Primeira Liga champions Sporting welcome title challengers and Tres Grandes rivals Porto to the capital on Saturday at 8.30pm (UK time).
Things are already looking tight at the top of the table between Portugal’s typical big three, with just two points currently separating early pace setters Benfica in first from Sporting in third, with Porto sandwiched in the middle.
How to live stream Sporting vs Porto online:
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Scoreline prediction: Sporting 1-1 Porto
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Sporting vs Porto build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Having lifted a first league title in 19 years last season, Ruben Amorim will now be looking to consolidate Sporting’s position as a regular trophy hoarder alongside medal-gobbling rivals Benfica and Porto, placing an early emphasis on winning the first Tres Grandes derby of the campaign. Leoes dropped points to Famalicao last time out, so Amorim will be hoping for a response from his players, and there would be no greater response than beating heavyweights Porto.
Sergio Conceicao has mirrored the results of his counterpart in the opposite dugout, with Porto also winning three and drawing once, while the two clubs also boast an identical goal difference having scored the same (eight goals) and conceded the same (two). Something has to give here, and Porto will be on a war footing as they aim to wrestle the power back from the capital and return glory to the northwest of Portugal.
- Sporting (vs Famalicao): Adan; Inacio, Coates*, Feddal; Esgaio, Palhinha, Nunes, Mendes*; Goncalves, Cabral; Paulinho.
- Porto (vs Arouca): D Costa; Mario, Pepe, Mbemba, Marcano; Otavio, Uribe, B Costa, Diaz; Martinez, Taremi.
Sebastian Coates is a major doubt after he was omitted from Uruguay’s World Cup Qualifiers with a knee issue, while Nuno Mendes is no longer at the club, having left for French heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day in a season-long loan with an option to buy. Marko Grujic and Marchesin are also major doubts for the visitors.
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Player to watch: Pepe (Porto)
At 38 years of age, Porto’s defensive stalwart and perennial hatchet man Pepe continues to operate at the highest level for both club and country, encapsulating the refined elegance that comes with experience, but never wavering on his up-and-at-em approach. The ‘hard man’ in this Porto side, Pepe’s reputation as an aggressor has always belied his ability on the ball and the precision of his defensive work. It would not be fair to say that Pepe has aged like a fine wine. He has simply kept his shelf life, continuing to put in tremendous defensive displays, leading with authority and marshalling the backline. Sporting will need to have an attacking edge if they are to breach the ever-resilient Pepe.
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