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Season review: Portugal

Published: Wednesday 3 June 2015, 9.04CET
A late signing helped SL Benfica to their first back-to-back titles in three decades, and the cup ended up elsewhere in Lisbon after an incredible comeback.
by José Nuno Pimentel
from Lisbon
Season review: Portugal
Maxi Pereira, Lizandro Lopez, Eduardo Salvio and Nicólas Gaitán with the Liga trophy ©Getty Images

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Published: Wednesday 3 June 2015, 9.04CET

Season review: Portugal

A late signing helped SL Benfica to their first back-to-back titles in three decades, and the cup ended up elsewhere in Lisbon after an incredible comeback.

Champions: SL Benfica
Benfica hit the front after the fifth round of fixtures and there they remained, wrapping up a 34th Portuguese crown with one match to spare and sealing back-to-back titles for the first time in 31 years. A run of nine straight league wins at the turn of the year, including a 2-0 win at main rivals FC Porto, opened up a six-point advantage. "From the first day we dreamed of and worked towards back-to back titles," said coach Jorge Jesus. "We were deserved champions."

Cup final: Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-2 SC Braga (Sporting won 3-1 on pens)
Sporting CP ended a seven-year wait for silverware with the Portuguese Cup final's first ever shoot-out almost a footnote in an incredible tie. The trophy looked to be heading north with six minutes to play, with Braga leading the ten-man Lisbon outfit 2-0. Islam Slimani (84) and substitute Freddy Montero (90+3) forced extra time and ultimately penalties. "We never stopped believing," said 37-year-old Sporting CP coach Marco Silva, who claimed the cup in his first season in charge.

European places*
SL Benfica – UEFA Champions League group stage
FC Porto – UEFA Champions League group stage
Sporting Clube de Portugal – UEFA Champions League play-offs
SC Braga – UEFA Europa League group stage
Vitória SC – UEFA Europa League play-offs
CF Os Belenenses - UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Jonas (SL Benfica)
Signed from Valencia CF as a free agent in September, the Brazilian striker had his doubters on his arrival in Lisbon, many wondering whether he was really the man the team needed. He did not make his debut until the following month but still ended the campaign with 20 goals in 27 league matches, including both in a 2-0 win at CF Os Belenenses when minds were straying to the next game against Porto. "It was a dream season," said the 31-year-old. "Perfect".

One to watch: João Mário (Sporting Clube de Portugal)
In his first full season at Sporting CP, the midfielder scored his first four league goals, played his first six UEFA Champions League games, helped Portugal reach the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals and made his senior international debut. João Mário has technique, movement, passing and a reading of the game beyond his 22 years.

Leading scorer: Jackson Martínez (FC Porto) – 21 goals

Relegated: Gil Vicente FC, FC Penafiel

Promoted: CD Tondela, Clube Futebol União

Last updated: 03/06/15 12.18CET

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