LISBON (Reuters) – Portuguese league leaders Sporting staged a stirring comeback from two goals down to beat Braga 3-2 on Sunday with Islam Slimani heading the winner in the last minute.
Second-placed Porto, who fired coach Julen Lopetegui after a 1-1 draw at home to Rio Ave on Wednesday, fielded exactly the same starting lineup and won 5-0 at neighbours Boavista under interim coach Rui Barros.
Meanwhile, titleholders Benfica’s match away to Nacional was abandoned after only eight minutes due to thick fog in Madeira.
Sporting, with 44 points from 17 games, stayed four clear of Porto, while Benfica are on 37, having played a match fewer.
Visitors Braga stunned Sporting’s Alvalade stadium with two goals in five minutes before halftime.
Wilson Eduardo scored with a first-time shot after a loose ball broke to him in the area, then Rafa Silva burst through the middle of the Sporting defence to slot the second past Rui Patricio.
The game turned with a penalty awarded for handball with replays suggesting it was outside the area, but Adrien Silva ignored the protests as he converted to put Sporting back in contention.
Fredy Montero levelled in the 76th minute when he intercepted Jefferson’s shot, flicked the ball in the air before volleying home and Slimani outjumped his markers to head in from Bryan Ruiz’s long, outswinging cross from the left.
“The penalty unlocked the game for Sporting, who began to believe they could turn it around,” said Braga coach Paulo Fonseca.
“We have had similar incidents which were not given, and there was the aggravating factor that it was not clear whether it was inside or outside the area.”
Hector Herrera gave Porto the halftime lead with arguably the best goal of the day as he collected a pass on his chest with his back to goal, swivelled and struck his shot, albeit slightly scuffed, first time into the net.
The other goals came in the second half as Vincent Aboubaker scored twice while Jesus Corona and Danilo Pereira were also on target.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Toby Davis)