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Benfica set title race 'on fire'

Published: Monday 27 February 2006, 13.41CET
Ronald Koeman said SL Benfica "fought with everything" to beat FC Porto at the Estádio da Luz on Sunday, throwing Portugal's title race wide open.

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Published: Monday 27 February 2006, 13.41CET

Benfica set title race 'on fire'

Ronald Koeman said SL Benfica "fought with everything" to beat FC Porto at the Estádio da Luz on Sunday, throwing Portugal's title race wide open.

SL Benfica coach Ronald Koeman has his sights firmly on the Portuguese title again after last night's triumph over Liga leaders FC Porto.

Robert winner
Fresh from a 1-0 home win against Liverpool FC in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, Benfica went into the game at the Estádio da Luz knowing they could throw the championship race wide open with a victory. Laurent Robert's 39th-minute free-kick was enough to settle the contest, cutting Porto's lead over third-placed Benfica to five points, and leaving them just two above Sporting Clube de Portugal.

'Better team'
Koeman said: "We knew we had to win to think about winning the title, so we fought with everything we had to get the three points. I think we deserved it, because there's no doubt we were the better team on the night. We had the best chances to score in the first half and in the second period we tried to control the game."

'On fire again'
Benfica's battling display was the talk of the Portuguese press, with Record describing the title race as being "on fire again". O Jogo also neatly summed up the Lisbon side's route to victory. "The 'clássico' was not a lively affair until Laurent Robert's goal," it wrote. "Benfica then focused on defending, with their midfield paralysing Porto. The title race continues with three teams."

Geovanni returning
Benfica should have Brazilian forward Geovanni available again when they are next in domestic action, at CF Estrela da Amadora on Sunday, although Simão and Petit will be suspended. It will at least afford them some rest ahead of the return leg against Liverpool at Anfield the following Wednesday.

Last updated: 27/02/06 20.22CET

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