Benfica take on Primeira Liga draw specialists Belenenses on Monday at 8.15pm (UK time) looking to keep pace with Porto in second.
With 16 points currently separating fourth-placed Benfica from Lisbon rivals Sporting CP in first, Jorge Jesus will know his chances of bringing top-flight silverware back to the Estadio da Luz in the first season of his fairytale return are slim to none. So, he will now avert his gaze to Porto in second, with six points the current difference between the Portuguese giants.
How to live stream Belenenses vs Benfica online:
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Where to watch Belenenses vs Benfica on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: GOLTV
Scoreline prediction: Belenenses 0-1 Benfica
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Belenenses vs Benfica build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Despite winning just four Primeira Liga games this season, Belenenses are currently perched 12th in the table, owing to their league-high 10 draws, though O Belem are far from safe, contrary to their position. Nuno Oliveira’s side are just three points above the drop zone and have netted the fewest goals of any side in the division.
Where Belenenses are looking behind, Benfica are looking forward, hoping this match will reduce the gap between themselves and Porto in second to just three points. The Eagles recently booked their ticket in the Taca de Portugal final, but the main objective will be to secure Champions League football for next season, placing a huge emphasis on getting three points when they travel to the Estadio Nacional next week.
- Belenenses (vs Moreirense): Kritsyuk; Calila, Silva, Henrique, Ribeiro, Lima; Cardoso, Sithole, Phete, Varela; Cassierra.
- Benfica (vs Estoril): Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Verissimo, Otamendi, Tavares; Pires, Pedrinho, Chiquinho, Pizzi, Cervi; Ramos.
Andre Almeida remains out of action for the visitors, while influential duo Darwin Nunez and Jan Vertonghen collected injuries towards the backend of February and missed the last league outing against Rio Ave, and they enter this contests as major doubts.
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Players to watch:
- Belenenses: It isn’t difficult to locate the issues currently hampering the hosts: they’ve netted a league-worst 13 goals. Where Belenenses have shone this season and remedied their inefficiencies in front of goal is in the defensive third. They’ve conceded just 18 goals, the third-best record in the top flight this season, just one more than Benfica, and less than the likes of Porto and third-placed Braga. That’s a fantastic return for a club currently battling it out in a relegation scrap but at some point they’ll need to start hitting the onion bag on a more regular basis or risk crashing out. One player who could improve Belenenses’ woes in front of goal is Mateo Cassierra. The Colombian marksman was originally brought to Europe by Ajax, who aren’t the worst club at identifying talent, particularly in that part of the world, with recent imports from South America, David Neres and Antony, a testament to the club’s fruitful scouting network in that neck of the woods. With four goals this season, Cassierra is the club’s top scorer, but must start improving upon that tally if Belenenses are to climb up the table.
- Benfica: It still remains one of the most mind-boggling but captivating midfield partnerships in Europe: Adel Taarabt and Julian Weigl in Lisbon. The former was a mercurial phenom in west London during his QPR days, regularly transfixing Loftus Road with his repertoire of tricks and skills, before his form eventually fell off a cliff and he left for a nomadic tour of Europe. It would be some years later before he found considerable form and consistency in a side, and that has come at Benfica, where he his refined his game as Father Time has beset his once twinkle-toed speed. Now a deep-lying tempo-setter, Taarabt has continued to impress in his new role and brought an element of creative discipline to Jesus’ side, which could prove key in unlocking a defence as watertight as Belenenses’.
Primeira Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Belenenses: DWDDD
- Benfica: WDDWD
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