Benfica retain Portuguese crown

SL Benfica have clinched successive Portuguese titles for the first time since 1983/84 after claiming their 34th crown following a 0-0 draw at Vitória SC.

Benfica's players celebrate their Portuguese title success
Benfica's players celebrate their Portuguese title success ©Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images

SL Benfica have been crowned Portuguese champions with one match remaining this season after a 0-0 draw at Vitória SC proved enough to seal their 34th title following FC Porto's 1-1 draw at CF Os Belenenses.

Seeking their first back-to-back titles in 31 years, Benfica started strongly at fifth-placed Guimarães and hit the woodwork twice inside the opening 13 minutes – via a Jonas header and Maxi Pereira's shot – Jorge Jesus's team dominating but struggling take their chances.

The capital side needed to match Porto's scoreline to clinch the championship, and the pressure intensified a minute before half-time when Jackson Martínez struck his 21st Liga effort this term for the Dragões. However, Tiago Caeiro equalised with five minutes left to effectively hand the title to Belenenses's Lisbon neighbours.

"We dreamed and worked hard to win these back-to-back titles, even though we knew this squad didn't have the quality of previous years," said Benfica coach Jesus. "I have to congratulate my players, but all the people at Benfica have to be congratulated."

Experienced Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César could not hold back the tears, meanwhile, with this season going some way to ease the pain of his FIFA World Cup disappointment with Brazil last summer. "It's very rewarding to arrive Benfica and be a champion in my first year," he said.

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