It was a long round, but Matchday 12 in the Primeira Liga has finally wrapped up. The action kicked off back in Friday, with Gil Vicente drawing 2-2 at Moreirense, and carried on all the way through until Tuesday with Sporting Braga's showdown with Vizela.
Both Porto and Sporting CP, who are the top two teams in the league, took to the field on Sunday and enjoyed lovely victories, with the Dragons beating Vitória Guimarães 2-1 and the Lions dispatching Tondela 2-0. Benfica, on the other hand, saw their game get suspended after an absolute fiasco involving the league organizers and a Belenenses side ravaged by COVID-19 – more on that later – but came away with the required three points nonetheless.
And then there is Sporting Braga, who won 4-1 over Vizela to re-enter the top four, capitalizing off of Estoril's 2-2 draw with Santa Clara on Monday. Here's everything you need to know about the recent round from the Portuguese top-flight.
Who are the top teams in the Primeira Liga?
Primeira Liga top 3 scorers
Luis Diaz: 12 goals
Darwin Nunez: 8 goals
Simon Banza: 7 goals
Primeira Liga – top headlines
Sporting CP enjoyed a 2-0 win over Tondela, the best possible result ahead of their derby clash with Benfica in the upcoming round. Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Paulinho secured the defending champions the three points, but that game did not come without its consequences. João Palhinha, one of the most integral members of the Lions' squad, picked up an injury and left the pitch in tears, thus sounding the alarm bells ahead of Friday's trip to the Estádio da Luz.
Porto also triumphed over the weekend, beating Vitoria 2-1 to remain top of the table ahead of Matchday 13. However, things did not get off to a great start for the Dragons as the home side conceded a penalty and a subsequent goal shortly after the half-an-hour mark. Fortunately, Luis Díaz and Evanilson turned things around for the league leaders, scoring to seal them the victory. Diaz's strike, in particular, grabbed the headlined as the rumored Liverpool target netted an absolute stunner. Check it out in the video below.
Here is where we dive into the Belenenses-Benfica fiasco. The relegation-battling side hosted the Lisbon giants on Saturday, a game marred in doubt from the get-go, as the home side were unfortunately ravaged by COVID-19 cases, 13 of which were the new omicron variant. However, for some baffling reason, the Belém side were forced to play despite only having nine players available to field, one of which was a substitute keeper deputizing as a right-back, and having no one on the bench! Unsurprisingly, Benfica scored seven past the hosts by half-time. A couple of injuries saw the nine-man lineup get reduced to six players, and with insufficient outfield players, the game was abandoned. While the win was awarded to Jorge Jesus' side, Belenenses president Rui Pedro Soares has asked for the game to be replayed while the club are said to be pursuing legal measures.
Top matches to watch in the Primeira Liga: Dec. 03-06, 2021
Portimonense vs Porto: Given that two of their closest and biggest rivals for the title will be facing off this Friday, Porto enter the upcoming round with a great chance of pulling away from the next two best teams in the league. The Dragons top the table, but merely due to a superior goal difference. Unfortunately, the no.1 team will be in for a tricky fixture as they will visit Portimonense, who sit sixth in the table. The home side have won three of their last five fixtures, but have suffered two defeats along the way. Will they fall victim to Sérgio Conceição's side or overcome the league leaders? Tune in to find out.
Benfica vs Sporting CP: The Derby de Lisboa is right around the corner, Benfica and Sporting CP, two of the favorites for the title, will lock horns next Friday in a battle for bragging rights and the three points. Both sides have played 12 games so far and emerged from their most recent fixture with victories, although the Eagles' weekend triumph was marred in outstanding controversy. Nonetheless, a point separates the two Lisbon giants, with the defending champions boasting that slight advantage.
A defeat for Jorge Jesus' men could see them drop four points behind Porto and would be the worst possible way to enter their sixth and final matchday of the UEFA Champions League group stage campaign (vs Dynamo Kyiv), which takes place in exactly seven days. The Lions, on the other hand, are yet to lose a Portuguese top-flight game and will thus want to keep that record intact.
Sporting Braga vs Estoril: Os Arcebispos just re-entered the top four during the recent round, beating Vizela 4-1 on Tuesday to leapfrog Estoril. Now, Sporting Braga will have to face none other than the Canarinhos in the upcoming round. A defeat would see Carlos Carvalhal's side relinquish the no.4 spot almost immediately, but expect the home side to give it their all in order to come away with a victory.
*Keep track of all the activity in the Portuguese top-flight by following our dedicated Primeira Liga competition page.