Benfica wins record 38th Portuguese league title on final day of season
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Benfica won its first Portuguese league title in four years after beating Santa Clara 3-0 on Saturday on the final day of the season.
FC Porto finished two points behind in second after beating Guimaraes 3-0. Last year’s champion needed last-place Santa Clara to pull off a surprising win at Benfica to have a realistic shot at defending its title.
It was Benfica’s record-extending 38th league title and its first since 2019. Since Benfica’s last title, Porto had won it twice and Sporting once.
“It was a long struggle throughout the season. We needed the last game and we managed to pull it off,” said Benfica coach Roger Schmidt, who joined the club last summer. “We are very proud, but also relieved by this title. We put in a lot of effort and we deserve to be champions.”
Portugal striker Gonçalo Ramos headed in a cross from Alexander Bah near the far post for the opener in the seventh minute against Santa Clara.
Rafa Silva doubled the lead in the 28th with a first-touch shot from inside the area. Álex Grimaldo added the third from the penalty spot in the 60th.
Benfica entered the home game two points ahead of Porto. If they had ended up tied on points, Benfica still held the advantage on goal difference in the tiebreaker with Porto.
Benfica ended the season with the league’s best attack with 82 goals scored and its best defense with only 20 goals conceded.
Santa Clara had already been relegated.
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