With the sell-out of the Lisbon derby, Benfica are set to take 1.5 million euros at the gate alone, without counting TV and advertising.
Sporting's Romanian striker Mariusz Niculae is fit again after a long lay-off through injury and may be in the squad for the derby.
Braga's revolutionary Municipal stadium, built into a hillside for Euro 2004, will have its inauguration in official matches on 17/18th January with Sporting Braga playing FC Porto. It was thought that
the home game against Guimarães would be Sporting Braga's last at the old Primeiro de Maio Stadium, but there will now another there, versus Belenenses.
The Benfica v Sporting clássico of January 4th will definitely be a 65,000 sell-out; only paid-up sócios could get tickets Saturday.
Sporting's key midfielder Fábio Rochemback will be returning from international duty with Brazil's Olympic team in time for the game, contrary to previous reports.
Up until Tuesday, 42,000 tickets had been sold for the Benfica v Sporting clássico of January 4th at the 65,000 capacity Luz stadium.
An FC Porto in third gear was enough to beat a spirited but ultimately insufficient Alverca Monday to maintain a five and six point lead over, respectively, Sporting and Benfica at the top of the SuperLiga. The
2-1 scoreline was made in the first half. Bruno Moraes dinked a neat through ball for Derlei to rifle home his 12th of the season on 16 minutes, Manú
took advantage of a mistake by Baía ten minutes later and Maniche
was free on the right to pick his spot from a Deco cross on 35, although the move had begun with an apparent foul on an Alverca player in midfield. The league leaders took advantage of the expulsion of Zé Rui on the hour to simply manage the lead throughout the second half, giving Alverca more or less the run of midfield, but despite a couple of chances, the minnows couldn't find a second goal. Porto's key forward
Derlei was stretchered off midway through the first half with ligament damage to his right knee. He will be out for some time.
Benfica won 3-0 at bottom club Estrela da Amadora
Sunday to keep up with local rivals Sporting in pursuit of FC Porto at the top of the SuperLiga. Porto play at Alverca Monday. Benfica were three up within half an hour through Nuno Gomes, Tiago and
Sokota. It was enough to knock the stuffing out of an inoffensive Estrela (seven points in 15 games) and the Águias coasted it from then on.
Also stuck in the relegation zone are major disappointment Vitória de Guimarães, who have not been able to improve with the recent change of coach. They lost this time 1-2 in the Minho derby against
Sporting Braga in what was the latter's last game at the city's old Estádio 1 de Maio before they move to the new stadium, built for Euro 2004. Soderstrom
put Braga in front on 12 minutes, and Wender scored from the spot on 38 to put the home side 2-0 in front at the break. Vitória pulled one back on 90 minutes through Marco, but it served only as a
Braga remain fifth, two points behind Beira-Mar who won again, this time at home to Nacional of Madeira, in-form Juninho Petrolina netting a quarter of an hour before the end.
On the same points as Braga are Maritimo, who beat Moreirense in Funchal with a goal from young midfielder Danny on 24 minutes.
Constantly improving Rio Ave leapfrogged over Belenenses by beating them 4-1. Evandro
put the home side in front on the half hour, and then scored again a minute before half time to give Rio Ave some breathing space. It looked like Belenenses might be back in it when Waldiran
was on target on 53, but Ronny converted a penalty two minutes later to put Rio Ave back on track, and sub Jacques got the fourth on 72.
Back to the bottom, and penultimate in the table Paços de Ferreira recovered from mid-week elimination in the Taça to beat Académica 1-0 at home, but it took a penalty, converted by Júnior
a minute into the second half, to clinch the points.
There is a two-week break in SuperLiga action now. The return, on January 4th, sees a clássico, the first Lisbon derby between Benfica and Sporting at the new Luz
, and crucial for the title hopes of both.
Sporting kept in touch with FC Porto at the top of the SuperLiga Saturday with a 2-0 win at home to União de Leiria, but they left it until late in the game to make their domination tell
in terms of goals, Lourenço, on as sub, getting the first on 75 minutes and Pedro Barbosa
scoring from the spot six minutes later. União had had a perfectly good goal by Maciel disallowed on 67 for a non-existent offside.
Boavista lost only their second game at home Friday, 0-3 to Gil Vicente. It was Gil's first away win of the season, and they must have been surprised at the result and the score. In fact,
Boavista more or less dominated the game territorially but could not make their domination tell, and it was Gil who took their chances: Edinho got one on the stroke of half time, Luís Loureiro
scored from the spot on 63 minutes and Ferreira
sealed the win on 89. Boavista president João Loureiro was fuming after the game, accusing the referee of influencing the result, but while it's true that Boavista had one or two penalty appeals turned down, the fact is that they also did not take advantage of the chances they had. There were white handkerchiefs out at the end from the (very few) fans that were at the Bessa, but this was more than likely a simple glitch on what has been a pretty solid season for Boavista so far.
FC Porto maintained their five and six point lead over Sporting and Benfica respectively by beating tough nut Beira-Mar 3-0 Sunday. Wijnhard
put through his own goal from a Deco corner on ten minutes to give Porto the early advantage, and if the truth be told, they never really looked like relinquishing the lead, although Beira-Mar made them fight for every ball and in 'keeper Andy Marriot had a superb last line of defence. But in a two-minute period a quarter of an hour from the end, Porto destroyed Beira-Mar's resistance with two goals, both unstoppable shots from the edge of the box by
McCarthy and Maniche. Beira-Mar remain fourth.
Marítimo won the Madeira derby 1-0 over Nacional with a late goal from Alan and go fifth. Nacional stay eighth
Belenenses climbed to ninth and pushed Alverca down to 11th with a 2-0 home win, their first in the league for seven games. Mauro got the first on nine minutes, Valdiran
wrapped it up on 90.
Moreirense (15th) and Gil Vicente (14th) cancelled each other out and their game finished 0-0.
Sporting beat a resilient Boavista 1-0 Saturday to keep in realistic touch with Porto at the top of the SuperLiga. Former Boavista striker Silva
got the only goal with a near-post header from a Tello cross on 32 minutes.
Sporting's Lisbon rivals Benfica also won at home, 2-0 to Sporting Braga. Simão in the first half and Sokota
a quarter of an hour from the end doomed Braga to a trip back north with no points in the bag.
There were early goals in Leiria, home side União opening through Maciel on two minutes and Júlio César equalising a minute later for Estrela da Amadora. João Paulo
put União back in front on 19, but Estrela were still in it until the 75th minute when Edson made it 3-1. Maciel with his second piled on the misery for bottom club Estrela, 4-1
, deep into added time.
Earlier there were no goals in the game between Académica and the improving Rio Ave.
Vitória de Guimarães, floundering near the foot of the SuperLiga table and this week parted with coach Augusto Inácio, could do no more than draw 1-1 with bottom club Paços de Ferreira
Friday under new coach Jorge Jesus. They were behind on 56 minutes through Paços' José Manuel, but equalised ten minutes later with a goal from Flávio Meireles.
Beira-Mar kept up their sensational early-season form Monday, beating Belenenses 2-0. They could have finished the game off in the first half with numerous chances and a missed penalty (Marco Aurélio
saving on 42 minutes from Wijnhard), but strangely enough, two red cards for Belenenses players around the hour mark (Carlos Fernandes and Anchouet) that left the Lisbon team reduced to nine, had the opposite of the
obvious effect, and Beira-Mar struggled to create danger around the Belenenses goal ... that is until twelve minutes fom time when Wijnhard put the home side in front, with Rui Dolores
making it safe a minute from time.
Sporting and Benfica both won Sunday to keep in touch with FC Porto at the top of the SuperLiga.
Sporting coasted past Estrela da Amadora 4-1 away, helped by two red cards for the home side on 63 (Fonseca) and 74 minutes (Pedro Simões). Sporting had gone into the half-time break 2-1 up, through
Rochemback and Pedro Barbosa, Júlio César splitting those goals. But once Estrela were down to ten men, Liedson added two.
Benfica won comfortably at bottom club Paços de Ferreira, despite a well-disputed first half that could have gone either way. Diminutive 19-year-old winger João Pereira
got two first half goals, on 27 and 44 minutes, to break the back of Paços' resistance, and Fernando Aguiar's 64-minute header merely sealed the result.
Sporting Braga climbed to fourth after a clear 3-1 win over União de Leiria. Wender
gave Braga a 1-0 lead on 20 minutes, and it was not until the second half that they could extend it, through Swedish midfielder Soderstrom on 55. It looked as if João Paulo
might make a game of it with a goal a quarter of an hour from the end, but Pena made it 3-1 almost immediately and the points were in the bag for Braga.
Gil Vicente drew 4-4 (!) at home to Nacional of Madeira. Josiesley Ferreira started the ball rolling for Gil on two minutes, Serginho
equalised on ten and by the hour mark the final result was established, through Edinho, Casquilha and Lary (Gil) and Paulo Assunção, Adriano and Patacas (Nacional).
Vitória de Guimarães continue their miserable run of form, losing this time 0-1 at Rio Ave. Evandro
got the only goal early in the second half, leaving Vitória third from bottom with just ten points from 13 games. Rumour has it that coach Augusto Inácio
may shortly be made the scapegoat for Vitória's hugely disappointing start to the season.
Two first half goals from Alex Afonso helped Alverca to a 2-1 home win over Académica, Marinescu pulling one back for Os Estudantes in the second half.
FC Porto lost two points Saturday in their traditionally difficult trip to Madeira to face Marítimo. Rincón put the home side in front on 16 miknutes, but Derlei
won a (debatable) penalty on 22 and converted it, and then he got a second on 36 from a pass by Pedro Mendes. It was against the run of play, so a little justice was restored on 66 when Rincón
got his second to equalise. It was Porto's third draw - they have yet to lose - and it it gives chasers Sporting and Benfica some hope that the northerners are catchable. If the two Lisbon giants win this weekend, Sporting will be five points behind and Benfica six.
Porto's neighbours Boavista continue their solid season. They missed the presence of top scorer Ricardo Sousa, suspended, but central defender Éder
got the only goal of the game on 16 minutes to give Boavista the points and lift them provisionally to fourth. Boavista have the best defence in the SuperLiga: just seven goals conceded in 13 games, proving
that they are not missing Portuguese international Ricardo, sold to Sporting in the summer.
Both the Lisbon Grandes won by 2-0 Sunday.
Sporting climbed to second with headers from João Pinto and Silva, one in each half, to beat Sporting Braga. Brazilian midfielder Rochemback missed a first half penalty.
Benfica were helped on their way to victory over a plucky Rio Ave side by a non-existent first half penalty, Tiago diving in the box; Simão converted. Left back Cristiano
headed the second in the second half.
Sporting are seven points behind FC Porto, Benfica are third, eight points adrift.
FC Porto are unstoppable at the top of the Liga. They received lowly Gil Vicente Sunday without star Deco and captain Jorge Costa and still managed to come out 4-1
winners in front of just 16,000 in what was the last game at the Antas Stadium before the permanent move to the nearby Estádio do Dragão. They went in at half time only 1-0 up through Maniche, but
McCarthy, Alenitchev and Derlei completed the damage in the second half, Edinho pulling one back for Gil.
Surprise team Beira-Mar jumped provisionally to second with a 1-0 win at Académica, Juninho Petrolina getting the goal on the hour.
Vitória de Guimarães are slow in showing, only managing a 2-2 draw at home to Alverca, for whom striker Rodolf Lima got two, one at the start and one at the end, sandwiching goals from
João Tomás and Nuno Assis.
Nacional remain eighth after a 3-1 home win over Moreirense. Lima put the visitors in front on 13 minutes, but Alexandre Goulart and Adriano before half time and Serginho
in the second half gave the Madeiran side the points.
União de Leiria jumped from 15th to 11th with a 1-0 home win over Paços de Ferreira, struggling to pull away from the relegation zone. Bilro got the only goal.