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Benfica downs Braga in top-three clash

Benfica continued its unbeaten run in the Portuguese Liga on Saturday by seeing off a tough test from third-place Braga in a 2-1 away win.

Benfica remains tied atop the league with FC Porto having won 11 of its last 12 games, and Saturday's win has to go down as one of the best of the season for the Lisbon club.

Braga had won four of its previous five matches, but the visitors got off to a quick start and went in front after five minutes through Eduardo Salvio.

Lima doubled the advantage in the 35th minute to give Benfica a two-goal cushion at halftime, but Braga responded through Pedro 13 minutes from time.

The hosts went in search of an equalizer but a red card given to Braga's Maximilian Haas in the 85th minute dealt a blow to any comeback hopes.

FC Porto kept pace on Monday by hammering Gil Vicente, 5-0, with the defending champions scoring twice in the opening 11 minutes before netting three more goals after the interval.

Beira Mar lost its third straight match on Friday as the club yielded three goals in the first 37 minutes of a 3-1 defeat to Academica, while Paolo Hurtado and Vitor scored two goals apiece in a 5-0 rout for Pacos Ferreira at last-place Moreirense.

Maritimo and Rio Ave traded first-half goals in a 1-1 draw, Nacional secured a 2-0 win at Setubal with goals from Mario Rondon and Daniel Candeias after halftime, Sporting Lisbon and Guimaraes finished 1-1 as Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored in the 56th minute to cancel out Xandao's own goal and Estoril earned a point against Olhanense after a pair of first-half penalty kicks from Vitoria helped the club to a 3-3 draw.