LISBON, March 2 (Reuters) - Troubled Sporting held Porto to a 0-0 draw on Saturday that could lead to the champions being displaced at the top of the Portuguese Premier League later in the weekend.
Second-placed Benfica, one point off the pace with a game in hand, can reach the summit by winning at second from bottom Beira Mar on Sunday.
“This was not a positive result. What a waste,” said Porto’s Argentine playmaker Lucho Gonzalez.
Tenth-placed Sporting, one of the league’s ‘Big Three’ along with Porto and Benfica, are having one of their worst seasons and had lost three of their previous four matches before Saturday’s home game.
The Lisbon club, reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes to go after the dismissal of Argentine defender Marcos Rojo, forced some good saves from Porto keeper Helton.
Sporting’s Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel wasted two good opportunities. One was saved after he ran clean through on goal and from another he was not sharp enough to beat Helton who scrambled the ball away with his feet.
Colombia forward Jackson Martinez, the league’s top scorer, was not at his best for Porto and fluffed several chances.
Porto take a 1-0 lead from the first leg into the return match at Malaga in the last 16 of the Champions League on March 13. (Reporting by Daniel Alvarenga, editing by Tony Jimenez)