MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 09:09:56| >> :120:82818:82818:
Feb 21, 2021 at 8.15pm UK at Estádio de São Luís
FarenseSC Farense
0-0
BenficaBenfica

Pedro (86'), Lucca (90+6')
FT

Gabriel (31'), Otamendi (89')

Preview: SC Farense vs. Benfica - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Primeira Liga clash between SC Farense and Benfica, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Benfica will be looking to put an end to a run of inconsistency which has seen them drop to fourth in the Primeira Liga table when they travel to SC Farense on Sunday.

As Aguias have won just one of their last six league matches, while the hosts come into this game with some renewed confidence, having dragged themselves off the foot of the table with four points from their last two games.


Match preview

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

Farense have reason to be optimistic based on the last few matches, having picked up a commendable five points from their last four games, and four points from the last two matches.

Most recently, Os Leoes de Faro secured an impressive 2-2 draw away at sixth-placed Vitoria de Guimaraes thanks to a late equaliser.

Ryan Gauld scored a penalty in the first half to draw the game level after an early Pepelu goal, but the hosts took the lead once again through Marcus Edwards, before Farense's task was made even tougher when full-back Alex Pinto was shown a red card on the hour mark.

However, they managed to equalise through substitute Nikola Stojiljkovic with 10 minutes to go, sealing a crucial point in their bid to survive immediate relegation back to the second tier after they were promoted last season.

Before that draw, Jorge Costa's side secured a dramatic 3-2 victory away at Nacional.

Farense led 2-0 through Andre Pinto and Gauld, but the visitors pulled the game back to 2-2 in the second half with goals from Joao Vigario and Pedro Mendes before goalscorer Mendes made the final impact, turning the ball into his own goal in the final five minutes to hand all three points to Costa's men.

Since his appointment as manager at the beginning of February, the former Porto defender has lifted the Algarve side off the foot of the table, with one win, two draws and a narrow loss from his four games in charge.

He will be hoping to continue that upturn in form in this game, when they welcome a strong but inconsistent Benfica side to the Estadio de Sao Luis.

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

Although their league form has been disappointing recently, Jorge Jesus's side come into this game following a decent result in the Europa League on Thursday, when they drew 1-1 with Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-32 tie.

Pizzi put As Aguias ahead from the penalty spot soon after half time, but Bukayo Saka equalised instantly for the Gunners, seeing the sides go into the second leg level.

Jesus's side drew 1-1 at home to Moreirense most recently in league action, when a Haris Seferovic goal was cancelled out by a Yan penalty before half time.

That meant As Aguias have won just one of their last six matches in Primeira Liga action, seeing them move down to fourth place in the top flight after previously battling with Porto for second place.

Jesus will be desperate to return to winning ways in this game, as the side from Lisbon look to break back into the top three of the Primeira Liga and put pressure on the sides above them.

SC Farense Primeira Liga form: LLDLWD

Benfica Primeira Liga form: DDLDWD
Benfica form (all competitions): LDWWDD


Team News

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

Farense will be without right-back Alex Pinto, who faces a one-match suspension for the red card shown in the draw with Vitoria.

Fellow right-back Tomas Tavares will also be unavailable for this match as he is ineligible to play against his parent club, having joined Farense on loan from Benfica in January.

However, left-back Fabio Nunes will return to the squad after he served a suspension in the draw with Vitoria, meaning Abner could be shifted out to the right side of Os Leoes de Faro's defence for this match.

Ryan Gauld will be the key man for the hosts, with the Scotsman registering seven goals and four assists in 19 Primeira Liga games this campaign.

He could be joined by Stojiljkovic, who strengthened his case for a starting spot by scoring off the bench to earn Farense a point on Wednesday.

Benfica have been boosted by the return of Luca Waldschmidt, who started the Europa League tie against Arsenal, however the German may be given a rest in this game and eased back into league action, having just returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Darwin Nunez and Haris Seferovic are expected to lead the attack for As Aguias, with the pair having a combined 12 goals and 10 assists in the Primeira Liga this season.

They are not without injury worries though, with young striker Goncalo Ramos out with a muscle injury, joining experienced defenders Jardel and Andre Almeida, who both remain out of contention.

Helton Leite has been preferred to Odysseas Vlachodimos in the Benfica net in recent weeks, with the Brazilian starting the last three matches in all competitions.

Whichever goalkeeper is selected will be shielded by the centre-back pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen, who form one of the league's strongest defences.

SC Farense possible starting lineup:
Defendi; Abner, Pinto, Mancha, Nunes; Oudrhiri, Lucca; Lica, Gauld, Queta; Stojiljkovic

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Leite; Gilberto, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Silva, Weigl, Taarabt, Everton; Nunez, Seferovic


SM words green background

We say: SC Farense 1-2 Benfica

With As Aguias struggling to find consistency in the league, as well as an upturn in form for the hosts, we see this being a very close game, but expect Benfica to just edge it thanks to their superior attacking talent.

The combination of Nunez and Seferovic, possibly supported by the returning Waldschmidt, could cause Farense major issues, and we expect the 39-time champions to pick up all three points at the Estadio de Sao Luis.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win 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.Away Win:data


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Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· 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)

SWIMMING
· 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)

ATHLETICS
· 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)

RUGBY SEVENS
· 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)

SAILING
· 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)

TENNIS
· 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

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