MX23RW : Monday, August 8 11:13:47| >> :120:17419:17419:
[monks data]
Aug 5, 2022 at 8.15pm UK at Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
4 - 0
Gilberto (8'), Silva (42', 86'), Fernandez (45+6')
Luis (55'), Weigl (82'), Silva (83')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Opoku (1')
Quaresma (45+1')

Preview: Benfica vs. Arouca - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Primeira Liga clash between Benfica and Arouca, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The 2022-23 Portuguese Primeira Liga campaign gets underway on Friday when 2018-19 champions Benfica play host to Arouca at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

The Arouquenses head into this weekend on a disappointing run of six consecutive defeats against the record 37-time league winners and will be desperate to end this poor record.

Match preview

Benfica's Henrique Araujo celebrates scoring their first goal with Souahilo Meite on March 11, 2022© Reuters

Benfica secured a second consecutive third-placed finish in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season, when they picked up 74 points from their 34 league games.

As Aguias lost six games last season — their highest tally since the 2010-11 campaign — while picking up 23 wins and five draws to finish 17 points off league winners Porto.

Benfica head into this weekend off the back of an emphatic 4-1 home victory over Midtjylland in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying third-round clash on Tuesday.

In the absence of Darwin Nunez, who completed a record transfer to Liverpool this summer, 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos stepped up as he netted a hat-trick to see off the Danish Superliga outfit.

This followed a stellar pre-season campaign, where Roger Schmidt's men picked up five wins from their five games while netting 17 goal and conceding five.

Benfica have now won each of their last seven games across all competitions, stretching back to May's 1-0 loss against Porto, and they will look to continue in the same vein and kick off their 2022-23 league campaign with a bang.

Arouca's Andre Bukia in action with Sporting Lisbon's Matheus Reis on March 5, 2022© Reuters

On the other hand, Arouca avoided relegation just by the skin of their teeth last season as they finished 15th in the standings, two points above 16th-placed Moreirense in the relegation playoff spot.

The Arouquenses picked up seven wins, 10 draws and lost 19 of their 34 games last campaign to collect 31 points, just three points better than Tondela in the automatic relegation zone.

Their underwhelming performance was down to stair struggles at the attacking end of the pitch, where they netted the third-fewest number of goals last season (30) — with only Pacos de Ferreira (29) and Belenenses (23) netting fewer.

Armando Evangelista's men head into the opening-day clash off the back of a decent pre-season, where they picked up two wins and a draw from their five games, while suffering defeats at the hands of Braga and Porto respectively.

While they will be looking to kick off their domestic assignment on a high, next up is an opposing side who have won each of their last six meetings and are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 since 2010.

Benfica form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Arouca form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Team News

Benfica coach Nelson Verissimo on April 13, 2022© Reuters

Benfica will take to the opening-day clash without the services of Brazilian defender Lucas Verissimo, who has been out of action since last November through a severe knee injury.

Portuguese youngster Ramos turned in a performance of the highest quality on Tuesday, when he scored a hat-trick to hand his side a 4-1 victory over FC Midtjylland in the Champions League qualifiers and the 21-year-old should spearhead the hosts' attack once again.

He should be joined in the final third by former Ajax starlet David Neres, who set up two of the four goals against the Danish outfit, and Rafa Silva, who registered 23 goal involvements in the league last season.

At the opposite end of the pitch, we expect to see an unchanged back four of Gilberto, Felipe Morato, Nicolas Otamendi and Alejandro Grimaldo shielding 28-year-old Odysseas Vlachodimos between the sticks.

Arouca snapped up former Corinthians forward Vitinho, who made 22 appearances and registered three goal involvements in the Brasileiro Serie A last season, and the 22-year-old could be handed his debut this weekend.

Evangelista will be unable to call upon the services of Andre Silva, who was a standout performer last season for the Arouquenses, netting nine goals and setting up three more, after the 25-year-old forward completed a move to Vitoria de Guimaraes.

In his absence, 23-year-old Oday Dabbagh should be the main man in attack for the visitors this season and he should be joined up top by Brazilian youngster Antony Alves and 28-year-old Alan Ruiz.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Morato, Grimaldo; Fernandez, Luis, Mario; Neres, Ramos, Silva

Arouca possible starting lineup:
Zubas; Thales, Esgaio, Basso, Araujo; Silva, Simao; Antony, Ruiz, Vitinho; Dabbagh

SM words green background

We say: Benfica 3-0 Arouca

Benfica have been near-impenetrable in recent weeks and will fancy their chances against an opposing side who have lost each of the last six meetings between the teams. While we expect the visitors to put up a good fight, we are backing AS Aguias to extend their dominance in this fixture and pick up a comfortable opening-day victory.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Goncalo Ramos celebrates scoring for Benfica against Liverpool in the Champions League on April 13, 2022
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