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Liga Sagres wrap: Benfica regain top spot

A first-half penalty from Oscar Cardozo has kept Benfica’s title challenge on track in Liga Sagres as they won 1-0 at Beira-Mar.

A first-half penalty from Oscar Cardozo has kept Benfica’s title challenge on track in Liga Sagres as they won 1-0 at Beira-Mar.

Beira-Mar defender Hugo was the unlucky player for the home team, as he conceded the penalty for handling in the area and Cardozo delicately chipped the spot-kick into the roof of the net.

Benfica’s victory on Sunday sent them to the top of Liga Sagres, two points clear of arch-rivals Porto, who are on 53 points.

While the home team had slightly more possession at Estadio Municipal de Aveiro and took 16 shots to Benfica’s 10, it was the visitors that triumphed due to impressive defending and Cardozo’s calmness from the spot.

The decisive moment of the match came in the 15th minute as a cross from the left was headed goal-ward by Cardozo and it struck Hugo’s outstretched hand.

The 36-year-old central defender could have considered himself unlucky, but with his hand outstretched, the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.

In the wake of Beira-Mar’s protests, Cardozo made no mistake, dinking the ball to the top left corner as the home side’s goalkeeper Rui Rego dived the wrong way.

Meanwhile in Barcelos, Nacional came from behind to defeat Gil Vicente 2-1, ensuring the home side remain stuck in the relegation battle.

Gil Vicente were given a gift in front of their home fans in the 15th minute when a clearance from Nacional goalkeeper Gottardi landing at Luis Carlos’ feet and the striker unleashed a rocket into the top corner.

Having held onto their 1-0 lead until half-time, Gil Vicente were brought back to earth nine minutes after the break when Mexer’s header from a corner hit the back of the net.

Nacional wrapped up victory in the 89th minute with another header as a free-kick from halfway was nodded home by Manuel da Costa.

The result leaves Gil Vicente on 19 points, just two positions and three points outside Liga Sagres’ bottom two, while Nacional moved up to eighth with their second consecutive victory.

Moreirense moved off the bottom of the table with a 1-1 draw away to Maritimo with Beira-Mar dropping to last position, while in Sunday’s other game Estoril defeated Rio Ave 2-0.

Sun 3 March, 2013
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