Benfica 1-1 FC Porto
An exciting encounter in front of 64,036 fans at the Estádio da Luz tonight finished all square to leave Benfica one point ahead of Porto at the top of the Primeira Liga with seven matches remaining.
Jonas gave the hosts an early lead, but Maxi Pereira equalised for Porto at the start of the second half.
Benfica piled on the pressure in the last 30 minutes but were denied by another excellent Iker Casillas exhibition (mirroring what happened last season in the same fixture), above all an incredible reaction save from Mitroglou.
Contrary to reports, Serbian midfielder Fejsa had not recovered from his injury meaning Samaris started in central midfield for Benfica alongside Pizzi, while Rafa was preferred to Zivkovic on the left of midfield in Rui Vitória's starting XI, with Salvio on the other flank and Jonas and Mitroglou up front.
Porto coach Nuno Espírito Santo left André Silva on the bench, opting for a 4-3-3 with Brahimi and Corona wide and Tiquinho Soares at centre-forward.
Benfica make lightning start
In the 6th minute a swift passing move released Jonas, who was clearly upended by Felipe in the box. The Brazilian picked himself up to dispatch the spot kick into the back of the net.
At this point Benfica were threatening to overrun Porto in a blistering opening 20-minute spell. The Portuguese champions played some lovely one-touch football, Nelson Semedo in particular making a series of electric runs down the right-hand side, and the aggressive response whenever Porto got a sniff of the ball made it impossible for the visitors to settle.
However, driven forward by Brahimi's dangerous dribbling and with Óliver Torres growing into the game, Porto began to get a foothold in the match. Óliver fired narrowly wide, then Brahimi drew a diving save from Ederson from a free kick. Just before half time Benfica came close to doubling their lead as Luisão rose highest but headed over from six yards out.
Porto came out fast after the break, pushing Benfica back and the travelling fans did not have wait too long to celebrate an equaliser. An intense spell of pressure resulted in the ball breaking to Maxi Pereira 10 yards out, who fired low into the corner of the net. The former Benfica right-back celebrated wildly - none of the no celebrating against your former club nonsense from the Uruguayan!
The equaliser opened up the match with both teams sensing the opportunity to grab a vital win over their title rivals. Soares had a great chance to put Porto ahead when he raced through on goal, but he took an extra touch and when he tried to round Ederson the Brazilian goalkeeper was upon him, diving at his feet to smother the danger.
From that moment onwards Benfica took charge of proceedings. A Jonas cross-shot forced Ederson into a sprawling save, then a wonderful move involving Mitroglou and Salvio set up Jonas for what looked like a certain goal, but the normally lethal striker did not catch the ball cleanly allowing Casillas just enough time to make a superb diving save.
Urged on by the huge crowd, Benfica sent wave after wave of attacks towards the Porto goal. In the 72nd minute a goal seemed certain as Mitroglou had the ball at his feet inside the six-yard box, but Casillas pulled off a brilliant reflex save. The ball bounced to Jonas who also looked certain to find the net, but his shot was somehow kept out by desperately lunging Porto defenders.
Only in the final ten minutes did the frantic pace of the game drop, with Porto's go-slow policy when the ball went out of play clearly showing they were happy with a draw.
Benfica remain top but still have to travel to Sporting, while Porto also have tricky away fixtures at Marítimo, Chaves and Braga to negotiate. It promises to go to the wire.
by Tom Kundert, at the Estádio da Luz
Benfica: Ederson, Semedo, Luisão, Lindelöf, Eliseu, Samaris, Pizzi, Rafa (Carillo, 87'), Salvio (Cervi, 69'), Jonas, Mitroglou
FC Porto: Casillas, Maxi Pereira, Felipe, Marcano, Telles, Danilo, Óliver Torres, André André, Brahimi (Otávio, 87'), Soares (André Silva, 72'), Corona (Diogo Jota, 66')
[1-0] Jonas, 6'
[1-1] Maxi, 50'