MX23RW : Sunday, August 1 23:37:10| >> :120:21772:21772:
May 15, 2021 at 6pm UK at Estádio da Luz
Sporting LisbonSporting Lisbon
Seferovic (12', 49' pen.), Pizzi (29'), Verissimo (37')
Grimaldo (7'), Verissimo (38'), Otamendi (43'), Gabriel (57'), Tavares (87'), Nunez (90+2')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Goncalves (45+1', 77' pen.), Santos (62')
Reis (31'), Mendes (57'), Mario (65'), Goncalves (90+2')

Preview: Benfica vs. Sporting Lisbon - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Primeira Liga clash between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh off securing their first Primeira Liga title since 2002 last time out, Sporting Lisbon make the trip to third-placed Benfica on Saturday, as they aim to take another step closer to finishing the season without a league defeat.

With two games left of the campaign, their hosts require two victories to stand a chance of finishing in second spot in the Primeira Liga table, as O Classico rivals Porto sit four points ahead.

Match preview

Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021© Reuters

Benfica kept their hopes of finishing in the top two alive last time out, as they defeated basement side Nacional 3-1 away from home.

While that seems a comfortable victory on the surface, Jorge Jesus's men trailed for the majority of the game after Pedro Henrique's early opener for the hosts, and As Aguias did not find an equaliser until Henrique turned the ball into his own net in the 78th minute.

That effectively opened the floodgates after a resilient defensive performance from the hosts, as Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos would go on to net a brace in the final 10 minutes off the bench to seal all three points for his side.

That win followed a draw with second-placed Porto, in a crucial game in the battle for that spot, as Jesus's side led through Everton until Mateus Uribe netted the equaliser in the 75th minute to hold Benfica to a draw.

While that is not an overly disappointing result in regular circumstances, it did maintain the four-point gap between the sides, and As Aguias now have just two games to close that gap if they are to book their spot in next season's Champions League.

To potentially keep their hopes alive going into the final day, they will need to do what no other side in the Portuguese top flight has managed to do this season, and topple Sporting Lisbon.

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

Ruben Amorim's side hosted strugglers Boavista on Tuesday, knowing that a victory would seal the 19th Primeira Liga title in their history.

They made no mistake in doing that, as Paulinho netted the only goal of the game and Os Leoes kept their 20th league clean sheet of the season to see out the game and secure the trophy.

They have stayed at the summit of the table all season by maintaining an eye-catching unbeaten record, having not lost any of their 32 matches while picking up 82 points in the process.

That has largely been down to their solid defensive record, with no other side in the top flight coming close to conceding as few as the 15 goals that Amorim's men have shipped in league action.

The side from the capital will now look to complete the job and pick up results from their last two matches of the campaign to see them finish the league season without suffering a defeat, but Saturday presents a major challenge as they travel to take on the 37-time Primeira Liga champions.

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

Sporting Lisbon Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves in action on February 1, 2021© Reuters

Benfica will remain without Andre Almeida, Andreas Samaris and Joao Ferreira through injury, while key midfielders Adel Taarabt and Rafa Silva are doubts after spells on the sidelines.

Right-back Diogo Goncalves will return to the XI after a suspension last time out, while Pizzi, Alejandro Grimaldo and Everton should also come back into the starting side after they were rested for the recent Nacional game.

Goncalo Ramos will hope that his brace off the bench in that win is enough to earn him a starting spot, although Jesus could instead opt to stick with Luca Waldschmidt in the likely absence of Rafa Silva.

Meanwhile, the front three will be led by Haris Seferovic, who has netted 18 league goals this season alongside seven assists.

He comes up against his fellow joint-top goalscorer, as Pedro Goncalves has fired his side to the title with 18 goals and three assists in his first season in the capital.

Sporting Lisbon will be without centre-back Zouhair Feddal through suspension, while young forward Tiago Tomas remains out with an injury and right-back Pedro Porro remains a doubt.

In Feddal's absence, Matheus Reis should return to the back three, having been a reliable deputy throughout the campaign.

At the other end of the pitch, Paulinho will lead the line with confidence, having scored in the last two matches.

He will be supported by the dynamic Goncalves and Nuno Santos, while 18-year-old Nuno Mendes will also offer plenty of attacking threat from the left-hand side.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Leite; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Goncalves, Weigl, Pizzi, Grimaldo; Waldschmidt, Seferovic, Everton

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Inacio, Coates, Reis; Pereira, Palhinha, Mario, Mendes; Goncalves, Paulinho, Santos

SM words green background

We say: Benfica 1-1 Sporting Lisbon

Sporting Lisbon may slightly relax after clinching the title on Tuesday, while Benfica come into this game desperate for a win to potentially keep them in contention for a top-two finish.

However, while the visitors may somewhat take their foot off the gas, they do still have an unbeaten record to keep intact, and we still see them taking a share of the spoils at the Estadio da Luz.

Top tip

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Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021
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Tuesday's Primeira Liga predictions including Sporting Lisbon vs. Boavista
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