The Big Three all won this weekend and, curiously, all with the same result - 1-0.
Leaders FC Porto
had a hard time of it to extend their run of wins to 11, but they managed it against local rivals Boavista with a Jankauskas
goal twenty minutes from the end. Boavista themselves desperately need the points to get them out of an unusually lowly position for them. Saturday's result sees them at a thirty (!!) point distance from FCP. (See Match Reports)
Second-placed club Benfica played their home game with Beira-Mar
in Torres Novas because of the incidents in the recent Vitória de Guimarães v Benfica game, and it looked as though the venue might put a jinx on them as they battled in vain for the goal that would keep the
status quo at the top of the table (eleven-points behind FCP). New-signing Geovanni got his first for the club ten minutes into the second half, converting a Carlitos cross at the back post.
stay in third place thanks to a 1-0 win at Azores side Santa Clara
Saturday. The state of the pitch didn't allow for great feats, but there was room for a tiny work of art: after only eight minutes. João Pinto chipped what looked like a harmless ball towards Toñito
on the edge of the box, the former Santa Clara player took it on his chest, swivelled and hooked a glorious shot past Jorge Silva's left hand. One of the goals of the season so far.
Up to fourth go União de Leiria
, recovering well from a shaky start to the season. They beat uneven Marítimo 3-0 Saturday with goals from Douala and Silas in the first half and João Paulo at the final curtain.
Belenenses' Marinho Peres had his resignation accepted by the club's board after Friday's defeat at Académica. Sunday saw another coach on his way: Luís Campos handed in his resignation after
Vitória de Setúbal went down 0-1 at home to high-flying Gil Vicente. Vitória had what looked like a good Rui Miguel goal disallowed two minutes from time, and then Manoel
netted for the visitors on 90. Vitória slip into the relegation zone.
Out of it rise Moreirense, also favoured by a last minute goal by former Boavista player Demétrios to beat Varzim 1-0.
Near the bottom continue Paços de Ferreira, beaten at home by Sporting Braga with a goal mid-way through the second half by Spanish forward Arrieta, on as sub.
Vitória deGuimarães to a 0-0 draw in Madeira, which takes Vitória up to within two points of Sporting in third, but the Lisbon club have a game in hand.
Académica, unbeaten since Artur Jorge took over as coach in December, got three precious points in their fight against the drop Friday when they beat Belenenses 2-1 at home. Captain Dário put
Os Estudantes in front on 13 minutes, Djalmir equalised for Belenenses on the hour but Marinescu
clinched victory for the team from Coimbra a minute from time. It was Belenenses' sixth game without a win after a promising start to the season, and coach Marinho Peres
immediately put his job at the disposal of the board. Académica jump to 14th, Belenenses stay 8th.
Gil Vicente are fifth in the SuperLiga
after beating Madeiran side Nacional 2-0 at home. Paulo Alves got his ninth goal of the season to put Gil in front on 34 minutes, and Manoel settled the score five minutes from time.
FC Porto began the second half of the season in sparkling form, notching up their 10th successive win by beating Belenenses 3-1 away. Verona
took advantage of a misunderstanding between ´keeper Baía and central defender Pedro Emanuel to put Belenenses in front after 16 minutes, and the lead lasted until the first ten minutes of the second half, when FCP captain
Jorge Costa netted two. Near the end, Deco went on a mazy run and laid the ball off for Russian midfielder Alenitchev to set the final score. Porto had not won in the Estadio do Restelo
for six years.
Struggling Boavista gave themselves a little respite from relegation worries with a hard-fought 1-0 win over fellow-strugglers Vitória de Setúbal. Luiz Claúdio
got the all-important winner after just two minutes.
Moreirense got off to a winning start at Beira-Mar, Alex
scoring after seven minutes. The same player headed the visitors into a two-goal lead on 35 minutes, and Beira-Mar were chasing their tails from that point on. On the hour, Senegalese striker Fary
narrowed the margin, but the result remained.
Sporting Braga and Santa Clara shared the points in their match, the result decided in the first half. George
lobbed 'keeper Quim to put the Azores side ahead, but Antiã headed in a Barroso free kick to give the home side some consolation.
Varzim could not get past Paços de Ferreira
at home and the game finished 0-0.
Sporting's postponed match against Académica
(waterlogged pitch) will be replayed on February 5th. It will mean that the club will play five games in 15 days, including a trip out to the Azores to face Santa Clara.
Benfica won for the first time in eight years in Madeira Saturday, beating Marítimo 2-1. Central defender Hélder
got the opener for the visitors, ten minutes into the second half from a cross by Simão. The home side drew level five minutes later when Bruno, on his return from FC Porto, crossed for another central defender,
Van der Gaag, to head home. It was left to a striker Nuno Gomes
to crack home the winner from outside the box a quarter of an hour before the end. The game marked the début for Benfica of Brazilian winger Geovanni, on loan from Barcelona. Benfica consolidate their second position, eight points behind FC Porto with one more game played.
The other game to be played Saturday, Sporting v Académica, was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. After a week of dry, sunny weather, the heavens opened over Lisbon Saturday causing flooding in various
areas of the city. The game seems likely to be played on Wednesday.
With half the season over, sports daily A Bola has published what it considers to be the teams of the competition so far:
Quim (Sporting Braga), Mário Sérgio (Paços de Ferreira), Jorge Costa (FC Porto), Gaspar (Gil Vicente), Nuno Valente (FC Porto), Costinha (FC Porto), Tiago (Benfica), Nuno Assis (Vitória de Guimarães), Barroso (Sporting Braga), Simão (Benfica), Hélder Postiga (FC Porto)
Marco Aurélio (Brazilian, Belenenses), Mário Sérgio (Paços de Ferreira), Jorge Costa (FC Porto), Contreras (Chilean, Sporting), Edson (Brazilian, União de Leiria), Costinha (FC Porto), Tiago (Benfica), Deco (Brazilian, FC Porto), Barroso (Sporting Braga), Simão (Benfica), Hélder Postiga (FC Porto)
Vitória de Guimarães missed a supreme opportunity to go second in the Superliga Friday when they went down 1-2 at 'home' (in Vila do Conde) to an improving
União de Leiria side. UDL went in front on 20 minutes when Maciel beat Rogério Matias to the ball in front of goal and lunged to push it past Palatsi. Rafael
equalised for Vitória two minutes into the second half with a header from a cross from the left, but Renato sealed the win, bundling in the ball at the back post from a corner.
and Vitória de Setúbal drew 0-0
in the final match of Day 17 Monday. The cold evening kept the fans away and just 3,000 turned up to watch Vitória prove superior to the home side, belying their relative positions in the SuperLiga. Belenenses
'keeper Marco Aurélio kept them in the game with a fine performance, while they were hobbled early on by the sending off of central defender Wilson with a direct red. In the second half, the numbers were evened up when
Jorginho was also sent off. Belenenses climb above União de Leiria into seventh while Vitória go thirteenth, swapping places with Boavista on goal difference.
The gloom continues to gather over Boavista's season. Last season's runners-up once again failed to score at home to Nacional of Madeira (0-0), despite having more possession, and are just three
points above the relegation zone. Their cause was not helped by the sending off in the second half of midfielder Pedro Santos for a second yellow. Nacional defended stoutly and remain two points above Boavista.
Moreirense stay in the relegation zone despite drawing away at Paços de Ferreira. Vítor Pereira scored for them on the half-hour, but José Nando
equalised for the home team seven minutes from time. Paços have gone six games now without a win.
Beira-Mar have also gone six without a win. This time it was Marítimo
who did the damage, putting three past them in Madeira where they are virtually unbeatable. Brazilian striker Gaúcho, with one foot in Japanese club Yokohama Marinos, got two to take his season's tally to ten,
one on the stroke of half-time and one after 57 minutes. Dinda got the third on 83.
Santa Clara are stuck at the bottom after managing only a 0-0 draw at Varzim, who sneak up to fifth on
the same points as Gil Vicente.
FC Porto look home free in the title race, despite the fact that there is still half the season left. They strolled past rivals
Sporting at Alvalade Saturday night and it is doubtful now whether anyone has the stuff to stop them. An early goal by Costinha from a Deco corner was enough to take the points on the night, but Porto
could have had a hatful had it not been for an obstinate Tiago in the Sporting goal. Sporting were woeful in the first half but picked up in the second with the entrance of Jardel and Sã Pinto. They were no match for
the solid, machine-like Porto, however, and coach Bölöni was the target for the Sporting fans's ire. Sporting are now 14 points behind the northerners.
Porto also benefited Saturday from the 1-1 draw between
Vitória de Guimarães and Benfica. Vitória went into the lead three minutes into the second half through a close range Bessa effort, and Benfica equalised through Zahovic, but the goal came after
Benfica's Simão had brought down Nuno Assis; the ref gave nothing.
The second half was in fact full of controversy. At one point, a firecracker
thrown from the Benfica end hit Vitória's Marcinho, causing him burns to the arm and ankle. The game was held up for ten minutes while the police went into the crowd to arrest the culprit, and was held up for several minutes soon afterwards as Vitória supporters ripped up chairs and threw them onto the pitch. In the dying minutes, Benfica's Carlitos was brought down in the area; again, the referee gave nothing. Benfica are now eleven points behind Porto, Vitória fourteen.
In Saturday's other game, Gil Vicente put paid to União de Leiria's recent good run with a 3-1
win. Gil were two-up in a five minute period in the first half, both goals assisted by Ali, both scored by Paulo Alves. João Paulo
pulled one back for UDL on 23 minutes, and the game remained open until added time of the second half when Gaspar got Gil's third. Gil overtake UDL and climb to fifth.
On Friday night, Sporting Braga and Académica slugged out a dour 1-1 draw, Barroso giving Braga the lead with a trademark free-kick after 57 minutes, Dário
putting things level ten minutes later. Braga remain mid-table, Académica continue their crawl out of trouble at the bottom.