A late strike from Brazilian substitute Kelvin has helped Porto into the box seat for the Primeira Liga title after a 2-1 win over Benfica.
Porto (75 points) leapfrogged Benfica (74) to the top of the Portuguese league standings with a thrilling come-from-behind victory at the Estadio Do Dragao to take a one-point lead into the final round of the Primeira Liga season.
Benfica, who have led the Primeira Liga since March 3, took the lead through Lima but an own goal from Maxi Pereira ensured Saturday’s match was level at half-time, with Kelvin’s 92nd-minute winner sending the home crowd crazy just before the final whistle.
The top-of-the-table clash in Porto was effectively set up to decide the league title, with visiting Benfica knowing victory would see them crowned champions, while the hosts needed three points to make sure of the title.
Benfica struck the first blow in the 19th minute when a long throw into Porto’s defensive penalty area fell at the feet of Ezequiel Gray, who thumped a strike towards goal, which deflected to Lima for a simple tap in at the back post.
It took Porto just eight minutes to equalise as Silvestre Varela was released in behind Benfica’s defence and his left-wing cross was deflected by the outstretched leg of Pereira, deceiving visiting goalkeeper Artur at his near post.
Despite Porto having more possession (60 percent to Benfica’s 40) and shots on goal (14 to 9), the match looked on track for a draw until Kelvin popped up in second-half stoppage time.
The 19-year-old midfielder played a one-two with fellow substitute Liedson before thumping a left-footed strike across Artur and into the far side of the net to clinch a vital victory for Porto.
The reigning Primeira Liga champions will be assured of a third consecutive league title next week if they defeat third-placed Pacos de Ferreira, while Benfica, who face Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday, will hope Porto slip up so they can clinch the Portuguese championship with a final-day win against second-bottom Moreirense.
Pacos de Ferreira wrapped up Portugal’s berth in the qualifying stages of next season’s Champions League with a 1-1 draw at Academica as fourth-placed Sporting Braga were stunned 3-1 at home by Nacional.
Moreirense kept their hopes of survival alive with a 1-0 win over Vitoria Setubal to only trail Olhahense, who sit outside the relegation zone, on goal difference.
Olhahense lost 1-0 to Sporting Lisbon, while Beira-Mar dropped to the bottom of the table below Moreirense after a 2-1 defeat to Estoril.
In other results, Maritimo knocked off Vitoria Guimaraes 1-0 and Rio Ave triumphed 2-1 over Gil Vicente.
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