Sporting Braga strengthened their bid for UEFA Champions League football next season with a 2-0 win at Gil Vicente on Friday, while Academica continued to pull away from the Primeira Liga drop zone.
A quick-fire brace from Ze Luis gave Braga victory in Barcelos as Sergio Conceicao’s men claimed their first victory in four matches.
The win took Braga to 50 points, seven clear in fourth in the Primeira Liga standings, and six behind third-placed Sporting Lisbon.
Lisbon hold the third Champions League qualifying berth in Portugal’s top flight and have a game in hand away to Pacos de Ferreira on Saturday.
But with Braga set to face Lisbon in the penultimate round of the Portuguese league season, Conceicao’s side have a realistic chance of finishing third, if they can make up some ground through April.
Gil Vicente had not won in five matches heading into Friday’s fixture and it quickly became apparent that their poor form was set to continue when Ze Luis gave Braga the lead from the spot in just the fourth minute at the Estadio Cidade de Barcelos.
The Cape Verde striker doubled the visitors’ lead on the quarter-hour mark and that would be enough to secure three points for Braga.
In Coimbra, Academica stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches as Jose Viterbo’s team continue to fight against relegation.
Academica secured a 0-0 draw at home against sixth-placed Rio Ave – their fourth scoreless stalemate in their undefeated streak.
The result took the Coimbra-based club to 27 points in 14th, two spots and eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Penafiel (17 points) and Gil Vicente (19) sit in the drop zone, with Arouca (23) and Vitoria Setubal (24) between them and Academica.
Viterbo’s side reduced their gap to 12th-placed Estoril and 13th-placed Boavista to just one point.
In the other match, fifth-placed Vitoria Guimaraes defeated Arouca 1-0 to stay within seven points of Braga.