MX23RW : Monday, November 23 10:16:25| >> :600:130944:130944:
Nov 8, 2020 at 8pm UK at Estádio da Luz
BenficaBenfica
2-3
BragaBraga
Seferovic (68', 86')
Goncalves (79')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Medeiros (38'), Moura (50', 63')
Medeiros (11'), Esgaio (26'), Sequeira (56')

Preview: Benfica vs. Braga - prediction, team news, form guides

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Primeira Liga clash between Benfica and Braga, including predictions, team news and form guides.

Second meets third in the final Primeira Liga match before the international break when Benfica welcome Braga to the Estadio da Luz on Sunday evening.

Three points separate the two sides in the table, but both teams go into the contest looking to return to winning ways after recent setbacks.


Match preview

Benfica's Darwin Nunez celebrates with a teammate after scoring against Rangers on November 5, 2020© Reuters

With Jorge Jesus back at the helm, Benfica had made an ominous start to the new season after finishing as runners-up to Porto in both the league and cup last season.

Quickly putting the disappointing of failing to qualify for the Champions League group stages aside, the Eagles won their next seven games in a row across all competitions, scoring 22 goals in the process.

That included five wins from five to set the early pace at the top of the Primeira Liga, but their flying form came to a shuddering and wholly unexpected halt at the hands of an out-of-form Boavista side on Monday night as Benfica slipped to a 3-0 away defeat.

It looked as though that would be followed up by another unexpected loss in the Europa League on Thursday night when Nicolas Otamendi was sent off after only 19 minutes and Rangers raced into a 3-1 lead at the Estadio da Luz.

However, Jesus's side fought back to rescue a late 3-3 draw and preserve their unbeaten record in Group D - a stalemate which will have felt more like a win under the circumstances.

Carlos Carvalhal, now in charge of Sporting Braga, pictured in June 2020© Reuters

The challenge now is to prove that the loss to Boavista was an aberration of a result, and Braga will provide a stringent examination having chalked up four successive Primeira Liga wins heading into this one.

Carlos Carvalhal's side have responded well to surprisingly losing their opening two games of the season, and another triumph on Sunday would see them win five league matches in a row for the second time this calendar year.

Perennial top-four challengers, last season was the first time Braga had managed to break into the top three since 2011-12, and that will once again be the target this season.

However, for all of their good domestic form, Braga were handed a chastening lesson by Leicester City on Thursday night as the Foxes ran out 4-0 winners in their Europa League clash at the King Power Stadium.

Carvalhal will be demanding a response from his previously-perfect side this weekend, but an away trip to Benfica is about as difficult a challenge as you can get in Portuguese football at the moment.

Benfica Primeira Liga form: WWWWWL
Benfica form (all competitions): WWWWLD

Braga Primeira Liga form: LLWWWW
Braga form (all competitions): WWWWWL


Team News

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Benfica

Out: Pedrinho (muscle), Andre Almeida (knee)
Doubtful: Jean-Clair Todibo (Achilles)

Braga

Out: David Carmo (suspended), Fransergio (suspended), Ricardo Horta (muscle), Rui Fonte (knee)


SM words green background

We say: Benfica 2-1 Braga

This should be a fascinating game between two sides who had both been in excellent form before recent setbacks. Benfica will be demanding a response from their defeat at Boavista last time out and, with home advantage also in their favour, that is enough for us to lean towards last season's runners-up.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring against Lech Poznan in the Europa League on October 29, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Sporting Lisbon76101941519
2Braga7502127515
3Benfica7502179815
4Porto74121810813
5Rio AveRio Ave724155010
6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes731347-310
7Nacional724187110
8Santa ClaraSanta Clara731377010
9FamalicaoFamalicao72321114-39
10Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira622278-18
11MoreirenseMoreirense622256-18
12TondelaTondela7223612-68
13BelenensesBelenenses714235-27
14Maritimo7214811-37
15BoavistaBoavista71331015-56
16SC FarenseFarense7124912-35
17Gil Vicente712459-45
18PortimonensePortimonense7115511-64

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