Soccer-Benfica keep slim title hopes alive with 2-0 win over Guimaraes

Benfica kept their slim hopes of winning the Portuguese title alive as a first-half goal from midfielder Chiquinho and a late second from substitute Haris Seferovic gave them a hard-fought 2-0 home win over Vitoria de Guimaraes on Tuesday.

July 14 (Reuters) - Benfica kept their slim hopes of winning the Portuguese title alive as a first-half goal from midfielder Chiquinho and a late second from substitute Haris Seferovic gave them a hard-fought 2-0 home win over Vitoria de Guimaraes on Tuesday.

The victory leaves Benfica on 71 points after 32 games, five behind leaders Porto. Having beaten Benfica twice this season, Porto will secure their 29th league title if they can manage at least a draw with Sporting on Wednesday.

The visitors started well with Marcus Edwards thumping an early shot off the underside of the crossbar and Bruno Duarte having a great chance cleared off the line.

Benfica took the lead in the 37th minute when Franco Cervi won a battle for possession to send the ball out to Nuno Tavares on the left, and his cross eventually found Chiquinho who thumped the ball home for his second goal of the season.

Guimaraes substitute Joao Pedro thought he had handed the title to Porto when he rifled the ball home from close range after a set piece in the 85th minute, but the flag went up for offside and the goal was ruled out.

Seferovic, who had almost added a second with a spectacular chip that was tipped over the bar by keeper Douglas Jesus, made no mistake with a first-time effort to make it 2-0 in the 87th minute to keep the title race alive.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor Editing by Toby Davis)

((philip.oconnor@thomsonreuters.com;))

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