Brilliant Benfica break barren run

SL Benfica secured their first Portuguese title for over a decade with a 1-1 draw at Boavista FC.

By Nuno Tavares

SL Benfica secured their first Portuguese title for over a decade with a 1-1 draw at Boavista FC, as title rivals FC Porto and Sporting Clube de Portugal failed to take maximum points from their final matches.

Benfica breakthrough
Giovanni Trapattoni's side required one point to lift their first SuperLiga title since 1994, and they made the perfect start when Simão Sabrosa put them ahead from the penalty spot on 38 minutes after Cadu handled in the area. Boavista responded four minutes later through an Éder header, but Benfica held on to finish the season as champions.

Late leveller
Porto needed to defeat A. Académica de Coimbra and hope Benfica lost to stand any chance of holding on to their league crown. But they failed to produce the result they required to stay in contention, as Joeano scored an 89th-minute equaliser to cancel out Ibson's first-ever goal for Porto. However, the former champions do have the consolation of gaining an automatic UEFA Champions League berth after finishing second in the table.

Sorry Sporting
This was due to Sporting's 4-2 loss against CD Nacional, capping a miserable week for the Lisbon club following their UEFA Cup final defeat on Wednesday. Consequently, they will now have to compete in the third qualifying round of the Champions League next season. Goals from Alexandre Goulart, Bruno and an André Pinto double did the damage for Nacional, while Liedson missed a first-half penalty for Sporting, who finished the game with ten men following Pedro Barbosa's 69th-minute dismissal for two yellow cards.

Braga broken
SC Braga finished the campaign with a UEFA Cup place after their distant Champions League hopes were ended at already-relegated Moreirense FC. João Tomás had put Braga ahead, but the home side hit back through Eriverson and Nei to claim their seventh league win. Jesualdo Ferreira's team will be joined in the UEFA Cup by Vitória SC, who had already secured their place in the competition. They ended the season with a 2-2 draw against SC Beira-Mar, after Tininho rescued a point for the bottom club in the closing stages.

Solitary strike
Elsewhere, Sila's solitary strike ensured CS Marítimo finished seventh after overcoming GD Estoril-Praia, Rio Ave FC won 3-0 at UD Leiria and CF Os Belenenses drew 0-0 with Vitória FC. Gil Vicente FC closed out the season with a 3-1 defeat of FC Penafiel.