One win in the last five has rocked Benfica’s Primeira Liga title chances, but they will look to restore parity on leaders Sporting CP when Vitoria de Guimaraes visit the capital on Friday at 7pm (UK time).
A Monday night defeat in the Lisbon Derby has created a nine-point gap between Benfica in fourth and Sporting in first, making that three successive winless games for Jorge Jesus’ side. Guimaraes by contrast are enjoying a hot streak at the moment and travel to the capital with the wind in their sails.
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Where to watch Benfica vs Guimaraes on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: GolTV
Scoreline prediction: Benfica 1-1 Guimaraes
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Benfica vs Guimaraes build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
The match at the Alvalade was looking like a box-office bomb until Matheus Nunes popped up in the dying embers to secure Sporting maximum reward. That defeat in the Lisbon Derby has been the nadir of a patchy spell for Benfica, who have secured just one win since the turn of the year.
The Conquerors meanwhile will feel confident of living up to their name for this match. Joao Henriques’ side are on a winning run of three games and have tasted defeat just once in the last eight league matches, posting six triumphs in that time. They did, however, suffer defeat to Benfica in the Allianz Cup in December.
- Benfica (vs Sporting): Vlachodimos; Otamendi, Jardel*, Vertonghen; Gilberto, Pizzi, Weigl, Grimaldo; Silva, Cervi, Nunez.
- Guimaraes (vs Maritimo): Trmal; Sacko, Suliman, Mumin, Mensah; Almeida, Wakaso, Andre, Quaresma, Rochinha, Estupinan.
Jardel suffered a thigh agitation in the defeat to Sporting and will miss out here, while Jesus also has to contend with injuries to Andre Almeida, Everton, Helton Leite and Luca Waldschmidt.
The visitors have an extensive injury list, which includes the likes of Chelsea graduate Jacob Maddox and Silvio, while Henriques will also be without Bruno Varela and Pepelu.
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Players to watch:
- Benfica: Jesus will want an immediate response if Benfica are to mount, what is perhaps now an unthinkable title charge. Nine points is the difference at the summit, but Benfica are serial winners in Portugal and in Jesus, they have one of football’s most eminent tacticians. Their opponents on Friday are currently riding the crest of a wave, so composure will be needed, and few offer such equanimity on the ball as Julian Weigl. Pep Guardiola’s supposed affection for the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been well chronicled in the past, so Benfica know they have a player they can rely on. There is nothing overly audacious about the Germany international, but if Benfica are to circumnavigate this rough patch, then Weigl’s passing fluidity and calmness in possession will help significantly to that end.
- Guimaraes: Where Weigl offers an aura of composure and at times predictability in his passing range, Ricardo Quaresma is almost the exact opposite. There is a chaos about the mercurial Portuguese that makes him one of football’s most creative and unpredictable characters on the turf. From daring trivelas (for which he is synonymous), to dribbling virtuosity, Quaresma’s repertoire of tricks and skills makes him unplayable at times and makes it worth paying the admission fee every time. At 37, he is still one of Portugal’s more creative assets and has shone this season for Guimaraes, whom he joined in the summer. If the club are to pull off a result in the capital, then they will need Quaresma, who can produce a moment of magic in the blink of an eye.
Primeira Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Benfica: LDDWD
- Guimaraes: WWWDL
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