2013/14 Portuguese Zon Sagres Review


It was another fascinating year in the Portuguese top division, for many reasons. Benfica secured their 33rd title, and Sporting Lisbon rose once again after several bad seasons to finish 2nd. The team to struggle – Porto, finishing 3rd. Here are the main standings:

1st – Benfica, 2nd – Sporting Lisbon, 3rd – Porto (All Champions League)

4th – Estoril, 5th – Nacional, 11th – Rio Ave (All Europa League, Rio based on Cup Runners Up)

9th – Braga

Relegated – Olhanense

Promoted (it’s complicated…) – Boavista (from 3rd Division), Moreirense, Penafiel

It was a cracking season, with Porto and Benfica doing well in Europe too. Estoril, also in Europe after a great season post-promotion, were pretty good too. Braga were poor all season in all formats, finishing 9th and not progressing in the Europa League Group phase.

Others to do well in the league were Nacional, who finished 5th and go into the Europa League qualifying. Usual whipping boys Academica finished in 8th – thanks to ex-Portugal international and Inter star Sergio Conceicao, who after such a good season has been snapped up by Braga. Both newly promoted teams remained – Belenenses and Arouca finished 14th and 12th, respectively. Estoril as mentioned had another brilliant season, finishing 4th behind the big three.

Those to disappoint were Porto, who have rarely been pushed out of the top 2, which shows how uncompetitive the league has become at times. Lisbon shoved them out this season, with a quite frankly top season! Pacos Ferreira, after finishing 3rd and entering the Champions League qualifying stages, and later Europa League Group phase (after losing in the CL) finished 15th, and were beaten in the relegation playoff – luckily for them fate intervened, and they were spared thanks to an incident from nearly 6 years ago. This is where it gets complicated…

Boavista, one of just two teams outside of the regular three (Porto, Benfica and Lisbon) to win the title, back in 2000/01 season, were relegated in 2008/09 after being found guilty of influencing/threatening a referee back in 2003/04. After this, they hit financial problems and were again relegated despite finishing 15th out of 22 that season. Since then they have been rotting away in the 3rd tier of Portuguese football, plotting a route back via appeals over the incidents they were relegated over. In the 2012/13 season it emerged that they would be re-promoted after the court ruling was nullified. Obviously their squad wouldn’t hold up in the top league so after compensation battles etc it was determined they would start the 2014/15 campaign in the top league. This meant that the league would be expanded to 18 from 16. Pacos were reinstated after initially being relegated, and the two promoted sides Penafiel and Moreirense were also added in.

Some are very pleased for Boavista, as they are a huge team in the city of Porto. Others think that because they are a big club they are getting away with it, with some calling the nullified case a technicality. Either way they are back in the big time, and are hoping to build a squad including ex players like Nuno Gomes and Jose Bosingwa, who both are in their 30’s and declining rapidly.

Top Scorers:

  1. Jackson Martinez – 20
  2. Derley/Rafael Martins – 16
  3. Lima – 14

So – it was all going on to begin with, and then this happened! Next season should be spectacular!