(Reuters) - Porto moved within touching distance of claiming the Portuguese league title as they won 3-1 at struggling Tondela on Thursday and need three points from their last three games to guarantee being crowned champions.
Captain Danilo Pereira opened the scoring two minutes into the second period before Moussa Marega added a second midway through the half.
Ronan pulled one back for Tondela with a penalty but Porto got a spot kick of their own deep in stoppage time which Fabio Vieria converted.
Porto moved up to 76 points from 31 games, leaving defending champions Benfica trailing in second place with 67 points from 30. They were playing later on Thursday at Famalicao and if they lose, Porto will be crowned champions as they have a better head-to-head over their arch rivals this season.
Porto won both home and away against Benfica in the league this season and if teams are tied, then their head-to-head rceord is used first to separate them before goal difference, according to Portuguese league regulations.
Tondela remain in danger of relegation, only three points above the drop zone in 15th place.
Porto were frustrated in the first half as Marega’s close-range header brought a one-handed save from Tondela goalkeeper Babacar Niasse, playing only his second game for the club.
But the giant Senegalese was all at sea in the 47th minute as he came out to try and gather a corner but was caught in a crowd of players which allowed Danilo to head home.
Marega was the instigator of his 64th minute goal, stealing away possession in his own half and then sprinting away to get on the end of a searching forward pass by Jesus Corona.
Tondela won a penalty when Jonathan Rubio was brought down by Mateus Uribe and, after a delay as the decision was confirmed by VAR, substitute Ronan netted.
But Porto restored their two-goal advantage after Marega was pushed over five minutes into stoppage time.
Marega got up to take the kick but Vieria claimed penalty duties instead, much to the anger of the Mali international. (This story corrects number of points needed to win title in first para)
Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris