FC Porto returned to winning ways with a 1-0 triumph over Sporting Clube de Portugal in Saturday's Portuguese Clássico, defeating the Lisbon side after losing 1-0 at leaders SC Braga last time out.
Still third, five points behind Braga, Liga titleholders Porto began the match in impressive fashion, creating their first chance in the opening minute and taking the lead in the second. Following a free-kick from the right, Falcao escaped the attentions of Anderson Polga and headed home, which prompted a concerted response from the visitors, who struck the crossbar via Hélder Postiga midway through the first half. It was Porto who spurned the best chance to add to the scoreline, though, Rui Patrício saving a Falcao penalty after Polga had been sent off for bringing down Hulk. Sporting also lost Miguel Veloso to a red card in the final minute.
"It was a fair win," said Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira, whose team host Club Atlético de Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, a day before Sporting welcome Hertha BSC Berlin in the UEFA Europa League. "We missed many chances, had more shots on goal and had more possession. We were very strong in the first 20 minutes. The second half was well-balanced until Polga was sent off, but Sporting are a team that can always bother you and create danger."
SL Benfica remain second after putting together an impressive 5-0 success against Leixões SC. The UEFA Europa League contenders, who journey to take on AEK Athens FC on Thursday, went ahead thanks to David Luiz in the 45th minute. By that stage, Leixões had already lost Christian Pouga to a 27th-minute dismissal, and they were denied Nuno Silva's services in similar circumstances ten minutes after the restart, the defender guilty of fouling Pablo Aimar in the area. Óscar Cardozo made it 2-0 from the spot and Benfica completed the rout through Ramires, Maxi Pereira and Cardozo in the last 15 minutes.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.