Sporting Lisbon seek to end Benfica and Porto’s monopolisation of the Primeira Liga

Euro 2016

For the past 14 seasons, Portugal’s Primeira Liga has been won by either Benfica and Porto, as the pair have monopolised the country’s top flight throughout that period.

Whilst in the 11 years from 2002-2003 to 2012-2013, Porto were crowned champions of Portugal nine times, the Dragoes dominant spell in the Primeira Liga was interrupted twice by Benfica, who have won the division for the last three successive years.

In two of those three years, runners-up to Aguias were Sporting Lisbon, with the club being the last team other than either Benfica or Porto to win the Primeira Liga. That was back in season 2001-2002, when under the guidance of the Romanian Laszlo Boloni, Sporting won the title for the 18th time by ending the campaign five points ahead of Boavista.

Subsequently Leoes have been unable to secure a 19th league championship title despite being runners-up on six occasions, including last season as they finished just two points adrift of Benfica.

When the two sides met on 5 March in the Derby de Lisboa at Estadio Jose Alvalade, Sporting were one point ahead of their city rivals. However Benfica won the game 1-0 to assume top spot, which they retained by winning each of their remaining nine league games, whilst Sporting also achieved that same feat.

As such throughout the course of last season the two Lisbon clubs engaged in an enthralling battle, with there being the distinct potential for them to do so again this year, as Sporting will launch another endeavour to end Benfica and Porto’s monopolisation of the Primeira Liga.

At present Jorge Jesus’ side seem to be relatively well equipped to achieve that, since not only have Sporting kept their best players – several of whom starred at Euro 2016 for Portugal – but they have also strengthened their squad by supplementing that with several quality new recruits.

In addition to retaining the services of goalkeeper Rui Patricio and the influential midfield trio of William Carvalho, Joao Mario, Adrien Silva, who were each key members of Portugal’s Euro 2016 winning team, Jesus has overseen some astute business in the transfer market.

Specifically the 62-year-old manager has been authorised to sign the Argentinean striker Alan Ruiz, along with the defensive midfield duo of Bruno Paulista, who is Brazilian and Radosav Petrovic of Serbia, whilst the Costa Rican winger Joel Campbell has also joined Sporting on a season – long loan deal from Arsenal.

Each of Jesus’ new recruits have the potential to help Sporting build as strong a title challenge as the one which the club mounted last season, as Leoes seek to win the Primeira Liga for the first time in 15 years and bring to an end Benfica and Porto’s recent dominance of the division.

Ultimately although that constitutes an extremely difficult challenge for Sporting, it is nevertheless one which they will embrace, in order to overcome the disappointment of so narrowly missing out on a 19th league title last season.



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Bayern Munich host Benfica in the Champions League in tricky encounter

German league leaders Bayern Munich will play host to Portuguese league leaders Benfica on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

On paper, the Bundesliga champions will be favorites but assuming Bayern will go through from this tie should not be taken for granted. Italian champions Juventus exposed Bayern’s clumsy and susceptible defensive line and Juve striker Alvaro Morata was able to run circle around the Bavarian defenders in Munich.


Another concern for Bayern is the fact Arjen Robben will most likely miss the first game in Munich. While Bayern can compensate for his absence, particularly with the return of Frenchman Franck Ribéry and the presence of young compatriot Kingsley Coman, the team’s manager Pep Guardiola would most likely prefer to have Robben with his added experience and his uncanny ability to get foul calls.

In addition, it would be wrong to focus on Bayern without mentioning a few pillars of the squad, including the club’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski, midfield terrier Arturo Vidal and German star Thomas Müller. Austrian defender David Alaba, who can also operate in midfield, is another name to keep an eye on.



The big names and the great exposure given to Bayern Munich should not take away any credit from current Primeira Liga leaders Benfica and their pool of talented players. In attack, Portuguese top league scorer Jonas Gonçalves Oliveira  is having the best season of his career and the veteran is supported by Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou. Between them, the attacking tandem has managed to score an impressive 47 league goals this season!

Another player to keep an eye on is midfielder Nicolás Gaitán who has scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists in 7 Champions League starts this season.

This should be an interesting battle between two teams on top of their respective league, yet the history, the players at Guardiola’s disposal and Bayern’s experience tip the balance in the Bavarian team’s favor. However, nothing can be taken for granted! Tune in on Tuesday, April 5th, 2015 to find out what the final score will be and remember you can follow the result of the game live by clicking here.

Benfica dismantle Braga 5-1 to extend lead in Portugal’s Primeira Liga

Benfica put on an attacking display to the home fans with Kostas Mitroglou scoring twice in a 5-1 demolition of Braga and its defensive line.

Benfica’s and the Portuguese Primeira Liga’s top scorer Jonas Gonçalves Oliveira scored once from the penalty spot and provided his teammates with two assists. The veteran striker Jonas is enjoying a remarkable season having scored 30 goals in 28 league games. He also handed out 11 assists to his teammates in the Portuguese league.


The fact the victory came against a tough Braga side, positioned 4th in the Portuguese league and with a decent defensive record prior to this colossal defeat, will provide a massive boost to Benfica’s players.

There remains just 6 league games for Benfica and they are currently 5 points ahead of Sporting Lisbon; however, Sporting do have a game in hand to be played on Monday. Though it is too early to crown Benfica as champions, the players must be confident knowing they have done well in recent weeks, not just in the domestic competition but also in the Champions League.

One thing to keep in mind is the fact Sporting must still face Porto away which is a very demanding and tough match as the league nears its conclusion. Thus, even if Sporting win on Monday to narrow the gap to 2 points, they must still travel to face Porto before the end of the season. On the other hand, Benfica’s remaining fixtures are all winnable provided the players remain focused.

Have Jonas and Mitroglou edged Benfica closer to the Primeira Liga title?



Benfica host Braga in Portugal’s Top Weekend Game

League leaders Benfica will host Braga on Friday, April 1st in the Primeira Liga’s top game of the weekend. Benfica will be desperate for a win in order to maintain the advantage over second place Sporting Lisbon and third place Porto.

Porto have the easiest fixture out of the top 3 teams yet they are six points behind leaders Benfica. Porto will play host to bottom of the table Tondela. Porto rely heavily on their multi-dimensional defender Miguel Layún, midfielder Yacine Brahimi, and strikers Vincent Aboubaker & Hyun Jun Suk.

The Mexican international footballer Layún is on loan from English Premier League club Watford and is having a great season with Porto. He already has 4 goals and has provided a remarkable tally of 14 assists.

Second place Sporting Lisbon travel to face Belenenses in a match the Lisbon side ought to win. Sporting rely heavily on striker Islam Slimani as well as midfielders João Mário and Adrien Silva. Striker Slimani has already managed to score 20 goals in league play and his teammates will be looking for him to add to his tally against Belenenses.

Going back to league leaders Benfica, they will face a tricky match against Braga who are in fourth and have the third best defensive record in the Primeira Liga. Benfica will try to breakdown Braga’s defensive line with strikers Jonas Gonçalves Oliveira and Kostas Mitroglou.



Between them the attacking duo have found the back of the net 44 times in the Portuguese League! Veteran Brazilian scorer Jonas has found the net an impressive 29 times in just 27 league games while his partner Greek striker Mitroglou has scored 15 goals. Jonas has also added an impressive 9 assists to his contributions to Benfica’s attack.

Will Benfica win against Braga on the back of the Jonas-Kostas partnership? Will Porto keep up with a home win to maintain whatever slim chances they have of winning the league?

You can always follow the results of the Portuguese League live by clicking here.