MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 15:33:13| >> :120:70041:70041:
Dec 27, 2020 at 8pm UK at Estádio do Restelo
BelenensesBelenenses
1-2
Sporting LisbonSporting Lisbon
Cardoso (14')
Esgaio (23'), Cardoso (45+1'), Ribeiro (75')
Ribeiro (77')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Tomas (5'), Mario (24' pen.)
Adan (16'), Inacio (63'), Neto (82')

Preview: Belenenses vs. Sporting Lisbon - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Leaders Sporting Lisbon travel to Belenenses on Sunday evening looking to move five points clear at the top of the Primeira Liga standings.

However, they square off against opposition in Belenenses who join them in possessing the best defensive record in the division.


Match preview

Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim pictured in October 2020© Reuters

After their shock defeat to LASK Linz in the Europa League qualifying rounds, few would have expected Sporting to put together a 12-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

The league leaders were far from their best during their last-gasp win over Farense, but the result has kept the pressure on the chasing pack heading into 2021.

With Porto and Benfica having contested the Super Cup earlier this week, Ruben Amorim's team have the opportunity to move five points clear ahead of the two biggest clubs in Portugal.

The pressure remains off Sporting to a certain degree with few people expecting anything better than third place, but a ninth league win in 11 will only increase expectations at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Pedro Goncalves, formerly of Wolverhampton Wanderers, has been a revelation since arriving from Famalicao, but the playmaker's six-match scoring streak came to an end in Sporting's last fixture.

Goncalves has scored twice as many strikes as the entire Belenenses squad, a remarkable statistic which only suggests that the home side could struggle on Sunday evening.

Nevertheless, Nuno Oliveira's team have matched Sporting for only conceding seven times in 10 matches, two of which came in the same game at Benfica.

Oliveira will naturally want to see more productivity in the final third, but the Belenenses boss is unlikely to tinker with his tactics for a game of this magnitude.

Os Azuis do Restelo are also coming off the back of a defeat to Maritimo, a setback which has left the club within reach of every team below them in the table.

Belenenses Primeira Liga form: LDDDWL
Belenenses form (all competitions): DWDWLW

Sporting Lisbon Primeira Liga form: WWWWDW
Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions): WWDWWW


Team News

Belenenses head coach Petit pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Belenenses will be without Stanislav Kritsyuk and Thibang Phete after their dismissals against Maritimo.

Guilherme Oliveira and Danny Henriques are expected to be brought into the starting lineup.

Andraz Sporar is pushing for a recall to the Sporting XI after netting in his last two appearances in all competitions.

Bruno Tabata may get the nod over Nuno Santos, who has failed to contribute a goal or assist in his last three outings.

Belenenses possible starting lineup:
Oliveira; Henriques, Henrique, Ribeiro; Esgaio, Sithole, Ramires, Lima; Varela, Cardoso, Sousa

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Neto, Coates, Feddal; Porro, Palhinha, Mario, Mendes; Goncalves, Tabata; Sporar


SM words green background

We say: Belenenses 1-2 Sporting Lisbon

Despite the home side losing their way in recent weeks, we still expect them to provide Sporting with one of their toughest tests of the season. However, the leaders are motivated to remain undefeated heading into 2021, and the visitors could edge a tight game on Sunday evening.


Top betting 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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Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim pictured in October 2020
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