Parque Desportivo Comendador Joaquim de Almeida Freitas, Guimarães, Portugal
Benfica brought to an end two successive draws in the league by defeating Moreirense 1-0 in a hard-fought contest at the Parque Desportivo Comendador Joaquim de Almeida Freitas in Guimarães to move back to the top of Liga NOS.
Kostas Mitroglou’s 42nd minute header proved to be the difference for the Águias, after the referee controversially penalised Ousmane Dramé for an apparent foul on Nélson Semedo, as the Lisbon-side maintained their one-point lead over second-placed Porto.
After quite an evenly contested first 20 minutes the visitors went close when Pizzi’s effort on the turn was saved well by Giorgi Makaridze, who made a comfortable stop in the 21st minute.
Three minutes later Benfica went close again when a dangerous delivery from a Pizzi freekick forced Makaridze into a good save with the keeper palming the ball away.
In the 39th minute Eduardo Salvio’s powerful effort from-range produced a straightforward save from Makaridze.
Three minutes later Benfica took the lead when a Pizzi freekick was met by Mitroglou, who headed home past Makaridze, who was rooted to the spot. It was the Greek striker’s 15th of the season.
Three minutes into the restart Moreirense had a great chance to level the scores when Salvio’s miscued header played Dramé through on-goal, the winger had Benfica goalkeeper Ederson in company, who he managed to chip, but the retreating-Victor Lindelöf made a fine clearance on the goal-line to deny the Frenchman.
In the 60th minute the hosts had another good chance when the unmarked Cauê met a corner on the volley, but he fired the ball just over the bar.
Seven minutes later the hosts should have drawn level when Dramé got the better of Lindelöf to pull the ball back to Ângelo Neto, who had to score but he dragged the ball wide from close-range.
In the 77th minute Benfica had a chance to double their lead when a Jonas pass managed to find its way to Mitroglou, but his powerful effort was denied by Makaridze, who smothered the strike.
Time was running out for the hosts to find an equaliser but they had a great chance in the second of three additional minutes when a Moreirense corner fell to substitute Roberto, but he miscued his effort and dragged the ball wide, as opposing players clashed after the final whistle.
The result meant that Benfica remained at the top of Liga NOS but now moved onto 78 points, a point clear of second-placed Porto, while Moreirense remained in 16th on 21 points.