Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Edgar Jiménez

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Edgar Jiménez

Round 18 of the Portuguese league was certainly one to remember. FC Porto missed an opportunity to go top of the League on Sunday when they drew 1-1 with Olhanense at the Dragão.

Targino opened the scoring for Olhanense in the 7th minute, allowing the Algarve club to assume a more defensive approach. Porto’s Colombian striker Jackson Martinez evened the score in the 55th minute of play.

Manager Vitor Pereira told Sport TV after the match: “Olhanense managed to score early and from there they were never disorganized. We wasted many good opportunities. We never like to lose two points but they deserved the draw. We tried everything to win but in the end it did not go our way. We have to continue working hard,” Pereira said.

Benfica drew 2-2 with Nacional in Madeira earlier in the day in a match full of controversy. Referee Pedro Proença issued three red cards in the match including two straight reds to Benfica’s Oscar Cardozo and Nemanja Matić.

In the 89th minute Cardozo reportedly kicked Brazilian defender Fernando Marçal when he would not give up the ball. Proença also issued Marçal his second yellow of the game for time wasting. Later, Matić was sent off deep in extra time for allegedly striking Olhanense’s forward Candeias in the face.

Cardozo’s agent Pedro Aldave told Radio Renascença that there is always controversy when Proença is assigned to referee matches involving Benfica. The league is expected to look at both incidents and suspensions are likely.

Diego Barcellos and Mateus scored for Nacional, while Benfica’s goals came by way of an own goal by Nacional defender Mexer and Uruguanyan midfielder Jonathan Urretaviscaya.

Porto and Benfica are tied at the top of the league with 46 points in 18 matches this campaign. Os Encarnados play German club Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday.

The news was much worse for Sporting Lisbon. Jesualdo Ferreira’s side lost to Marítimo on Sunday. Hyun-Jun Suk scored in the 18th minute to win the match 1-0. Sporting were unable to get much offense going. They have scored the fewest goals of any club in the league so far this year.

Ferreira remarked that he could not remember a time when Sporting had the worst attack in the league this late in the season.

“We have scored 5 goals in the last five games, today was the only match where we failed to score. The team has been producing more scoring chances than before, but our recent form has been marked by poor finishing. This creates a general lack of confidence, especially in critical moments,” Ferreira added.

Highly regarded youngster Bruma played the entire first half for the club and generally played well. We was subbed in favour of Andre Carrillo to start the second half.

Sporting now remain 9 points behind 5th place Rio-Ave for the final Europa League position for next campaign. The Vila do Conde club beat Academica of Coimbra 2-1 on Sunday. Bebé scored the winner early in the second half.

On Monday night, Sporting Braga host Paços de Ferreira at the Estádio AXA. Braga could reclaim third place with a win.

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