Porto ends 2021 on top in Portugal after beating Benfica 3-1

Porto finished 2021 on top of the Portuguese league on goal difference after beating Benfica 3-1 on Thursday in its fierce rival’s first game since the departure of coach Jorge Jesus.

Two goals — from Fabio Vieira and Pepe — in the space of three minutes in the first half gave Porto a 2-0 lead after 37 minutes.

Roman Yaremchuk pulled a goal back for Benfica in the 47th, but Andre Almeida was sent off for the visitors two minutes later after receiving a second yellow card and Mehdi Taremi restored Porto’s two-goal advantage with a finish through the goalkeeper’s legs in the 69th.

Both Porto and Sporting have 44 points but Porto has a superior goal difference. Benfica is seven points back in third place.

Jesus and Benfica parted company this week midway through the second season of his second spell in charge and his assistant, Nélson Veríssimo, was leading the team against Porto for the first time. He will be in charge until the end of the season.

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