MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 03:04:40| >> :600:1595143:1595143:
Apr 5, 2021 at 7pm UK at Estádio da Luz
BenficaBenfica
1-0
MaritimoMaritimo
Waldschmidt (21' pen.)
Weigl (23'), Silva (72'), Nunez (90+5')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Rene (38'), Winck (38'), Pelagio (79')

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

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

Benfica welcome Maritimo to the Estadio da Luz on Monday, in a game with major importance at both the top and bottom ends of the Primeira Liga table.

The hosts will be looking to keep themselves in the top three of the Portuguese top flight, while Maritimo have recently dropped into the automatic relegation zone, but they remain just one point adrift of automatic safety with everything still to play for.


Match preview

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

After a patch of inconsistency in league action, Benfica have managed to bounce back and put together a four-game winning run in the Primeira Liga, most recently defeating Braga away from home in a crucial game at the top end of the table.

Goals from Rafa Silva and Haris Seferovic sealed a fourth straight league win for Jorge Jesus's side, and saw them leapfrog Braga, moving back up to third spot.

As Aguias have netted an impressive tally of nine goals in those last four league games, while keeping four consecutive top-flight clean sheets, and five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.

The 37-time champions now sit six points behind second-placed Porto having played a game less than the defending champions, with Monday's game acting as their game in hand.

As a result, Jesus will be desperate to record a fifth straight league win when they welcome Maritimo, as they look to put more pressure on Os Dragoes and push to break into the top two to progress to Champions League qualification next season.

However, they welcome a Maritimo side who will also be battling hard for a victory, which could see them move out of the drop zone.

Benfica's Haris Seferovic celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021© Reuters

After Milton Mendes's recent departure from Maritimo, Julio Velazquez took charge, with the club sat at the foot of the Primeira Liga table at the time.

He got off to a strong start, as Os Verde-Rubros picked up a crucial 2-1 victory in a Madeira derby against fellow strugglers Nacional, thanks to a Rodrigo Pinho brace.

However, they suffered a particularly worrying defeat prior to the international break in Velazquez's second match, as braces from Ivo Rodrigues and Anderson fired Famalicao to a 4-0 win away at Maritimo.

That saw Velazquez's men immediately drop back into the bottom two, however they are by no means condemned to relegation yet, with just one point between themselves and Farense in 15th spot, a place which guarantees safety.

With only 10 games of the season left to play, the new manager will be desperate for his side to pick up points at every opportunity, although Monday could prove a very difficult task as they travel to take on a Benfica side in a strong run of form.

Benfica Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

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

Maritimo Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L



Team News

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

Benfica will be without midfielder Pizzi for this game, as he will serve a suspension for accumulating five league yellow cards.

Meanwhile, their only absentees through injury should be Andre Almeida and Andreas Samaris, who is having surgery on an Achilles tendon issue.

Jesus changed his system for the game against Braga, allowing space for Lucas Verissimo, Jan Vertonghen and Nicolas Otamendi in a back three.

However, he is expected to switch back to the usual system of two centre-backs for this game, allowing for more attacking players to exploit a vulnerable Maritimo outfit.

After a spell out with injury, Vertonghen had struggled to break back into the starting side due to the strong performances of Verissimo, who has been part of all five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.

Their attack also poses a major threat, with the likes Luca Waldschmidt, Rafa Silva, Darwin Nunez and Haris Seferovic all available for selection.

Maritimo will be without their talisman Rodrigo Pinho, who will serve a one-game suspension for accumulating five yellow cards, having netted nine goals from 16 games to keep Maritimo in the battle for survival this campaign.

That is especially concerning for Velazquez as Diederrick Joel Tagueu is the only other player to net more than two goals for Maritimo this season.

They are also badly impacted at the other end of the pitch, as centre-back Leo Andrade was also shown his fifth yellow card of the season in the defeat to Famalicao.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Leite; Goncalves, Verissimo, Otamendi, Grimaldo; Silva, Taarabt, Weigl, Nunez; Waldschmidt, Seferovic

Maritimo possible starting lineup:
Abedzadeh; Winck, Junior, Africo, Hermes; Guitane, Bambock, Jean, Milson; Tagueu, Alipour


SM words green background

We say: Benfica 3-0 Maritimo

Given their strong run of form, we do not see As Aguias slipping up in this game and are predicting a comfortable win for Jorge Jesus's men.

The loss of Pinho should get rid of Maritimo's already slim chances of breaking down Benfica's solid back line, while the collection of attacking talent available to Jesus should have more than enough to dominate Maritimo's defence.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data


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Benfica coach Jorge Jesus in the Europa League on February 18, 2021
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