Sporting Seize First Title in 18 Years

Published May 15th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Sporting Lisbon was crowned Portuguese first-division champions for the 17th time, overpowering FC Porto with a 4-0 win Sunday at Porto-outfit Salgueiros. 

Sporting went into the final match with a one-point lead over last year's champions, Porto, who were going for a record sixth successive championship but were beaten 2-1 by their northern rivals Gil Vicente and finished four points adrift of Sporting, which ended with 77 points. 

Despite its illustrious history, Sporting -- with Porto and Benefica considered one of the big three of Portuguese soccer -- lifts its first title in 18 years. 

Sporting and runner-up Porto will compete in the Champions League, while Benefica, who have hoisted the trophy 30 times, and Boastiva must settle for the UEFA Cup. 

Sporting and Porto still have one more battle to fight before the end of season, with the teams meeting in next Sunday's Portuguese Cup. 

Sporting goes into next season's European Champions League directly, while Porto, who have reached the quarterfinals this year, will have to play the qualifying competition - (Several Sources) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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