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Portuguese Primeira Liga: When does it return? Top players? Exciting title race?

The second major league to return to action in Europe is the Portuguese Primeira Liga. We provide a rundown of the state of play, schedule, players and more…

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When is the Portuguese Primeira Liga returning?

The Portuguese Primeira Liga, or Liga NOS, will return as early as June 3rd. A midweek return sees Portimonense host Gil Vicente at 7pm GMT on Wednesday. That match comes before surprise package FC Famalicão take on leaders FC Porto. Promoted from the Segunda Division this season, FC Famalicão are currently in fifth with 10 games to play. That game kicks off at 9:15 GMT.

How are games being scheduled in the league?

There will be at least one game for five or six out of seven days in a week from June 3rd until the final matchday of the season. There will be one or two days of each week in which they will play no matches and have more chance to rest and prepare. Every other day will feature between one and four Primeira Liga games. If all goes smoothly, the league is due to end on July 26th. All teams will play on the ultimate day at the same time.

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Are Portuguese Primeira Liga teams playing at their own stadiums?

No. The league and football federation has a small selection of stadia for teams to play out the rest of the season. Santa Clara, based on the Azores Islands, are nearly 900 miles away from mainland Portugal. In the best interests to protect the island and reduce significant travel, Santa Clara have moved to Lisbon.

They, along with Belenenses, will play at the Cidade do Futebol in Oeiras, the training home of the Portuguese National Team. Other stadiums that will not host games include FC Famalicão’s Estadio Municipal 22 de Junho and Moreirense’s Parque de Jogos Comendador Joaquim de Almeida Freitas. FC Famalicão will play at Gil Vicente’s Barcelos, whilst Moreirense will play home games at Guimarães.

However, CD Maritimo, based on the island of Madeira, are unhappy about a potential relocation. If teams were to play them, it would require flights to and from the island every few days. Maritimo’s first game back is a home fixture against Vitoria FC on June 4th.

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What time will kick off be in the Portuguese Primeira Liga?

Kick off times will be no early than 5pm GMT, with most games kicking off between 7pm and 9pm GMT. Some games will start as late as 9:30pm GMT. They have set all fixtures in the final matchday of the season to kick off at 4pm GMT.

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What is the state of play in the Primeira Liga?

24 matchdays have passed so far this season before the enforced break. There is an excellent reason to get excited about the remaining fixtures.

FC Porto are the current leaders on 60 points and are just one point ahead of SL Benfica in second place. Reigning champions Benfica lost 3-2 against Porto at the Estadio Dragao in February, then lost to SC Braga the following game. After leading the table, just one win in their last five Primeira Liga games gave Porto the chance to overtake. These two sides have already played each other twice.

This means the title race comes down to who can hold their own against other opposition upon the return to action. On the final matchday of the season, Benfica take on Lisbon rivals Sporting, whilst Porto have the tough task of going to Braga.

SC Braga sit 3rd position with 46 points. Sporting Lisbon’s eight league defeats this season means they settle in 4th place on 42 points and are now without Bruno Fernandes.

At the foot of the table, Aves have a measly 13 points to their name, despite picking up two more wins than the team above them. Portimonense have just two wins so far, with their league high 10 draws keeping them afloat of the bottom of the table. Two teams get relegated from the Primeira Liga, and the Segunda Division will promote CD Nacional and Farense to the Primeira Liga.

What have been the talking points in the Primeira Liga this season?

  • FC Porto striker Moussa Marega walks off the pitch at Guimarães because of racial abuse.
  • FC Famalicão fly high in their first season back in the top flight for nearly 30 years. In fifth position, Marco Silva’s former assistant Joao Pedro Sousa is their manager.
  • Sporting Lisbon activate the buy-out for SC Braga coach Ruben Dias. The fee paid was around €20m, an immense fee for the league.
  • English youngsters Marcus Edwards and Easah Sullivan play for Vitoria Guimarães. Former Spurs player Edwards scored against Arsenal at the Emirates in the Europa League this season.
  • Barcelona complete the pre-signing of Francesco Trincao from SC Braga for £26m. He will join this summer and will probably go out on loan.
  • Bruno Fernandes completes move to Manchester United in January for a fee over £47m. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, and Marcos Rojo have made that move.

Who are the top players in the Primeira Liga this season?

  • Carlos Vinicius (SL Benfica) The Brazilian striker is the league’s top scorer with 15 goals this season. The former AS Monaco striker is getting attention from the Premier League.
  • Alex Telles (FC Porto) A Brazilian who has been one of the league’s best talents for a few seasons. As a left back, his attacking output has been remarkable with eight goals this season.
  • Marcus Edwards (Vitoria Guimarães) The young English winger has made a solid name for himself in Portugal. He has four goals and four assists in 14 league starts this season.
  • Pizzi (SL Benfica) The Portuguese star has nearly a goal contribution a game with 22 in 24. Since moving from central midfielder to an attacking winger, his output has been sensational.

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Can I bet on Portuguese Primeira Liga matches behind-closed-doors?

Yes. At Mark Jarvis, we have over 50 different markets for each match in the Portuguese top flight. For Portuguese Primeira Liga markets, click here.

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Sam is an experienced content writer with a history of working in the sports industry. Sam is a media and communication professional with a bachelor's degree focused in Sports Studies.

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