MX23RW : Friday, June 18 13:12:25| >> :600:2650128:2650128:
May 11, 2021 at 6pm UK at Estadio da Madeira
Pedrao (8')
Vigario (60')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Pedrao (78' og.), Ramos (81', 86')
Chiquinho (34'), Gilberto (55'), Grimaldo (80')

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

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

Benfica travel to Madeira to take on Nacional on Tuesday, in a crucial game at both ends of the Primeira Liga table.

With three games of the domestic season left to play, the hosts find themselves six points adrift of automatic safety, while Benfica will look to pile pressure on second-placed Porto, as they aim to snatch the spot and achieve Champions League qualification for the next campaign.

Match preview

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

Nacional come into this game on the back of a seemingly impressive 2-2 draw away against ninth-placed Moreirense, although a closer look suggests otherwise.

Os Alvinegros took the lead on two separate occasions through a Filipe Soares own goal and a Bryan Rochez strike, but a Nahuel Ferraresi goal and a late Andre Luis equaliser forced Nacional to settle for a point.

That followed a 2-0 defeat to league leaders Sporting Lisbon and a 1-0 victory over sixth-placed Vitoria de Guimaraes, breaking a run of 10 consecutive defeats in the Primeira Liga.

That poor run saw the Madeira outfit drop from a comfortable mid-table position to the foot of the table, now sitting five points behind Boavista in the relegation playoff place and six points adrift of automatic safety.

With nine points left to play for, Manuel Machado's side will know that draws are not sufficient if they are to overcome the odds and avoid the drop, and they will be desperate to pick up just a second win since February to keep their chances alive.

They face a very tough test on Tuesday though, as third-placed Benfica make the trip with second spot in their sights.

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

Jorge Jesus's side clashed with Porto in the famous O Classico last time out, and they came away with a point.

As Aguias led for the majority of the game thanks to Everton's early goal, but a Mateus Uribe equaliser in the 75th minute meant that the Portuguese giants each took home a point.

While it is by no means a devastating result, that outcome did hugely favour Porto, as Benfica now have to overcome a four-point gap in three matches if they are to seal second spot.

They will be encouraged by their run of form though, having won 10 of their last 12 matches in all competitions, including five consecutive victories away from home, only dropping points in that recent draw and in a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Gil Vicente.

Jesus's men will now focus on winning their last three games to give themselves the best possible chance of creeping into the top two at the end of the season.

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

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

Team News

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

Nacional come into this came without centre-back Pedrao, who will serve a suspension after he picked up his 10th yellow card of the season in the recent draw with Moreirense.

However, they will be boosted by the return of midfielder Abdullahi Ibrahim Alhassan, who served a suspension last time out for a red card shown in the defeat to Sporting Lisbon.

Bryan Rochez will be hopeful of a return to the starting side, having come off the bench to net his sixth goal of the season in that recent draw.

Benfica will remain without Jardel, Andre Almeida and Andreas Samaris through injury, while key right-back Diogo Goncalves will serve a suspension after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in their draw with Porto.

In Goncalves's absence, Gilberto should come into the XI on the right-hand side, in front of the familiar back three of Lucas Verissimo, Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen.

At the other end of the pitch, the line will be led by Haris Seferovic, who has recorded 18 goals and seven assists in 28 league appearances this season.

He will be supported by Everton, who comes into this game in a strong run of form having hit three goals in the last four games.

Nacional possible starting lineup:
Filipe; Correia, Cesar, Kal; Freitas, Alhassan, Azouni, Vigario; Rochez; Mendez, Riascos

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

SM words green background

We say: Nacional 0-2 Benfica

Although Nacional will come into this game with plenty of desire for a result to keep their survival hopes alive, we do not think they have enough to get past the 37-time Primeira Liga champions on Tuesday.

We see Benfica extending their strong run of form on the road, as they must ensure they win their last three games to keep their chances of a top-two finish alive.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 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 2.5:curl

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Benfica coach Jorge Jesus in the Europa League on February 18, 2021
Read Next:
Thursday's Primeira Liga predictions including Benfica vs. Porto
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