Primeira Liga Wrap: Benfica restore lead

Benfica lead the Primeira Liga by six points at the midway mark after hammering Maritimo 4-0 on Sunday.

Champions Benfica restored their six-point lead at the top of the Primeira Liga on Sunday by cruising to a 4-0 win over Maritimo at Estadio dos Barreiros.

Porto's victory over Penafiel on Saturday had cut the gap between the two top to three points, but Benfica responded in impressive fashion as they ran riot in Funchal.

Eduardo Salvio opened the scoring after 18 minutes, but the visitors were made to wait until the second half to add to their advantage. 

Ola John doubled the lead seven minutes before the hour mark and Salvio's second duly followed before Lima completed the scoring. 

Even Talisca's late dismissal would not take the shine off the convincing victory and Benfica look well on their way to securing another league title midway through the season.

Sporting came out on top in a six-goal thriller against Rio Ave later in the day - Marco Silva's men winning out 4-2 with four goals coming in the final 31 minutes at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Goals from Nani and Yonathan Del Valle sent the sides in level at the break before second-half efforts from Freddy Montero, Joao Mario and Junya Tanaka sealed the points.

In the lower reaches of the table, Nacional picked up an important 3-2 win against Pacos de Ferreira to boost their survival hopes - with Manuel Machado's side the only team in the bottom eight to take points this weekend. 

All was going to plan for Machado's side at Estadio da Capital do Movel when Lucas Joao, Luis Aurelio and Marco Matias put the visitors three goals ahead with just four minutes remaining. 

Even a mini-collapse late on failed to allow the hosts back in, as Jonathan Urretaviscaya scored twice before Fernando Marcal was dismissed in a chaotic finale.

However, Nacional now sit seven points clear of danger with Gil Vicente failing to take advantage of Penafiel's defeat to Porto.

The league's bottom side went down 2-0 against Belenenses - Pele and Deyverson on target - while Vitoria Setubal and Boavista also succumbed to defeat.

Both are lingering above the drop zone, with Setubal wasting a one-goal lead in their 3-1 reverse against Sporting Braga - Yann sent off late on for the hosts at Estadio do Bonfim - while a Kleber brace gave Estoril a 2-1 win at Boavista.

Arouca were denied a first away league win since September by Moreirense, as Vitor Gomes was on target just after the half-hour mark to take his side to eighth in the top flight.