MX23RW : Friday, July 30 16:53:48| >> :120:24250:24250:
Apr 30, 2021 at 7pm UK at Estádio João Cardoso
TondelaTondela
0-2
BenficaBenfica
FT(HT: 0-2)
Pizzi (12'), Everton (19')
Chiquinho (69')

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

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

Champions League hopefuls Benfica travel to the Estadio Joao Cardoso on Friday evening where they will face Tondela in the Primeira Liga.

The hosts head into this game having won eight of their 10 top-flight matches on home soil this season, while the Eagles have taken an impressive 24 points from the last 27 available.


Match preview

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

After suffering a surprise 2-1 defeat at home Gil Vicente earlier this month – which brought a 10-game unbeaten run to an end – Benfica have since responded with a thumping 5-1 victory at Portimonense last Thursday and a 2-1 win at home to Santa Clara on Monday.

An own goal from Santa Clara winger Carlos gave the Eagles the lead but the visitors managed to score an equaliser midway through the second half, when Anderson Carvalho smashed the ball past Helton Leite inside the penalty area.

Jorge Jesus's side struggled to threaten the opposition's goal throughout the match, however Chiquinho's 73rd-minute strike, which was their only shot on target, was enough to seal all three points for the Eagles.

Benfica's hopes of winning the Primeira Liga title are almost mathematically over but that result on Monday has moved them to within four points of rivals Porto, who currently occupy the final automatic Champions League qualification spot.

The Eagles are still to face both Porto and league leaders Sporting Lisbon in the coming weeks, so securing all three points on Friday could be crucial if they are to ensure a top-two finish this season.

Pako Ayestaran, now in charge of Tondela, pictured in 2016© Reuters

Tondela extended their unbeaten away run in the top-flight to four matches after drawing 2-2 at Famalicao on Monday evening.

The hosts scored twice before the half-hour mark thanks to strikes from Ivo Rodrigues and Leonardo Campana, however they were unable to hold onto their two-goal cushion, as both Mario Gonzalez and Jhon Murillo scored in first-half stoppage time.

An entertaining first 45 eventually fizzled out in the second half to see both sides claim a point each, leaving Pako Ayestaran's side in ninth place and seven points above the bottom three.

Tondela have accumulated 11 points from their last six matches, enabling them to look towards the top end of the table, and they could finish the campaign as high as sixth, to eclipse their best ever finish of 11th place in 2017-18.

The Gold and Greens have only ever beaten Benfica once before in the top-flight, winning 3-2 away from home in April 2018, but a surprise win on Friday would all but ensure their top-flight status for another year and could move them up to seventh in the table.

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

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


Team News

Tondela players challenge for the all against Benfica in June 2020© Reuters

Tondela boss Ayestaran could name the same starting lineup that drew away at Famalicao on Monday.

Murillo and Salvador Agra are likely to start on the flanks and provide support for lone striker Gonzalez, while a central midfield trio of Joao Pedro, Jaume Grau and Roberto Olabe is set to continue once again.

Benfica midfielder Gabriel Pires is back from suspension and is in contention to start on Friday, which could see Julian Weigl drop to the bench.

Darwin Nunez and Luca Waldschmidt, who began on the bench against Santa Clara, could also return to the first XI at the expense of Everton and Haris Seferovic.

Andreas Samaris (Achilles), Adel Taarabt (muscle) and Andre Almeida (knee) all remain unavailable through injury.

Tondela possible starting lineup:
Trigueira; Almeida, Tavares, Martinez, Ferreira; Pedro, Grau, Olabe; Murillo, Gonzalez, Agra

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Leite; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Goncalves, Pizzi, Pires, Grimaldo; Nunez, Seferovic, Rafa


SM words green background

We say: Tondela 1-3 Benfica

Benfica have won all five of their previous meetings away at Tondela in the top-flight by an aggregate score of 15-2. The Eagles will be strong favourites for Friday's clash, and we expect them to claim all three points once again at the Estadio Joao Cardoso.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Tondela vs Benfica

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Benfica
80.0%
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Porto coach Sergio Conceicao pictured on April 7, 2021
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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)
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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
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