In a Sunday night (8:30pm UK) Lisbon Derby, Benfica look to keep alive any hopes of reeling in second-placed Sporting and qualifying for next year’s Champions League.
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Where to watch Sporting CP vs Benfica on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: GOLTV
Sporting CP team news
Second-placed Sporting come into this showdown in excellent form, having lost just twice in 15 games in all competitions since January 22, and unbeaten in ten (with eight wins) in league play, during which they’ve allowed just six goals.
The hosts come into the game with a clean bill of health (only backup defender Zouhair Feddal is expected to miss out) and, presumably, fresh legs, as the side has played just seven times in the past seven weeks. The only real risk for Sporting is that of looking ahead a bit to the second leg of their Taça de Portugal semifinal against Porto (Porto won the first leg, 2-1) on Thursday.
Barring a monumental collapse in the season’s final weeks, os Leões are firmly ensconced in second place in league, nine point behind leaders Porto, and nine points ahead of crosstown rivals Benfica, who are themselves nine points clear of Braga in fourth. Thus, the stakes for this Lisbon Derby are local bragging rights – and not a whole lot else. Even there, though, Sporting have already defeated Befica twice this campaign – 3-1 in the reverse fixture in December, and 2-1 (via a comeback) in late January’s Taça da Liga final.
Look for Sporting to put forth a solid, professional effort, but don’t surprised if the intensity isn’t quite at a fever pitch.
Sporting CP predicted XI: Adnan; Inacio, Coates, Neto; Reis, Nunes, Ugarte, Porro; Goncalves, Paulinho, Sarabia
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Benfinca team news
Benfica are coming off a spirited midweek showing against Liverpool that ended their Champions League campaign. Though the order in which the game’s goals arrived precluded any thoughts of a comeback, registering a result in a six-goal thriller on a European night at Anfield will surely provide a boost in confidence for as Águias.
As we just noted above, Benfica, like Sporting, are more or less cemented in their league position. It could be argued, however, that Benfica have more to dream on with this game, as a victory on Sunday would trim Sporting’s lead in second to six points with four games remaining – hardly cause for optimism, but something on which to dream nonetheless.
Benfica come in with their attacking core largely intact. Most important, of course, is Uruguayan Darwin Nunez, who’s spectacularly scored 24 times in 24 League outings. He will be on hand, as will Gonçalo Ramos and Roman Yaremchuk, who’ve combined for 13 goals in 45 appearances this season. It’s worth noting, however, that Rafa Silva, the side’s biggest threat from midfield, will miss out. And he will be a miss.
Benfica predicted XI: Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Weigl, Bernardo; Goncalves, Ramos, Everton; Nunez
Primeira Liga 2021/22 recent form:
- Sporting CP: WWWWW
- Benfica: WDWLW
Scoreline prediction: Sporting CP 1-1 Benfica
Given the intensity of the occasion and the glimmers of hope for a second place finish, Benfica will come into this game motivated. At the same time, Sporting’s outstanding defensive record – to say nothing of their virtually nonexistent injury report and lack of fixture congestion – will likely limit just how much that means.
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