Porto 2-1 Benfica is part of 90min's 20 Greatest Matches of the Decade series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next few weeks.

​Long have there been two titans of Portuguese football. In fact, you need to go back to 2002 to find the last time a side other than Porto or Benfica were champions of the Primeira Liga.

None of those title races have matched the 2012/13 campaign though. None.

Drama? By the shedload.

Last minute goals? Absolutely.

An intense football rivalry? No, the rivalry.

Every tackle, second ball and blade of grass is fought over when these two meet.

As the saying in Portugal goes, "In Porto, they work. In Lisbon, they spend the money."

On 11 May 2013, Porto didn't just work; they fought, they grafted, they battled and they conquered. In spectacular fashion, they seized the initiative on a barnstorming night that will not only live long in the history of Portuguese sport, but forever in footballing folklore. And with good reason.

Let us go back to the start.

Heading into the most anticipated clash on the footballing calendar in Portugal, two sides undefeated with just two rounds of the league season left to play were pitted against each other. 

Porto vs Benfica.

The Estádio do Dragão.


While both sides were head and shoulders above the competition in the division, playing 28 games of the league season unbeaten was still an almighty feat on the two clubs' part. Granted, the other sides are not a scratch on these formidable giants, but for neither team to slip up in any major way at this point defied belief.

A superior goal difference on Benfica's part - alongside the fact they had drawn one fewer match than their opponents - meant the title was theirs to lose. All that was required as they made the 200-mile journey north was to avoid defeat, and then the final match of the season would leave the title in their grasp.

It is important to remember how dominant these two sides were. Yes, Porto's final match of the season was against third-place Paços de Ferreira, while Benfica's was against lowly Moreirense, but both sides were rightfully confident that the result they craved in Porto would secure them the title.

These were two clubs littered with talent.

For the league leaders, Nico Gaitan and Eduardo Salvio offered pace and trickery in the final third. In midfield, Enzo Perez and Nemanja Matic provided steel and stability in equal measure, while a formidable centre-back partnership of Luisao and Ezequiel Garay played its part in a defence that had shipped only 17 goals all season.


Porto's defence, on the other hand, will be familiar names across Europe. A now-Juventus full-back pairing of Alex Sandro and Danilo offered significant threats going forward, with one-time ​Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala forging a brick wall alongside current City star Nicolas Otamendi.

Further forward there was Fernando as the breaker of play, caster of magic João Moutinho and finishers of dinners Jackson Martinez and ​James Rodriguez

Two teams ready for war, and two sets of supporters with no idea what they were about to witness.

Engulfed in a cacophony of noise, Porto started the match with intent. Danilo embarked on one of his trademark forays forward, with his low cross just evading the onrushing Martinez. Porto were well and truly up for this.

Booed every time they touched the ball, Benfica remained undeterred. Game management ensured they weathered the early storm, finding their feet in the hostile atmosphere and starting to implement their passing football onto proceedings. Their opening goal, however, was avoidable on Porto's part, and swung the pendulum towards the Lisbon club.

Failing to effectively clear from a long throw-in, the ball came sailing into the box in the 19th minute and, after a scramble, fell to Garay. His effort was blocked, but the ball deflected into the path of Lima, who was floating in an onside position to slam home into the empty net.


A response was needed, and a response the Porto fans got, no matter how fortuitous.

Silvestre Varela, causing all sorts of trouble down the left-wing, forced the equaliser just six minutes later. His cross from the left flank was blocked by Maxi Pereira, catching Artur Moraes flat-footed. The Brazilian scrambled to try and prevent the cross sneaking in at the near-post, but all he could do was help it in on its way.

In what had been a blistering start to the match, in every sense, the accompanying nerves began to rear their heads. So much so, in fact, that shots from distance became the avenue both sides were keen on exploring for the rest of the first half. None of which were any real cause for concern.

But this wasn't a match that was to be decided by whose goalkeeper would outdo the other, which defence was the most solid, or which striker was the most clinical.

This was a match of moments.

An individual display of composure that would turn the tide one way or another. Any one player on that pitch seizing the opportunity presented to them, and grasping it with both hands. Perhaps even from the bench.


Enter Kelvin.

A naturally cagey affair ensued in the second half, barring a stunning flailing save from Moraes to prevent Varela just two minutes after the whistle.

Neither side wanted to expose themselves too much, with Porto knowing another goal conceded would all-but end their title hopes. Meanwhile, Benfica knew it was a case of staying compact and being diligent in their defensive duties, with the draw ensuring they would hold the advantage heading into the final day.

Not until the 80th minute did either side force a keeper into a save of note, as Óscar Cardozo tested Helton in the Porto net with a low curling free-kick.

Just three minutes later, it looked like the Tripeiros were set to seal it.

An uncharacteristic lapse in concentration from the Alfacinhas' back four saw Rodriguez allowed a diagonal run at the Benfica net. Clearly encompassed with nerves and fear, he lacked the composure he would come to unearth in Brazil the following year, smacking an effort onto the outside of the post.

Not one Porto fan in that stadium could bear watch. That looked like it would be it. That was the moment.

Enter Kelvin.


By this point, Vitor Pereira had already thrown three more attackers onto the pitch in search of the winner, with striker Liedson replacing Danilo just moments before Rodriquez's miss.

It was all or nothing. Hands to the pumps. Just one, just one more moment..

Experience was all over the field, but one plucky young 19-year-old would salvage success, and ultimately win the Primeira Liga.

Enter Kelvin.

With four minutes of stoppage time being shown up, such was the mood within this Benfica side that they had the ball inside the Porto half. It wasn't backs against the walls, it was all guns blazing.

Enter Kelvin.

Possession was recycled as Benfica tracked back, Kelvin picking the ball up in the centre circle before feeding Liedson out wide. 

Even in the way he took each stride, Kelvin knew that this was do-or-die. He had to continue his run. He had to receive the ball back. Even on the corner of the penalty box, he had to take the shot on. And that he did. Oh yes, he did.

Enter Kelvin.


His first touch pushed the ball forward, but the speed from the delivery ensured the ball bounced up. Perfect. 

Before it had even had the chance to hit the turf, he struck it. Sweeter than any Pastéis de Nata he'll ever eat, he found that far corner. And, in doing so, he won Porto the league.

Yes, one could argue the league was won on the final day, but one quick glance at the respective managers told you the title was secured with that kick of the ball.

Pereira went full Jose Mourinho in his excitement, while Jorge Jesus' immediate reaction to drop to his knees, staring into the floor with crushing acceptance, told you all you needed to know.


The exalted supporters knew. Everyone knew. Kelvin knew. Heartbreakingly, Benfica knew.

Porto were Primeira Liga champions.

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