MX23RW : Sunday, May 22 00:24:56| >> :120:42711:42711:
[monks data]
Aug 8, 2021 at 6pm UK at Estádio Do Dragão
Porto
2 - 0
Belenenses
Martinez (19'), Diaz (65')
Oliveira (26'), Diaz (53')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Boni (36'), Calila (47'), Teixeira (83')

Preview: Porto vs. Belenenses - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Primeira Liga clash between Porto and Belenenses, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Porto will begin their Primeira Liga title bid on Sunday, when they play host to Belenenses in the opening round of fixtures in the Portuguese top flight.

Sergio Conceicao's side fell short of the title last year, eventually finishing five points behind Sporting Lisbon, and they will be keen to regain the trophy this time around.


Match preview

Porto coach Sergio Conceicao pictured on April 7, 2021© Reuters

Despite enjoying a strong league campaign last season, Porto were unable to overcome Sporting Lisbon, who occupied the top spot from the beginning of November until the end of the season without suffering a defeat until the penultimate match.

Nonetheless, Os Dragoes' tally of 80 points was more than commendable, and just two fewer than they managed in the previous campaign, when they won the league title for the 29th time.

Last season was also partially defined by an impressive Champions League campaign, as Conceicao's men collected 13 points in a group with Manchester City, Marseille and Olympiacos, before knocking Italian giants Juventus out of the competition in the round of 16, following a 4-4 draw over two legs with Porto progressing thanks to away goals after extra time.

They were then defeated 2-1 on aggregate by eventual winners Chelsea in the final eight, but the 29-time Primeira Liga champions have plenty of positives to take from the season on the whole, with a commendable title bid and a strong showing on the continent.

The Estadio Do Dragao outfit now head into the new season with the hopes of regaining the title that they were unable to retain last year, and an unbeaten pre-season campaign, including a 5-3 victory over Ligue 1 outfit Lyon, will give them plenty of confidence.

Following Sporting Lisbon's opening victory on Friday, Os Dragoes will know that they cannot afford to fall behind their title contenders this early, and will be desperate to start with a win of their own as a result.

Belenenses head coach Petit pictured in July 2020© Reuters

They certainly face a tough test to start the season, welcoming a Belenenses side who enjoyed a strong campaign last year.

After narrowly avoiding relegation in the 2019-20 season, O Belem were expected to be involved in a heated battle at the bottom of the division, but they were rarely threatened by the drop in reality, instead finding themselves in a fight for a top-half finish.

While they would eventually fall just short after a disappointing end to the season, their 10th-placed finish was still more than acceptable for Petit's men, who excelled defensively with no side outside of the league's top four conceding fewer than the 35 goals that they shipped in 34 league outings.

Petit will now take his side into the new season with the hope of continuing their improvement, as they look to build on the defensive foundations with an increased attacking output in their push to finish inside the top half this year.

They will hope to bounce back from a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of second-tier Mafra in the Taca da Liga in July, as O Belem were dumped out of the competition in their first competitive game of the season.

Porto form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Belenenses form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L



Team News

Porto's Antonio Martinez celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates in January 2021© Reuters

Porto made several additions in the summer transfer window, bringing in exciting winger Pepe from Gremio, centre-back Fabio Cardoso from Santa Clara and midfielder Bruno Costa from Portimonense, while making the transfer of midfielder Marko Grujic permanent after a spell on loan from Liverpool.

Grujic will not feature though, having recently sustained an injury, while winger Jesus Corona is also a doubt.

Midfielder Mateus Uribe will also miss out on Sunday, as he was flown home early from this summer's Copa America after picking up a serious injury.

Cardoso could be a particularly important capture, as he will battle to partner experienced centre-back Pepe after Malang Sarr's loan spell in Porto came to an end.

Forward Moussa Marega also departed over the summer, although Conceicao moulded Antonio Martinez into a starter towards the end of last season in preparation for the upcoming campaign without Marega.

Belenenses thrived on their solid defensive shape last season, and Petit should stick with his system of five at the back for Sunday's season opener.

New arrival Pedro Nuno will likely feature on the wing after joining from Moreirense, while Trova Boni has also arrived to boost the defensive ranks.

Mateo Cassierra should continue to operate as their lone striker after enjoying an impressive campaign last season, hitting 10 goals in 32 league appearances.

Porto possible starting lineup:
Marchesin; Mario, Pepe, Mbemba, Manafa; Pepe, Costa, Oliveira, Otavio; Martinez, Taremi

Belenenses possible starting lineup:
Felipe; Calila, Ribeiro, Cafu, Akas, Varela; Sousa, Taira, Sithole, Nuno; Cassierra


SM words green background

We say: Porto 1-0 Belenenses

Belenenses showed themselves to be one of the league's strongest defensive sides last season, and this will certainly not be a straightforward task for Porto.

However, we see them possessing enough attacking talent to just about get over the line, as they will likely dominate possession and should be able to wear down the resilient back line of the visitors.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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How you voted: Porto vs Belenenses

Porto
84.4%
Draw
12.5%
Belenenses
3.1%
32
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Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CPorto34294186226491
2Sporting Lisbon34274373235085
3Benfica34235678304874
4Braga34198752312165
5Gil Vicente34131294742551
6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes34139125041948
7Santa ClaraSanta Clara34913123854-1640
8FamalicaoFamalicao34912134551-639
9Estoril PraiaEstoril34912133643-739
10Maritimo34911143944-538
11BoavistaBoavista34717103952-1338
12PortimonensePortimonense34108163145-1438
13Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira34911142944-1538
14Vizela34712153758-2133
15AroucaArouca34710173054-2431
16MoreirenseMoreirense3478193351-1829
17TondelaTondela3477204167-2628
18BelenensesBelenenses34511182355-3226

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