Benfica seal 37th Portuguese title

Haris Seferovic scored twice as Benfica sealed the Portuguese title at home against Santa Clara (AFP Photo/PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

Lisbon (AFP) - Benfica sealed their 37th Portuguese league title on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over Santa Clara in the euphoric Stadium of Light.

Benfica struggled until Bruno Lage took over as manager in January and though their form improved they were still third at the start of February.

"Until January, the team was not doing very well, but we have made up a lot of points. It's unbelievable!" said Joao Felix, after raising the trophy with his teammates, before 60,000 fans.

On Saturday, with a two point lead over last year's champions Porto and their destiny in their own hands, Benfica quickly took control.

Haris Seferovic opened the scoring after 16 minutes. Joao Felix doubled the lead seven minutes later and Rafa Silva added a third before half time.

Seferovic added his second in the 56th minute. Mid-table Santa Clara, from the Azores, replied with a goal by Cesar three minutes later.

"We have formed a real family even in the most difficult moments," said club president Luis Filipe Vieira, adding that the he would double the players' bonuses.

"We have conquered this title which belongs to us all, but in particular to this gentleman," he said, pointing at Lage.

Porto beat Sporting 2-1, but Benfica's victory meant it was in vain. Porto had recovered from the blow of losing star goalkeeper Iker Casillas, sidelined by a heart attack at the start of May, to win their last three matches.