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Aug 9, 2015 at 8.45pm UK at Estadio Algarve
Sporting Lisbon
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Preview: Benfica vs. Sporting Lisbon

Sports Mole takes a closer look at both sides ahead of Sunday's Portuguese Super Cup clash between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.

The Primeira Liga champions will taken on the Taca de Portugal winners when Benfica meet Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Super Cup at the Estadio Municipal de Aveiro on Sunday.

After winning the league title ahead of Porto, Jesus ended his reign as Benfica boss to make the switch to Sporting and all eyes will be on the veteran coach this weekend.


Benfica's Brazilian midfielder Anderson Talisca celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League group C football match SL Benfica vs AS Monaco at Luz stadium in Lisbon on November 4, 2014© Getty Images

In what turned out to be one of the most exciting finishes to a Portuguese season in recent memory, Benfica held their nerve over the closing stages of the campaign to finish three points clear of Porto and nine points ahead of Sporting.

It would prove to be the final celebration for Jesus, who left the club shortly after due to a breakdown in contract negotiations, but a change in coach would prove to be just the beginning of a busy summer for the Portuguese champions, with key figures Maxi Pereira and Ivan Cavaleiro among the players to leave, for Porto and Monaco respectively.

Rui Vitoria has been unable to dip into the transfer market in the same way his predecessors had done, but with time still remaining in the window, the new Benfica boss will be hopeful of boosting his squad after watching their rivals strengthen over the last couple of months.

Earning his reputation as an impressive young coach who led Vitoria de Guimaraes to fifth spot last season, Vitoria will be fully aware that he is under the spotlight more than ever as he looks to handle the pressure of defending the title and producing an acceptable Champions League campaign.

Despite a lack of investment, there was good news for Vitoria and the Benfica fans this week as they completed a deal to take Greek strike Kostas Mitroglou on loan from Fulham, but it remains to be seen whether he can regain his best form in Portugal.

There is no doubt that Vitoria will be judged on success in the league and the performances in Europe, but the fans will be wary of anything less than a win this weekend as Benfica look to prove that they are still the team to beat, especially after a pre-season which saw them win just one game in a penalty shootout.

Pre-season form: LLLWL


Benfica's coach Jorge Jesus gestures during the UEFA Champions League group C football match SL Benfica vs Olympiacos FC at Luz Stadium in Lisbon on October 23, 2013© Getty Images

After falling behind the top two in the title race last season, it would be fair to say that Sporting's fans wanted immediate change, and the club's hierarchy were quick to steal the headlines when they announced the appointment of Jesus just days after he had officially left Benfica.

An 11-game unbeaten run at the end of the season may have been enough to save Marco Silva in a different situation, who watched his side produce some impressive displays at home and in Europe, but with the pressure on the club to steer themselves back to contention, it is difficult to argue with the decision to appoint Jesus.

Never one to avoid the limelight, Jesus will be the centre of attention at the weekend as he looks to inflict defeat on the club where he won eight major honours, but delivering Sporting their first title since 2002 will be his biggest test as a manager.

Despite no points being on offer on Sunday, the Sporting boss and the club's fans will be keen to put down a marker for the rest of the season as they bid to win the first trophy on offer and prove to both Benfica and Porto that they have the squad capable of a strong challenge.

A meeting with a rival, no matter what the occasion, will catch the attention, but Jesus is sure to have on eye on the two-legged meeting with CSKA Moscow, too, as he looks to take Sporting into the group stages of the Champions League once again.

Sporting's transfer business has been quietly impressive this summer, with Joao Pereira making his return to Portugal and the immensely talented, but inconsistent, Bryan Ruiz joining from Fulham before the signing of Alberto Aquilani was confirmed on Friday.

Bigger challenges await the cup winners, but Jesus can boost the confidence in the dressing room and in the stands by leading Sporting to a win over his former employers.

Pre-season form: DWW

Team News

Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Costa Rica and Greece at Arena Pernambuco on June 29, 2014 © Getty Images

Ruiz has already managed to impress in a Sporting shirt after helping them to a 2-0 victory over Roma in their final pre-season friendly, and the Costa Rican is likely to start on the right of a 4-4-2 formation.

Islam Slimani should partner Teofilo Gutierrez in attack, while Naldo is expected to start alongside Paulo Oliveira at the back.

Mitroglou is unlikely to be used by Vitoria after only signing his loan deal on Friday, but Nicolas Gaitan is set to start for Benfica, despite the speculation that continues to surround the attacking midfielder's future.

The biggest question mark about the side could be in midfield, with Joao Teixeira likely to earn a start ahead of Pizzi, who has been a regular in pre-season.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Cesar, Silvio, Luisao, Jardel, Eliseu, Teixeira, Samaris, Gaitan, Talisca, Lima, Jonas

Sporting possible starting lineup:
Patricio, Pereira, Naldo, Oliveira, Jefferson, Adrien, Mario, Ruiz, Carrillo, Slimani, Gutierrez

Head To Head

Sporting managed to hold the champions to a 1-1 draw in both of their meetings last season, but there is no doubt that Benfica have dominated the rivalry in recent years thanks to a seven-game unbeaten run in competitive games.

One win in the last 16 meetings between the two sides makes for difficult reading for all Sporting supporters, while Benfica fans will be happy to learn that their side have scored in all but one of the last 14 clashes.

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We say: Benfica 1-2 Sporting

Despite the changes which have taken place at Benfica since their title win they remain a very strong side, but their form in pre-season should not be ignored and it appears that they might not yet be ready for the start of the season. Sporting are likely to be positive against the champions and Jesus could be rewarded against his former side.

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Leverkusen's midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu and Leverkusen's forward Stefan Kiessling celebrate during the first leg UEFA Champions League Group C football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs SL Benfica in Leverkusen, western Germany on October 1, 2014
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Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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