Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi put an end to an 11-game drought by scoring his first goal since October 26 as Porto walked away with a 3-1 victory over its fierce rival Benfica on Thursday to cap off the year on top of Portuguese Primeira Liga table.
Fabio Vieira and Pepe scored in the space of three minutes to give home side a two-goal lead after 37 minute, before Roman Yaremchuk pulled one back for Benfica two minutes after the interval.
However, the visiting team went down to 10 men two minutes later when Andre Almeida picked up a second yellow card before Taremi restored the two-goal cushion for the Dragons in the 69th minute.
Vitinha’s through ball fell into the path of the Iranian international, whose left-footed effort in the box went in through the legs of keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.
This was a 10th goal of the season across all competitions for the Iranian, who had last been on the score sheet during a 3-1 win against Santa Clara in the Portuguese League Cup.
Thursday’s triumph – an 11th successive league win for Porto – sees the Dragons head into the new year on top of the table with a goal-difference advantage over Sporting Lisbon as the two sides have been enjoying a run of 16 unbeaten games since the start of the season – wining 14.
It was Benfica’s first game under caretaker manager Nelson Verissimo, who took charge earlier this week after a player revolt led to the dismissal of Jorge Jesus following a 3-0 humiliation against Porto in the Portuguese Cup.
Porto is now unbeaten in eight matches against Benfica in all competitions.
Benfica, which will play Ajax in the Champions League last-16 round in February, is third in the domestic league, trailing the top two by seven points.