Jesualdo Ferreira expects his FC Porto side to be Portuguese champions "within two or three matches" after extending their lead to 16 points at the weekend.
Second-placed SL Benfica's chances of stealing the title away look infinitesimally small following Porto's 2-1 win at neighbours Leixões SC, with Lisandro López and substitute Tarik Sektioui scoring the reigning champions' goals. Coach Ferreira said: "There are still seven games to play but I believe that if we continue like this we will be champions within two or three matches."
Roberto had put Leixões ahead early in the second half but Porto showed character to win the 18th of their 23 Liga games this season. "We dominated the whole match and missed several chances," said Ferreira. "We showed great heart and commitment to turn things around and win." With Benfica drawing 1-1 at CS Marítimo on Sunday, it proved to be another key result and Porto could even celebrate their second title under Ferreira at the end of their next match on 30 March should a win in Lisbon at CF Os Belenenses coincide with defeats for both Benfica and third-placed Vitória SC.
The 61-year-old Ferreira is expected to sign a new contract with Porto soon but was vague on the details. "I'm not saying when or for how long I will sign," said the coach, whose side face Vitória FC in the Portuguese Cup semi-finals next month. "It's taken care of. There is an agreement between myself and chairman Pinto da Costa that I will be Porto's coach for next season."
Lisandro López's goal was his 19th in 21 league games this season and kept him top of the goalscorers' chart in Portugal. The 25-year-old's form has seen him drafted into Alfio Basile's Argentina squad for their friendly against Egypt in Cairo on 26 March. "It's always positive to increase that total," said the striker, adding a little modestly: "We are on the right track."
Their 16-point lead at the top of the table gives Porto the chance to beat their best ever title-winning margin of 15, achieved in the 1987/88 season when only two points were awarded for each win. Benfica still hold the record for the biggest winning margin, having won the title with seven games to go in 1972/73, and ending the season 18 points ahead of second-placed Belenenses.
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