Thursday, April 02, 2020
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If the Portuguese League was anything this week, it was a packet of Salt ‘n’ Shake.


Why? Because it saw the top four get jiggled around like four manic cats in a bag on the way to a market in Kabul.


The big news came in the shape of Benfica’s capitulation at the hands of bottom club Trofense, which saw them slip to second in the league. This in turn allowed Porto to move top as they stretched their undefeated run to six games.


Sporting meanwhile took advantage of Benfica’s unexpected slip up, winning 0-2 at Setúbal to draw level with O Glorioso in second on 26 points.


Trofense 2 – 0 Benfica

Benfica’s not so glorioso display saw them gift Trofense both their goals, the first through a combination of terrible marking and a goalkeeper happy to punch the ball into his own net, the second through more terrible marking.


Moreira’s pathetic showing between the sticks was just his second start of the season. Any more may now look doubtful as Quique Flores must surely be considering recalling Quim for the next league game against Braga.


In further bad news for Flores, the lacklustre efforts of defensive rock Luisão won’t do anything to silence reports linking the lanky Brazilian with a move away from the club. The centre back is being linked with Manchester City after he was apparently recommended to Mark Hughes by Robinho, but Benfica would be unlikely to listen to offers of anything less than €20m, maybe even €25m if it is City doing the bidding.


Nacional 2 - 4 Porto

Porto deservedly regained their place at the top after they overcame a tough Nacional side. The 2-4 score line gives a true reflection of what a pulsating game this was, and it was punctuated by two great goals.


The first came from Rodriguez who expertly bicycle kicked Porto 2-1 up on 72 minutes after a tidy bit of passing. The second was possibly a bit lucky, but I’m prepared to give Hulk the benefit of the doubt over his 92nd minute chip of Bracalli. 


Porto will now feel they’re back where they belong, but with only a one point cushion they will need to avoid slip-ups against Trofense and Belenenses before hosting Benfica in early February.


Estrela Amadora 1 – 0 Naval

Elsewhere, Estrela Amadora picked up their first win in three months, beating Naval 1-0. Amadora have had a topsy-turvy season so far, picking up 10 points in the first five matches to go second, before managing only two points from their next seven.


The win pushes them from 12th to 9th, but sees Naval slip down to the more familiar territory of 11th.


It’s six games without a win now for Naval, which would be relegation-zone form if it weren’t for the sterling efforts of Setúbal who have only managed to score in two of their last eight games. Sorry, make that nine after Sporting beat them by two with no reply.


Setúbal 0 – 2 Sporting

Liedson managed to get his fifth of the season, while João Moutinho got his second of the campaign in what was an easy victory for the Lions.


The not so good news for Sporting is that Miguel Veloso is being eyed up by Juventus, Fiorentina and Arsenal. A defensive midfielder, Veloso has played in 11 of Sporting’s league matches this season and it would be a massive blow to their title ambitions if he were to leave.


The rest

Leixões continued their drift down the table, slipping to fourth with their third draw in four games. Their 0-0 draw with Académica should put to bed any dreams they still harboured of causing an upset at the top this season.


Braga, on the other hand, look to be marching towards the top. Their 2-0 win over Belenenses was their tenth game without defeat and returned Belenenses to the bottom of the table.


Braga not only boast the meanest defense in the league, having conceded just five in 13 games, but also a bit of a goal machine in the shape of Cameroon’s Albert Meyong Zé, who scored a penalty in this week’s victory.


Paços Ferreira may have lost 4-1 away at Marítimo, but I’m making Cristiano the winner of my new “shit celebration of the week” competition. His “dirty old man on the dancefloor” moves may be unable to induce a victory, but they are liable to induce seizures.


And last of all, Rio Ave manager João Eusebio found himself out of a job after guiding his now former-team into the relegation zone with a 2-4 defeat to Guimarães.


The top

  1. Porto – 27 points
  2. Benfica - 26 points
  3. Sporting – 26 points
  4. Leixões – 25 points
  5. Braga – 23 points

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