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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 23, 2006

Porto go five points clear with Beira Mar win

LISBON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Champions Porto maintained their perfect start and moved five points clear in the Portuguese Premier League with a 3-0 win over promoted Beira Mar on Friday.

A stoppage-time goal give Pacos Ferreira a 1-1 home draw with Benfica in a match played in heavy rain.

Porto, who visit Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, have 12 points, with Pacos Ferreira on seven and Braga, Naval and Sporting all on six with a game in hand.

Second-half goals by Helder Postiga, Lisandro Lopez and Tarik Sektioui took the northerners to a comfortable victory against a home side reduced to 10 men after 75 minutes.

Porto's uncapped goalkeeper Helton, included in Brazil's squad for next month's friendlies with Kuwait and Ecuador, saved a powerful shot by midfielder Ratinho after 18 minutes.

A spectacular volley inside the area by Portugal striker Postiga gave Porto the breakthrough after 54 minutes following a cross by winger Ricardo Quaresma.

Argentine striker Lopez got the second in the 73rd minute after taking advantage of a mix-up in the home defence.

Beira Mar's Paraguayan defender Alcaraz was shown a red card for a foul and Porto took advantage when Moroccan winger Tarik Sektioui scored with a glancing header in stoppage time.

Benfica, warming up for Tuesday's Champions League match with Manchester United, opened the scoring after 24 minutes through a header by Greek midfielder Kostas Katsouranis from a left-wing cross by Paulo Jorge.

Benfica were reduced to 10 men when Brazilian defender Leo was sent off soon after halftime for arguing with a linesman. Pacos also played the last 15 minutes without Luiz Carlos who was sent off for two yellow cards.

After Benfica squandered two good chances to double the advantage in the last 10 minutes, with Brazilian Luisao and Katsouranis hitting the post, the home team equalised in stoppage time when substitute Joao Paulo headed in a cross from the right.