Braga get bragging rights, Sporting's Bento gets bent


Monday Nov 2: Académica 2-0 Vitória Guimarães Sunday Nov 1: Olhanense 0-1 Rio Ave , Paços de Ferreira 0-1 União de Leiria , Nacional 2-1 Vitória Setúbal , Sporting Lisbon 1-1 Marítimo Saturday Oct 31: Naval 1º de Maio 1-0 Leixões , Sporting Braga 2- 0 Benfica Friday Oct 30: Porto 1-1 Belenenses

Braga vs Benfica was an entertaining match between the only two clubs unbeaten in the league.

Braga won 2-0 and although it was a pretty even contest for the majority of the 90 minutes, the Minhotos were the more astute side and fully deserved their victory.

Hugo Viana gave the hosts an early lead after curling in a free-kick from a difficult angle, which put Benfica in the unusual position of having to chase the game.

And as the players walked off at half-time, both teams were involved in a skirmish.

Cardozo and André Leone were sent off, leaving both teams reduced to 10 men.

Benfica were on top in the first 20 minutes of the second half but didn't score; Braga were able to weather the storm and regain control of the match.

In the 78th minute, Paulo César killed the match off after a good initiative on the right wing from Matheus.

In all honesty, it was time for Jorge Jesus side to eat some humble pie and realise that there won’t be 4-0 thrashings week in, week out.

If you want to win a championship, you need to win ugly and the Eagles lacked creativity and heart in this game.

Braga, on the other hand, have a lot to smile about, sitting top of the table having already defeated the so-called 'Big Three'.

And after another good individual performance, is Viana set to return to the Selecção?

The result that surprised me the most was definitely FC Porto against Belenenses.

As against Académica, the Dragons were uninspired and weren’t able to produce many opportunities in the first half.

Belenenses took advantage of all that apathy when Lima ran down the left wing to slot the ball past Helton just after the break.

From that moment on, Porto woke up and Ernesto Farías would eventually score to settle the final score.

Though Porto can rue their bad luck – Falcao missed a sitter, Bruno Alves hit the woodwork and there was even a debatable disallowed goal – they can only blame themselves.

They don’t look like the ruthless FC Porto we are used to seeing, but it is still too early to panic and they're still up there.

Paulo Bento must be feeling like a man who’s walking through the valley of the shadows: once again his side failed to win.

Sporting hosted Marítimo and despite being the better side, they couldn’t see off his opposition.

Chilean star Matías Fernández put Sporting in front with a well-taken shot, but Manú levelled eight minutes later with what will probably be the best goal of his career.

Sporting supporters are now demanding Bento’s head, and even though President Eduardo Bettencourt claimed Bento would stay forever, it’s just a matter of time till he succumbs to the pressure.

Especially when a group of angry (or mental) supporters attracts the riot police by trying to force their way into the club’s facilities.

The Lions now trail Braga by 12 points and the gap is starting to look too big to ignore. Will the axe fall?

On the up

Académica registered their first win this season with a 2-0 win against Guimarães on Monday.

They're still at the bottom with just six points, but they can now look forward to better times.

Rio Ave and Leiria grabbed 1-0 away wins and are now officially the 'surprise packages' of the league.

Currently fourth and sixth respectively, they look odds-on to remain in the top flight – their primary target.

Going down

Definitely Olhanense. The Algarvian side had a frustrating week.

On Wednesday, they lost against Liga Vitalis side Estoril Praia in the Carlsberg Cup (our equivalent of England's Carling Cup) and now have no chance of advancing to the next round of the competition.

And if that wasn’t enough, they lost against Rio Ave at home and fell into the drop zone.

That would be good if we’re talking about a paratrooper squad, but unfortunately, we aren’t...

Talking points

Braga proved they can be up there bullying the usual title contenders.

Will they keep up the good work or will they bottle under pressure and “Aston Villa into oblivion?"

After tasting the sour flavour of defeat, will Benfica regain momentum when they travel Everton on Thursday?

Surely the Toffees won’t be so sweet this time...

Is Paulo Bento alone? The still-Sporting manager is walking a tightrope at the moment and the only way he can escape his difficult sitation is by winning the next two games against Ventspils and Rio Ave.

If he manages to do that, he may pull off a much-needed morale-boosting win against eternal rivals Benfica, which would put him back on good terms with the Sporting faithful.

Goal of the round

There were some beauties this round. Matías Fernandez and Hugo Viana scored very good goals and deserve podium places.

But the one from Marítimo’s Manú was a knockout.

The former Benfica forward didn’t ask for permission when he hit a scorcher from far out. No chance for the goalkeeper.

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