Stunning Talisca and Brahimi goals

In the match of the weekend Vitória Guimarães outfought, outplayed and outclassed Sporting in clocking up a 3-0 victory at the Dom Afonso Henriques stadium. Vitória stay third, just two points behind leaders Benfica and one behind Porto, both of whom won with the aid of magnificent goals from their star signings this summer, Talisca and Brahimi respectively.

 

 

Vitoria Guimarães 3-0 Sporting

The "White Angels" continued their superb season with a brilliant display on Saturday night resulting in a comprehensive win against Sporting.

Much focus pre-match was on Sporting centre-back Paulo Oliveira, returning to his former club, but it was another centre-back who stole the show in the first half. João Afonso was playing in the Portuguese third tier last season, but he has already made himself undroppable and a key player for Guimarães in 2014/15. Twice in the opening 45 minutes he soared higher than anybody else in the box to set up two goals, the first scored by Bakary Saré, the second an own goal by Maurício.

Despite conceding plenty of possession, the hosts used the ball far more intelligently than their adversaries, especially during the second half when Vitória created chances at will. Electric winger Hernâni, Ghanaian midfield schemer Bernard Mensah and captain André André were all outstanding.

The cherry on top of the cake for Rui Vitória's men came through a late André penalty, but only some slack finishing, sharp goalkeeping by Rui Patrício and the woodwork saved Sporting from an embarrassing scoreline.

Can Vitória maintain a title challenge? On this form they look a better bet than Sporting.

 

Benfica 1-0 Rio Ave

Another northern team who have impressed this season are Rio Ave, and Pedro Martins' men put in another positive display on Friday night, at the Estádio da Luz against the champions.

Benfica were on top for most of the game but found it difficult to create chances against the well-organised Vila do Conde outfit. Man-of-the-moment Anderson Talisca finally found the breakthrough on the hour mark, and in some style. The Brazilian picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and hit a peach of a left-foot shot that curled and rocketed into the net. It was the 20-year-old's 8th goal of the Liga in 9 games, putting him top of the scoring chart.

Rio Ave refused to give up and had the ball in the net soon afterwards, but the goal was rightly ruled out for a marginal offside call. The Eagles held on to stay top of the standings.

 

FC Porto 2-0 Nacional

Porto made it three straight wins in all competitions with a regulation victory over Nacional da Madeira. The Dragons took an early lead through Danilo and never looked like relinquishing it.

Jackson Martínez came close to scoring his customary goal on several occasions, but it was a sensational strike that finally sealed the deal for Porto. Yacine Brahimi has proved to be a wonderful acquisition, and the Algerian produced an authentic work of art in the 74th minute, in one movement shimmying cleverly past two markers before firing a rasping drive into the top corner of the net from 15 yards out.

Julen Lopetegui's side remain second but continue to show they have the deepest squad in the league in terms of extravagantly talented options.

 

Round-up

Nine months ago Paulo Fonseca's stock had taken a severe battering as he was sacked by Porto after a disastrous half-season at the Dragão. The coach has wasted no time in redeeming his reputation at the club where he first sprang to everyone's attention - Paços de Ferreira.

The Castores thrashed Vitória Setúbal 4-1 to move into the top four after nine games. All the goals were scored in the second half, Urreta, Sérgio Oliveira, Hurtado and Bruno Moreira netting for the hosts, Paulo Tavares grabbing a consolation for the visitors.

The surprise result of the weekend came in Funchal as Moreirense beat Marítimo 2-1 thanks to goals from João Pedro and André Simões, with Danilo Pereira's equaliser proving worthless.

Estoril got back to winning ways with a welcome 2-1 win at Penafiel (two direct free kicks from Emídio Rafael and Tozé), while the Gil Vicente-Arouca and Académica-Braga matches both ended in 1-1 draws.

The weekend programme finishes on Monday night as Belenenses host Boavista.

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