There’s a crucial game in the Primeira Liga title race on Friday as Porto welcome Benfica to the Estadio do Dragao (9pm kick-off, UK time).
The two sides are currently tied on 31 points with Porto having the slight edge on goal difference. However, they are both four points behind current leaders Sporting CP, who play earlier on Friday, meaning one of either Porto or Benfica could end the day with a seven-point gap between themselves and the summit.
How to live stream Porto vs Benfica online:
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Where to watch Porto vs Benfica on TV:
- UK: FreeSports
- US: GOLTV
Scoreline prediction: Porto 2-0 Benfica
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Porto vs Benfica build-up, pre-match team news & previous lineups:
Porto enter Friday’s clash on an incredible unbeaten run across all competitions, now at 16 games without defeat since Pacos Ferreira beat them 3-2 at the end of October. That 16-game run has included a draw with Manchester City in the Champions League and a 2-0 victory over Benfica in the Portuguese Super Cup.
Unfortunately for Porto, seven straight wins has not enabled them to get any closer to Sporting at the top of the table, who have dropped just four points all season. They have, however, caught up with Benfica in recent weeks and moved ahead on goal difference, with the two sides boasting equal records.
Benfica haven’t been as consistent as Porto this season and recently saw a nine-game unbeaten run ended by their hosts in the aforementioned Super Cup. Benfica have followed that up with two wins and a draw in the league, but that 1-1 stalemate with Santa Clara at the start of 2021 is what allowed Porto to move level on points.
The Super Cup win also extended Porto’s good recent record against Benfica which has seen them win the past four matches between the two sides, and six of the last eight.
- Porto (vs Nacional): Costa; Nanu, Pepe, Leite, Sarr; Grujic, Oliveira, Corona, Diaz; Taremi, Martinez.
- Benfica (vs Estrela Amadora): Leita; Goncalves, Jardel, Todibo, Tavares; Taarabt, Samaris, Pedrinho, Chiquinho; Ramos, Seferovic.
Porto remain without Ivan Marcano and Claudio Ramos, but they welcomed back Pepe for their win over Nacional in the Taca de Portugal on Tuesday. Benfica, meanwhile, remain without Andre Almeida but stalwart Jardel and Barcelona loanee Jean-Clair Todibo returned to feature in their Taca de Portugal triumph over Estrela.
Otamendi out to prove he’s still got it
To say Benfica were busy during last summer’s transfer window is an understatement. The Eagles spent heavy to strengthen their first team and signed a number of high-profile names such as experienced Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen plus exciting 21-year-old Uruguayan striker Darwin Núñez but the most curious acquisition was no stranger to Portugal’s top division.
Nicolás Otamendi’s time at Manchester City was up and the much-maligned Argentine centre-back decided his immediate future would be at the Estádio da Luz where he played on several occasions for arch-rivals Porto making tonight’s his first league classic in seven years. Otamendi in an interview with sports newspaper Record stated this game is an opportunity to show that he’s not yet a “dead dog”. His record in this fixture is mighty impressive; across six previous games Otamendi was on the winning side three times and suffered just once loss which came in his last game before today.
Players to watch:
Porto: When Alex Telles joined Man Utd in the summer transfer window, Porto needed someone to step up and take his spot as penalty specialist. Sergio Oliveira has done that. The central midfielder has scored four penalties in the Primeira Liga so far this season, more than any other player in the league. However, he has not kept to penalties, Oliveira has scored three more goals including a free-kick, taking his total tally to seven. On top of that, the 28-year-old has also recorded four assists in the league and, from deep, might be Porto’s most important attacking player.
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Benfica: Jorge Jesus’ side have a good mixture of goalscorers that have rightfully received praise, and one of the men providing for them at the minute is Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan has so far recorded six assists in the league this season, more than any other player. But remarkably, this has come from just 12 chances created. He has also shared his assists fairly evenly, with three each for Benfica strikers Haris Seferovic and Luca Waldschmidt. Whoever starts alongside him on Friday will be content in knowing they have a good chance of scoring when Nunez feeds them the ball.
Primeira Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Porto: WWWWW
- Benfica: WDWWW
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