FC Porto took the lead in the Portuguese Liga on Saturday night in the most dramatic way possible, netting a stoppage time winner to sink rivals Benfica. Coming into the game -- the second to last for both teams this season -- Benfica led Porto by two points, but Porto have a one-point lead on top of the league after their 2-1 victory.
A draw likely would have been enough to see them clinch the title next week while a win would have seen them capture the Liga, but 19-year-old winger Kelvin had other ideas. He came on as a late substitute and hit a world class finish to the far post from a narrow angle, beating Artur from 10 yards in stoppage time.
Benfica got on the board first, thanks to some poor defending on a long throw. Porto failed to clear the ball when it came sailing into the box in the 12th minute and it fell to Ezequiel Garay after a bit of a scramble. His shot was blocked, but the ball deflected into the path of Lima, who had an easy finish at the far post from close range.
The hosts responded almost instantly. Varela, who was a terror down the wings and got the better of Maxi Pereira for most of the night, created the equalizer 7 minutes later. His cross from the left flank was blocked by Maxi towards the goal, and Artur was caught flat-footed. He reacted too slowly and could barely get a touch on the ball as it slipped past his fingers and into the back of the net at the near post.
Both teams attacked, but struggled to create clear chances for the rest of the first half. The passing in the final third was poor from both sides, though that had a lot to do with both midfields and defenses playing very well.
The second half started with both teams playing a bit more composed, but things quickly got desperate for Porto, who knew that a draw did them little good. They made three attacking substitutions, with the one that was ultimately crucial coming in the 79th minute, when Kelvin replaced Lucho Gonzalez. Five minutes later, striker Liedson replaced fullback Danilo.
It looked like Porto's best chance might have gone begging shortly after that, when James Rodriguez struck the post with a left-footed volley, but Porto had another brilliant attack left in them. Two of Vitor Pereira's substitutes combined for the winner, with Liedson finding Kelvin down the left flank. Kelvin took one touch in the box to set himself up, then drilled a perfect low shot into the back of the net.
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus looked absolutely crushed by the goal, while Pereira started running around the sideline like a madman. The Dragao went crazy, with multiple fans running onto the pitch while flares were lit. Stoppage time was extended considerably with police and stadium staff taking a couple of minutes to get the situation under control, but Benfica was unable to mount a final charge.
For Benfica to win the title, they need to win and hope Porto fail to win, or draw and hope that Porto lose. Benfica go into the final day with a superior goal differential. Porto play away to third-placed Paços de Ferreira while Benfica host relegation-threatened Moreirense, so the Liga title certainly isn't wrapped up yet.