Two goals from Lima helped SL Benfica post a 2-0 win against SC Olhanense that secured the club's 33rd Portuguese Liga title with two games to spare.
The day promised to be a happy one for the sell-out crowd at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, with fans confident they would see their side defeat the championship's bottom team and claim a first crown since 2009/10, having finished runners-up for the last three seasons. However, Olhanense did not make things easy, defending resolutely and keeping danger at bay until half-time.
The visitors' resistance crumbled in the second period, though, and Lima broke the deadlock on 57 minutes, reacting first to push the ball past Vid Belec after the goalkeeper had parried Nicolás Gaitán's shot. Three minutes later, the Brazilian striker surged down the right and broke into the area to fire through Belec's legs, sparking scenes of wild jubilation inside the ground.
"I think this is the highlight of my career, especially because of the two goals I scored," said Lima, whose side moved an insurmountable seven points clear of Sporting Clube de Portugal. "I'm very happy. It was a well-deserved title and now we are going to celebrate with the fans."
"It's wonderful," added captain Luisão. "Only those who live with this club on a daily basis know what this means. The start of the season was difficult, but the president believed and that was important. This crowd is amazing. I have no words to describe the support the fans gave us. It took a while to celebrate, but we deserve it."
Benfica assistant coach Raúl José was similarly enthusiastic. "We played a great game," he said. "We always tried to get forward in search of a goal and we won fair and square. We missed three or four goals, but in the end we achieved our objective. Now we are going to celebrate. It was a demonstration of great quality and character, but now it's time to celebrate with the fans."
As for Sporting, they secured second spot and qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League with a 1-0 win at CF Os Belenenses on Saturday. Estoril Praia in fourth and CD Nacional a place further back also ensured European football next term, with a draw and win respectively on Saturday clinching access to the UEFA Europa League.
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