Benfica see off Santa Clara to go second; Portimonense hold Braga

Written on 01/11/2019

Benfica continue to benefit from the feel-good factor under interim coach Bruno Lage.

The Eagles comfortably saw off Santa Clara, winning 2-0 in the Azores and moving up to second in the standings after Braga became the latest top side to drop points against Portimonense in the Algarve, a 1-1 draw enough for the Arsenalistas to drop down to third.

PortuGOAL reports on the action and brings you the highlights from the Algarve and the Azores. 

Portimonense 1-1 Braga

Braga were first to threaten, Paulinho drawing a save out of Ricardo within the first 60 seconds. But just a couple of minutes later the home side were in the lead, Wellington cutting inside from the left flank and firing low into the net, although Braga goalkeeper Tiago Sá will feel he should have done better.

Paulinho soon had the chance to restore parity but was denied again by Ricardo’s outstretched leg.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

The second half started with a bang as Dyego Sousa rose highest at a Braga corner to thunder a header into the net, his 12th goal of the season to consolidate his place at the top of the Primeira Liga scoring chart.

Sousa soon had the ball in the net again, but his right-foot shot was ruled out for offside. Chances at both ends ensued, but no further scoring took place and Braga became the latest title contender to drop points in the Algarve on the back of defeats for both Benfica and Sporting this season at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão.

Santa Clara 0-2 Benfica

Benfica, playing their new 4-4-2 formation since the departure of former coach Rui Vitória, were straight on the attack and João Félix missed a gilt-edged chance to put the visitors into the lead on 15 minutes after a cut-back by Zivkovic.

The Lisbon giants did not have to wait long to take the lead however, as a ball over the top and hesitant defending allowed Seferovic to race clear and the Swiss striker finished clinically.

[To watch match highlights click on the screen below]

Things got worse for the islanders shortly before half time as Fabio Cardoso brought down Pizzi when the midfielder was racing clear and was issued a straight red card.

Benfica doubled their lead soon after half time, Jardel heading in direct from a corner, and with Santa Clara’s defence all at sea the visitors created chance after chance in quick succession. Seferovic thought he’d scored another only to be denied by an offside flag, Grimaldo chose to cross when he should have shot, and Seferovic twice missed from point-blank range, as the home side somehow kept the score respectable.

Benfica move into second and Bruno Lage gains form advocates calling for him to be given the first-team coaching job until the end of the season.

By Tom Kundert