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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 7, 2005

Madeira and Porto close in on leaders

LISBON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Nacional Madeira and Porto closed the gap on Portuguese Premier League leaders Braga to two points with respective victories over Naval and Pacos Ferreira on Sunday.

Madeira beat promoted Naval 2-0 at home while Porto eked out a 1-0 away win courtesy of a winger Ricardo Quaresma's 12th minute volley.

Madeira, the surprise team of the season, opened the scoring after 69 minutes through substitute Anic and wrapped up victory in the last minute with a penalty by Alex Goulart.

Promoted Naval played the second half with 10 men after defender Bessa was sent off for two bookable offences.

Porto and Madeira share second place in the standings with 21 points from 10 games, two behind pacesetters Braga, who retained top spot despite slipping to their first defeat of the season when beaten 1-0 at Maritimo on Saturday.

Brazilian striker Kanu secured the points for Maritimo with a half-volley inside the penalty area after 37 minutes.

Benfica, who drew 2-2 at home to Rio Ave on Sunday, drop to fourth on 18.

Two freekicks by midfielder Armando Petit spared the blushes for Benfica after they twice had to come back from a goal down.

The northern team went ahead after 25 minutes through striker Cleiton but Benfica equalised seven minutes later with a deflected Petit freekick.

Rio Ave regained the lead after the break with a powerful strike by Nigerian striker Chidi, but Petit secured the draw five minutes from time.

Sporting, who secured their first league success under new coach Paulo Bento with a 2-1 victory at home to Uniao Leiria on Friday, lie fifth in the standings on 17 points, level with Vitoria Setubal, who beat Estrela Amadora 1-0 at home on Sunday.

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