LIGA BWIN: PORTIMONENSE 1-5 BENFICA
The scoreline still flattered Portimonense as manager Paulo Sérgio’s hapless ensemble was outclassed in every department by champions-elect Benfica in front of 4,400 mostly-away supporters at the Municipal Stadium last Saturday evening.
João Neves hit the post with the visitors’ first of a total of 26 shots as opposed to Portimonense’s paltry six as early as the second minute of the encounter and it took only another two for Grimaldo to open the scoring.
The floodgates remained open, João Mário seeing his ninth-minute effort ruled off-side and Gonçalo Ramos hitting the crossbar before Filipe Relvas’ attempted clearance ended up in his own goal to double the deficit on the half-hour mark.
There was a brief respite as Pedrão pulled one back for the Algarveans following a Carlinhos free kick, but Benfica were soon back in control as Ramos made it 3-1 shortly before the half-time whistle.
Rafa had the ball in the back of the net immediately after the restart only for VAR to intervene vis-à-vis a preceding infringement. As the tempo slackened, late substitute Musa provided Benfica with the icing on the cake with a quickfire brace in the closing minutes to make it four and then 5-1.
Portimonense, already safe from relegation, now travel to the Azores on Saturday to take on bottom club Santa Clara who are involved in a three-way survival battle with Paços Ferreira and Marítimo.
Meanwhile, Benfica could be crowned champions a day later if able to overcome bitter rivals Sporting at the José Alvalade Stadium at the main expense of still chasing Porto.
One division below, the chances of the Algarve being represented by two clubs in the top tier next season look increasingly likely after Farense beat Nacional da Madeira 1-0 away to go three points clear of third-placed Estrela Amadora who could only draw 2-2 with Trofense.
By SKIP BANDELE