Benfica, Braga close gap on FC Porto

Nicolas Gaitan and Bruno Cesar minute span of the second half Sunday and Benfica defeated Pacos 1, to join Braga on the heels of Portuguese Liga leader FC Porto.

Pacos Ferreira took the lead inside the half-hour mark, but Gaitan scored with 18 minutes gone in the second half and Cesar followed in the 68th. Pacos later had two players sent off, as Benfica held on to pile pressure on Porto.

Porto needed a penalty kick from Hulk in the 93rd minute Saturday just to draw Academica at home 1-1, and Braga took advantage with its 11th straight win and moved within one point of the leaders.

Ferreira Douglas and Lima scored as Braga built a two-goal lead against Uniao Leiria and held on for a 2-1 win Saturday.

Porto leads the table with 53 points, but both Benfica and Braga are both just one point back with eight matches left in the season.

Also Sunday, Claudemir scored the final goal in an eight-goal thriller to give Nacional a 4-4 tie against Olhanense, Zhang Chengdong scored to give Beira-Mar a 1-0 win over Gil Vicente, Jeffren Suarez scored twice as Sporting Lisbon won 5-0 over Guimaraes, and Rio Ave downed Setubal 3-0.

On Friday, Jose Maria Fidelis scored in the closing minutes as Maritimo downed Feirense 2-1 to open the week's action.