June 23, 2020 / 8:26 PM / 19 days ago

Soccer-Benfica's title hopes hit in 4-3 defeat to Santa Clara

LISBON, June 23 (Reuters) - Benfica suffered a shock 4-3 home defeat to unfancied Santa Clara on Tuesday, dealing a blow to their hopes of winning a sixth Portuguese league title in seven years.

The result left Benfica top on 64 points from 28 games but their perennial title rivals Porto, who trail them on goal difference, have a gilt-edged chance to leapfrog them when they play Boavista at home in the 2015 GMT kickoff.

Benfica twice came from behind after conceding a 44th-minute opener against the run of play when Anderson Carvalho fired the visitors ahead with a neat side-footed finish from the edge of the penalty area.

Rafa Silva equalised in the 50th with an opportunist close-range shot before the visitors struck again in the 57th, as Zaidu Sanusi rose above his marker to power an Osama Rashid corner into the roof of the net.

Halftime substitute Carlos Vinicius equalised in similar fashion in the 63rd minute, heading in a Pizzi corner, and then got on the end of an Andre Almeida cross two minutes later to steer a superb header past visiting keeper Marco Pereira.

Yet the visitors had the last laugh as second-half substitute Cryzan blasted in an 82nd-minute penalty and Ze Manuel forced the final twist with a deflected shot from 15 metres deep into stoppage time.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis

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