Benfica will look to keep pace with Porto in the race for Champions League football in the Primeira Liga when they travel to Tondela on Friday at 7pm (UK time).
Unbeaten Sporting Lisbon currently sit atop the table and 10 points ahead of Benfica with just five games remaining, so Jorge Jesus’ immediate focus will be on finishing in the top two ahead of Porto, with only four points the difference at this present stage in time.
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Where to watch Tondela vs Benfica on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: GOLTV
Scoreline prediction: Tondela 0-2 Benfica
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Tondela vs Benfica build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Tondela have been in good form recently and currently sit comfortably in mid-table, though head coach Pako Ayestaran will be keen to ensure his side don’t take their foot off the pedal, despite the fact they are neither in major threat of relegation, nor within a shout of pushing for Europe.
For Benfica, it’s all to play for in the concluding weeks of the Portuguese top flight, with the capital club currently ensconced in third but just four point adrift of Porto in the final Champions League qualification place, adding a huge emphasis on picking up points in the Viseu District.
- Tondela (vs Famalicao): Trigueira; Almeida, Tavares, Suarez, Ferreira; Pedro, Grau, Olabe; Murillo, Agra, Gonzalez.
- Benfica (vs Santa Clara): Leite; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Goncalves, Weigl, Pizzi, Grimaldo; Silva, Everton, Seferovic.
Andre Almeida has missed the majority of the season after sustaining a cruciate ligament rupture in autumn and he remains out of action, while Andreas Samaris and Adel Taarabt are also out of contention, the latter of whom missed the previous outing with a muscle injury.
Players to watch:
- Tondela: For CDT the main man this season has been Villarreal loanee Mario Gonzalez, who is currently third in the Primeira Liga scoring charts with 13 goals, behind only Pedro Goncalves on Sporting CP (17) and Haris Seferovic of Benfica (18). The Spaniard has exceeded his expected goals rate by quite a margin; his current xG of 8.9 pales in comparison to his actual output of 13, with a 55.26% shooting accuracy serving well to underpin his clinical form in front of goal. In fact, with 10 big chances scored, Gonzalez is just one of two players in the Primeira Liga for double digits concerning that particular metric, alongside Seferovic (14). So present the 25-year-old with a chance and more often than not he will take it. That is the key for Tondela this week.
- Benfica: The key for Jesus’ men meanwhile will be to control the tempo and restrict CDT from getting Gonzalez on the ball, and that is where the importance of Benfica’s metronomic Julian Weigl will be elevated. The German tempo-setter currently ranks first among midfielders in the Primeira Liga for most completed passes (1452), with a staggering 91.32% accuracy, the highest rating for any midfielder with 20+ appearances in the division this term. Once reportedly courted by Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola thought to have been an admirer when he was strutting his stuff for Borussia Dortmund, Weigl is now beginning to showcase his elite qualities at the Estadio da Luz, and he will be desperate to ensure those qualities are on show in the Champions League next season.
Primeira Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Tondela: DWWLW
- Benfica: WWLWW
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