MX23RW : Wednesday, March 3 17:07:08| >> :600:442073:442073:
Jan 23, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa
Sporting LisbonSporting Lisbon
Porro (41')
Cabral (24'), Mendes (76'), Porro (81'), Nunes (88'), Goncalves (90+5'), Neto (90+6')
Amorim (33'), Goncalves (90+7')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Sequeira (32'), Elmusrati (90+4')
Oliveira (33')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Taca da Liga clash between Sporting Lisbon and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Sporting Lisbon face Braga in the Portuguese League Cup final on Saturday evening, with both sides looking to claim the trophy for the third time in their history.

Carlos Carvalhal's side are the current holders after defeating Porto in the final of last season's competition, and they will be keen to upset the odds once again when they face the league leaders over the weekend.

Match preview

Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates© Reuters

Sporting Lisbon's young head coach Ruben Amorim joined the capital club from Braga less than a year ago and has impressed in his short time at the club.

The 35-year-old former midfielder spent the majority of his playing career at Benfica, Sporting's city rivals, but has become an instant hit with the Verde e Brancos' supporters after guiding them to the top of the Primeira Liga standings.

Summer signing Pedro Goncalves has been the main man at the Jose Alvalade Stadium throughout 2020-21. The attacking midfielder has bagged an impressive 12 goals in 17 games this season, including one against their upcoming opponents when they met earlier in the campaign.

Goncalves bagged the opener in a 2-0 victory for Amorim's men over Braga at the start of January, but Sporting have lost their first domestic clash of the campaign since and had to rely on two late Jovane Cabral strikes to get past Porto in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The Lions last won this trophy in 2019, and they will be desperate to get their hands on some silverware in what is shaping up to be a historic season for them.

Carlos Carvalhal, now in charge of Sporting Braga, pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City manager Carvalhal is now at the helm at the Municipal Stadium of Braga and has carried on the good work that Amorim started.

Portugal's fourth force are currently sitting in fourth place in the league standings and shocked the nation by beating Benfica in the semi-finals in midweek to book a place in this showpiece event.

Barcelona academy graduate Abel Ruiz scored his fifth goal of the season against the Eagles last time out to send Os Arcebispos on their way to the final, and the 20-year-old will have a pivotal part to play at the weekend.

Braga have struggled in the big games during 2020-21, losing to Leicester City in the Europa League as well as Porto and Sporting while on domestic duties. However, their second victory of the season over Benfica will have filled them with confidence and belief coming into this one.

If Carvalhal's men can retain their title, it would represent a substantial shock, but you can never rule this team out.

Sporting Lisbon Taca da Liga form: WW
Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions): LWWLDW

Braga Taca da Liga form: WW
Braga form (all competitions): WLWWLW

Team News

Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Sporting Lisbon will be without a number of first-team players after they suffered a coronavirus outbreak earlier in the month.

Defenders Nuno Mendes and Luis Neto are unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19, alongside winger Tabata and centre-forward Andraz Sporar.

Fellow striker Luiz Phellype is a long-term absentee after suffering a cruciate ligament rupture almost a year ago and is still not ready for a return to action.

Braga will be able to call upon the services of 28-year-old striker Paulinho after the Portugal international attacker made his comeback from injury as a second-half substitute in the semi-final.

Left-back Francisco Moura and experienced forward Rui Fonte will be unavailable for Carvalhal, though, as the pair continue to recover from cruciate ligament injuries.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Inacio, Coates, Feddal; Porro, Mario, Palhinha, Antunes; Goncalves, Santos; Tomas

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Carmo, Sequeira; Esgaio, Elmusrati, Castro, Galeno; Horta, Fransergio; Ruiz

SM words green background

We say: Sporting Lisbon 2-1 Braga

Finals are usually tight, close affairs, and this is likely to be no different. Both sides will be desperate to get their hands on the trophy and will know that the result could have serious repercussions for the rest of their respective campaigns.

It is a tough one to call, but we fancy Sporting to just edge it on the day. In Goncalves, they have the most in-form player in the country, and the youngster could prove to be the difference once again at the Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa.


Who will win the Taca da Liga final - Sporting Lisbon or Braga

Sporting Lisbon
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