By Associated Press - Saturday, August 22, 2015

LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Benfica can open an early gap to its main title rivals after FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon were both held to draws in the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Porto finished 1-1 at Maritimo and 10-man Sporting drew 1-1 at home with Pacos Ferreira before defending champion Benfica visits Arouca on Sunday in the league’s second round of matches.

Edgar Costa headed Maritimo in front in the fifth minute, as former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas conceded his first goal for Porto.

Hector Herrera equalized in the 34th for Porto, and teammate Maxi Pereira almost snatched the win when he headed the ball off the woodwork four minutes into injury time.

Sporting’s Andre Carrillo took the lead in the 41st, only for Pele to level for Pacos Ferreira from the penalty spot after Joao Pereira was sent off with a direct red card for fouling Cicero Sanchez with 10 minutes left.

Sporting visits CSKA Moscow on Wednesday with a 2-1 lead for the second leg of their Champions League playoff.

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