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Porto get nervous as arch rivals Benfica implode
Reuters 600px 600px
  • 30 Jun 20
  • Soccer
  • 4
FILE PHOTO: Primeira Liga - FC Porto v Boavista - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - June 23, 2020. FC Porto's Moussa Marega celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates, following the resumption of play behind closed doors after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Jose Coelho/Pool via REUTERS 691px 444px FILE PHOTO: Primeira Liga - FC Porto v Boavista - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - June 23, 2020. FC Porto's Moussa Marega celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates, following the resumption of play behind closed doors after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Jose Coelho/Pool via REUTERS

LISBON (Reuters) - Porto might have been handed a pathway to regaining the Portuguese championship from Benfica but coach Sergio Conceicao says watching their arch rivals implode has only served to make his players nervous.

The two sides perennially battle for dominance in Portugal but Benfica have suffered a horror drop in form since the return from the COVID-19 lockdown, allowing Porto to go six points clear with five games left.

Benfica lost 2-0 at struggling Maritimo on Monday but the result hardly emboldened Porto for their match later that night at Pacos Ferreira.

"We can't think too much about what the others are doing because then we end up not doing our job,” said Conceicao after his side's unconvincing 1-0 victory moved them onto 70 points, six clear of Benfica.

“In fact, there was some anxiety in the game due to the fact that players were aware of other result, which is something they now have easy access to,” he added.

“The total focus has to be on our work. We depend only on ourselves and we have to win our games. Crisis at other clubs is not our concern.”

Benfica will look to cut the defecit when they host Boavista on Saturday while Porto host Belenenses the following day.

Porto finished two points behind Benfica in last year’s title race but were champions in 2018.

Overall Benfica have won 37 championships to Porto’s 28. The pair have been won every league title since Sporting Lisbon’s 2002 success.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1 Liverpool LIV 86 32 28 2 2 70 25 +45 86
2 Manchester City MAC 66 32 21 3 8 81 33 +48 66
3 Leicester City LEI 58 33 17 7 9 63 31 +32 58
4 Chelsea CHE 57 33 17 6 10 60 44 +16 57
5 Manchester United MUN 55 33 15 10 8 56 33 +23 55
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 52 33 13 13 7 45 36 +9 52
7 Arsenal ARS 49 33 12 13 8 49 41 +8 49
8 Sheffield United SHE 47 32 12 11 9 33 32 +1 47
9 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 45 32 12 9 11 51 44 +7 45
10 Burnley BUR 45 32 13 6 13 36 45 -9 45
11 Everton EVE 44 32 12 8 12 40 47 -7 44
12 Newcastle United NEW 42 32 11 9 12 33 43 -10 42
13 Crystal Palace CRY 42 33 11 9 13 28 40 -12 42
14 Southampton SOU 40 32 12 4 16 41 55 -14 40
15 Brighton & Hove Albion BRI 36 33 8 12 13 35 44 -9 36
16 West Ham United WES 30 32 8 6 18 38 56 -18 30
17 Watford WAT 28 33 6 10 17 29 52 -23 28
18 Aston Villa AST 27 32 7 6 19 36 60 -24 27
19 AFC Bournemouth BOU 27 33 7 6 20 32 59 -27 27
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