MX23RW : Friday, August 6 03:23:18| >> :120:16025:16025:
Jan 4, 2021 at 5pm UK at Estadio de Sao Miguel
Santa ClaraSanta Clara
Cardoso (60')
Sagna (26'), Cardoso (78'), Rashid (90+5')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Nunez (33')
Ferro (29')

Preview: Santa Clara vs. Benfica - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Santa Clara will be eyeing a return to winning ways on Sunday when they welcome title contenders Benfica to Ponta Delgada.

However, with their opponents coming off the back of four consecutive league wins, the Azoreans will face an uphill struggle at the Estadio de Sao Miguel.

Match preview

Daniel Ramos, now in charge of Santa Clara, pictured as Boavista boss in June 2020© Reuters

A bit of a mismatch on paper, Santa Clara boss Daniel Ramos will undoubtedly be looking to inflict a major upset on league heavyweights Benfica.

In order to achieve that though, Ramos will have to depend on a faltering attack that has not found the back of the net since the team's last league win in early December.

To make matters worse for the Azoreans, the team will also be without their talismanic striker Thiago Santana, after the 27-year-old completed a move to Shimizu S-Pulse.

Thiago Santana scored eight goals in 10 games for the Ponta Delgada outfit this season and his attacking prowess will be sorely missed by many at the club.

However, the loss of Santana will not be the only thing giving Ramos sleepless nights. His side have some of the worst home form in the league this season, having collected just four points from a possible 15 at the Estadio de Sao Miguel.

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Benfica, on the other hand, have picked up almost as many points on their travels as they have at home this season and manager Jorge Jesus will certainly be looking to etch out his side's 10th league win.

The Eagles managed to put their Portuguese Super Cup woes to bed with a 2-1 win in the league against Portimonense last time out, keeping them within touching distance of league-leaders Sporting Lisbon.

Summer signing Darwin Nunez continued to dazzle with a goal in the early stages of the contest, while Rafa Silva also bagged his third goal of the season. 

A last-minute own-goal from Gilberto Moraes Junior dashed Benfica's hopes of picking up their fifth clean sheet of the season.

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form: WLLWLL

Benfica Primeira Liga form: LLWWWW
Benfica form (all competitions): DWWWLW

Team News

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

Despite losing their midweek clash against Moreirense, Ramos will be pleased that his side managed not to pick up any major knocks or injuries.

Following the sale of Thiago Santana, Ramos will likely call upon Shariar Moghanlou to lead the line again for the Azoreans. 

Jorge Jesus will be without veteran centre-back Nicolas Otamendi, with the player serving a one-game suspension. Twenty-three-year-old Ferro is likely to deputise in Otamendi's absence.

Haris Seferovic, Joao Ferreira, Goncalo Ramos, Jardel and Pizzi are all believed to be unavailable due to COVID-19.

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Marco; Villanueva, Fabio Cardoso, Afonso; Sagna, Carvalho, Rashid, Costinha, Ukra; Carlos, Moghanlou

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Ferro, Vertonghen, Alex Grimaldo; Silva, Weigl, Taarabt, Everton; Nunez, Waldschmidt

SM words green background

We say: Santa Clara 0-3 Benfica

With Thiago Santana no longer pulling the strings at Santa Clara, it is difficult to see how Ramos's men will prevent Benfica from picking up their fifth league win on the bounce, and we think the Eagles will do it in style.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 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 1.5:data

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States29352791
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee16222058
Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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