French champions Lille continue their pre-season preparations with a trip to Faro to face Benfica on Thursday at 8pm (UK time).
The game is the first of a two-match stay in Portugal for Lille, with Les Dogues also taking on Porto at the weekend.
Benfica vs Lille live stream:
Thursday evening’s friendly is on Bet365’s live-stream schedule for readers with an account. Those without a bet365 account who are over 18 and Gamble Aware need only follow three simple steps to watch Benfica vs Lille online*:
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Benfica vs Lille TV listings:
- UK: Premier Sports 2
- US: N/A
Scoreline prediction: Benfica 1-0 Lille
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Benfica vs Lille build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
The 2020/21 season ended in disappointment for Benfica as they finished third in the Primeira Liga, nine points behind rivals Sporting Portugal and left in the Champions League third qualifying round. They also lost the Portuguese cup final and were knocked out of the Europa League in the round-of-32 having failed to get through the Champions League qualifying stages. Benfica have started their pre-season ahead of 2021/22 fairly well, with two 2-1 wins over Casa Pia and Almeria, though Lille will represent their first big test (not that results matter too much).
Lille will be grateful about the low importance of results as, off the back of their title win in May, Christophe Galtier’s side have not had the best start to pre-season. Having seen Mike Maignan and Boubakary Soumare leave, Lille started pre-season with a 2-0 win over Belgian side Waasland-Beveren but followed that up with a 1-0 loss to Gent. Their final game in Belgium saw Lille draw with Krotrijk, a match in which they had to come from behind and saw two players sent off.
- Benfica (vs Almeria): Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Vertonghen, Verissimo, Grimaldo; Weigl; Rafa, Pizzi, Ramos, Taarabt; Pinho.
- Lille (vs Kortrijk): Jardim; Celik, Djalo, Botman, Reinildo; Lihadji, Andre, Xeka, Bamba; Ikrone, David.
Jose Fonte and Renato Sanches are back in training for Lille after their Euro 2020 exploits with Portugal, but any role they play is likely to be minimal.
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Key player: Leo Jardim (Lille)
Following Mike Maignan’s move to AC Milan this summer, there will be a lot of pressure on Leo Jardim to ensure Lille’s defence does not suffer too much. The 26-year-old goalkeeper spent last season on loan at Boavista and was one of the busiest shot-stoppers in the Primeira Liga, having to make 101 saves, with only Mateus Pasinato (103) managing more.
Jardim also kept nine clean sheets, conceding 49 goals despite having an Expected Goals on Target Conceded tally of 53.97, meaning he prevented almost four goals. His performances earned Jardim links to Barcelona earlier in the summer, with compatriot Deco backing him to replace Neto as the club’s number two (behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen). But as things stand he appears to be Lille’s number one going into the 2021/22 campaign and will be looking for a good performance against big opposition on Thursday.
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