By Hugo Pietra
FC Porto failed to take advantage of leaders SL Benfica’s defeat at the hands of FC Penafiel when they drew at Moreirense FC, meaning Sporting Clube de Portugal can go top if they defeat Vitória SC on Monday.
Benfica had the opportunity to move six points clear for at least a day on Saturday evening if they won at Penafiel. However, their hopes of claiming a first SuperLiga title since 1994 suffered a major setback when N’Doye 60th-minute strike proved to be the only goal of the game and handed victory to the home side.
That defeat meant defending champions Porto had the chance to move within a point of the summit if they could overcome Moreirense, who required victory themselves to stay in the top-flight. The home team claimed an unlikely lead after nine minutes through Nei, and it took José Couceiro’s side until the 76th minute to muster an equaliser when Hélder Postiga scored.
The visitors were later reduced to ten men when Ricardo Quaresma was sent off but the result meant Porto are now three points behind Benfica, while Moreirense are relegated. They will be joined in the Portuguese second division next season by SC Beira-Mar, who could only manage a goalless draw against AA Coimbra.
Meanwhile, Porto’s draw reawakened SC Braga’s Champions League qualification hopes, after winning at Boavista FC to guarantee themselves European football next season and move to within a point third. Two headed goals from João Tomás in the first half gave the visitors maximum points before Guga struck a 78th-minute spot-kick consolation for Boavista.
Two see red
CF Os Belenenses also harbour slim hopes of UEFA Cup football next season after Zé Pedro’s 23rd-minute free-kick proved the winning goal against GC Nacional, who had Fernando Cardoza sent off on 69 minutes. Rui Ferreira was dismissed for Belenenses with 12 minutes remaining for two bookable offences.
At the bottom, GD Estoril-Praia maintained their distant hopes of top-flight survival after defeating rivals Gil Vicente FC 2-0 to move within five points of them and safety courtesy of strikes from Vargas and Hugo Santos. Elsewhere, Rio Ave FC drew 0-0 with SC Marítimo and Vitória FC claimed an impressive 2-0 win at UD Leiria thanks to two goals from Igor in the last 12 minutes.
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