Following a disappointing draw at the weekend, the hosts trail leaders Sporting Lisbon by two points, while their visitors sit eighth after suffering a defeat on Saturday.
Benfica return to the Estadio da Luz on Friday aiming to bounce back from a disappointing result last weekend in what has been a strong start to their defence of the Primeira Liga title in their bid to win the domestic top flight for the 39th time this term.
In their opening 12 games, As Aguias have managed 12 points thanks to nine victories while only playing out two draws and suffering one defeat, although two of those three slips have come in their last four games, as Roger Schmidt's men firstly lost ground in the title race in a 1-1 draw with Casa Pia at the end of October.
They would bounce back from that stalemate prior to the November international break, though, returning to winning ways against Chaves and narrowing the gap to leaders and city rivals Sporting Lisbon with a 2-1 derby victory in dramatic fashion, having trailed until the 94th minute only for Joao Neves to level the scores and Casper Tengstedt to net a winning goal in the seventh minute of injury time.
That meant Schmidt's men returned from the break at the summit of the table, albeit only leading their rivals on goal difference, but their stay in top spot was short-lived, having been unable to get past Moreirense on Sunday in their first league game back in action on the back of a 2-0 Taca de Portugal over Famalicao and a 3-3 Champions League group-stage draw with Inter Milan, in which they led 3-0 through a Joao Mario hat-trick.
Following that disappointing result, all but ending their hopes of advancing in Europe this term, Benfica's trip to sixth-placed Moreirense ended in a goalless stalemate last time out, leaving them two points behind Sporting Lisbon once again, and Schmidt's men will now be desperate to make a swift return to winning ways on Friday to move back to the top ahead of the rest of the weekend's Primeira Liga action.
They face another tricky test, though, with SC Farense vying to bounce back from a defeat at the weekend following a pleasing start to the campaign which sees them sit in the top half.
While they did begin with just seven points from the opening eight matches, suffering narrow defeats to title hopefuls Sporting Lisbon and Porto along the way, the newly-promoted Leoes de Faro would correct their form before the November international break, putting three straight victories together to quickly scale the division, as they began with a dramatic 4-3 triumph away at Rio Ave having trailed until the 89th minute.
Following a Taca da Liga defeat to Sporting Lisbon, Jose Mota's side made it back-to-back top-flight triumphs by beating Arouca 2-0 on home turf early last month, thanks to goals from Mattheus Oliveira and Bruno Duarte, before heading into the break in fine fettle on the back of a 3-1 triumph away at Boavista, as they were pegged back to 1-1 in the 86th minute, only to go back ahead through Fabricio Isidoro in injury time before Rafael Barbosa added a third in the sixth added minute.
Os Leoes de Faro would then return to action with a tough test at home to fifth-placed Vitoria de Guimaraes on Saturday, with just three points separating the sides, but Mota's men came away empty-handed having been on the wrong end of a late goal, as they went into the final five minutes level and down to 10 men following Duarte's goal and Isidoro's red card, only for Joao Silva to net a decisive goal to snatch all three points for the visitors.
Roger Schmidt may opt to make some rotations to freshen his Benfica side up on Friday after Sunday's disappointing result, although he will still be unable to call on defender Alexander Bah and winger David Neres as the pair remain confined to the treatment room.
Petar Musa could come in to lead the line from the outset in their 4-2-3-1 shape in Casper Tengstedt's place, while Joao Mario, Rafa Silva and Angel Di Maria may again line up in a supporting trio behind the lone front man, with the latter leading the squad with seven goals in all competitions this term including five alongside two assists in 10 Primeira Liga games.
Orkun Kocku is expected to return to the midfield from the outset, likely alongside Joao Neves, while Paris Saint-Germain loanee Juan Bernat is nearing a return to full fitness and could be named in the starting XI as early as Friday if he is deemed ready and preferred over Morato.
SC Farense will be unable to call on midfielder Fabricio Isidoro on Friday, as he serves a suspension after being shown a red card in their defeat to Vitoria de Guimaraes last time out, while Mattheus Oliveira, who he replaced in the first half, will likely miss out through injury.
Given those absences, Tiago Silva is expected to come in from the outset and join Claudio Falcao and Vitor Goncalves in the engine room in a 4-3-3 shape, while forward Ze Luis will also remain out of action due to an injury.
Bruno Duarte should again lead the line, having netted his fifth goal of the season in their eventual defeat at the weekend, although Rui Costa also has five goals to his name and will fight to feature in the front line after Marco Matias and Belloumi joined Duarte up front last time out.
Benfica possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Aursnes, Silva, Otamendi, Morato; Neves, Kocku; Di Maria, Silva, Mario; Musa
SC Farense possible starting lineup:
Velho; Pastor, G Silva, Muscat, Talocha; Goncalves, Falcao, T Silva; Belloumi, Duarte, Costa
We say: Benfica 2-0 SC Farense
While Benfica were frustrated by Moreirense at the weekend, we do not anticipate the Leoes de Faro managing the same feat at the Estadio da Luz on Friday.
Keen to regain ground in the fight for top spot, Schmidt's men have more than enough quality to make a swift return to winning ways on home turf.
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