RECAP: WEEKEND PORTUGUESE ACTION
Tony Taylor was a late substitute in Estoril's crucial victory over Vitoria de Guimaraes, while Steven Silva Rodrigues logged another full 90 for a victorious Leixoes a division below.
Estoril 2 - 0 Vitoria de Guimaraes
Estoril temporarily returned to sixth place in the Portuguese first division, one point ahead of their defeated visitors, with a comfortable victory over Vitoria de Guimaraes.
The hosts dominated the game following a fifth-minute red card to Alex, who tripped up Lica 20 yards from goal as the last defender.
Estoril created several quality chances following the expulsion, only for Guimaraes keeper Douglas to expertly repel attacks by Luis Leal, Jefferson and Steven Vitoria.
Finally, in the 32nd minute, a thumping Luis Leal free kick left Douglas with no chance and put the home team up 1-0.
Estoril continued to control the game in the second half with only Douglas keeping Guimaraes in the game.
In the 79th minute, though, Carlitos won a near post header from a corner kick and put Estoril up 2-0.
The goal scorer was then replaced by Tony Taylor, who saw his first action since January 9th.
Estoril's dominant centerback, Steven Vitoria, was red carded in the 83rd minute for a challenge similar to the one that saw Alex sent off in the game's opening minutes.
The visitors then came close to pulling one back but Vagner maintained a clean sheet with a couple strong saves, most notably parrying an Amido Balde header.
Taylor and Estoril will hope to continue their surprising challenge for a top-five spot when they visit Maritimo next Sunday.
Leixoes 1 - 0 Santa Clara
Steven Silva Rodrigues once again played his part in a Leixoes shutout, their 12th of the league season.
The victory was far from convincing however, as the visitors not only scored an own goal but also missed a penalty in the final moments.
An own goal by Luiz Carlos in the 15th minute proved to be only score of the game, as the defender deflected a Tiago Borges header into his own net.
The veteran Brazilian compounded his mistake by missing a penalty in second-half stoppage time after a Ze Augusto handball.
Rodrigues and crew will next take the field when they visit Braga B on 2/16.
Caleb Patterson-Sewell once again watched from the bench as Vitoria de Setubal defeated Gil Vicente 1-0 and moved above the relegation zone.
Likewise, Sergio Duarte did not participate in Nacional's surprising tie with title hopeful Benfica.