porto in 2002/03. Meanwhile, Rio Ave are targeting a first major trophy having been beaten 4-1 by Porto in their only previous final 20 years ago.
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