By Rui Matos Pereira
Two goals from Brazilian striker Liedson earned Sporting Clube de Portugal a 2-1 home victory over SL Benfica in Saturday night's Lisbon derby - a result that lifted Sporting to the top of the Portuguese SuperLiga.
Nuno Gomes landmark
Sporting opened the scoring on 22 minutes with Liedson connecting with Fábio Rochemback's cross to send a header past Benfica goalkeeper Quim. Benfica needed only four minutes to equalise, as Nuno Gomes raced on to Manuel Fernandes' through-ball and shot past Ricardo, to register his 100th goal in the SuperLiga.
Two sent off
Sporting were reduced to ten men when Rui Jorge was sent off for a foul on Geovanni before the break, and Benfica themselves had a player dismissed in the 66th minute, Alcides receiving his marching orders after pulling back Liedson. And Liedson it was who struck the winning goal a minute later with a close-range finish - his 13th goal of the season.
Benfica sent on Angolan striker Pedro Mantorras in the closing stages - his first appearance in 18 months - but Sporting held on and now stand a point above Boavista FC at the top.
Boavista leave it late
Boavista were 2-1 home winners against Vitória SC in Saturday's other game - but only just as Diogo Valente struck their second goal in the dying seconds. The visitors' on-loan winger Alex had earlier cancelled out Zé Manuel's first-half strike.
Luis Fabiano also struck late for FC Porto on Sunday, but he could only rescue a point as the champions were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Rio Ave. The visitors had looked on course for a shock win after holding the lead for much of the match following Gaúcho's 28th-minute opener before Fabiano equalised with 13 minutes remaining.
Porto remain third, a point ahead of Boavista FC and two ahead of fifth-placed SC Braga who earned an emphatic 4-1 victory at strugglers SC Beira-Mar. Brazilian Wender, João Alves, Cesinha and João Tomás were all on target with second-half goals to cancel out Paul Murray's effort just before half-time.
Strugglers Gil Vicente FC, Moreirense FC and CD Nacional all recorded 1-0 wins against CF Os Belenenses, A. Académica de Coimbra and FC Penafiel, respectively, to drag their opponents into an ever-growing list of relegation candidates.
In the first match of the weekend on Friday, GD Estoril Praia beat Setubal side Vitória FC 2-1. After trailing 1-0 at half-time to an Albert Meyong effort, Estoril hit back through Buba and a Nélson Veríssimo own goal.
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