RECAP: WEEKEND PORTUGUESE ACTION
Oguchi Onyewu two goals against Beira-Mar powered Sporting to their first win of 2012, while Caleb Patteron-Sewell had the toughest day of his Portuguese career in a crushing defeat to Estoril.
Sporting CP 2 - 0 SC Beira Mar
Having fallen well off the title pace by failing to win a game since December, Sporting were in desperate need of a jumpstart.
The imposing center back dominated the first half, picking up a yellow card just a minute into the game and tallying two headed goals in the 18th and 27th minutes.
Onyewu's first strike came when he flicked a Jeffren corner to the far post, while his second was a powerful, downward header off a Diego Capel free kick.
The goals were Onyewu's fourth and fifth of the season, meaning only Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has scored more for Sporting in Portuguese competition.
The former AC Milan man played his customary 90 minute shift alongside Peruvian Alberto Rodriguez, and managed to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
It was not a flawless performance, however, as Beira-Mar did create several chances and twice hit the crossbar in the second half.
The win keeps Sporting in fourth place, though they were able to make up ground on both Braga and Porto. Unfortunately, arch-rival Benfica also defeated Feirense and moved even further into first place.
The Lions' next matchup will be against Gil Vicente in the league cup on Saturday.
GD Estoril Praia 5 - 0 Atlético CP
Caleb Patteron-Sewell and Atlético were hammered by league leading Estoril on Thursday, dropping to fifth place in the Liga Orangina.
The former New York Red Bulls ‘keeper had not previously conceded more than three goals in any game in his Portuguese career, but his day got off to a discouraging start in the sixth minute when a Vítor Bastos own goal opened the scoring.
Further goals by Adilson and Steven Vitoria in the 19th and 32nd minutes gave the hosts a 3-0 lead at the half.
Two 90th minute goals by Pedro Moreira and Licá underlined Estoril's dominance.
Tony Taylor, who has recently been recalled from Atlético to Estoril, did not suit up for the hosts having been involved with the recent US U-23 camp.
Estoril are now five points clear at the top of the standings with a cup match against first division Paços de Ferreira on Saturday.
Atlético, meanwhile, will have an extra week off until they next take on Santa Clara on Sunday, February 12.