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

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

Sporting Lisbon will look to strengthen their Primeira Liga title bid on Friday night when they welcome Santa Clara to the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

The side from the capital currently sit nine points clear at the top of the Primeira Liga table having drawn with Porto last time out, while Santa Clara returned to winning ways in their last game with an impressive 3-0 win over Pacos de Ferreira.


Match preview

Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Ruben Amorim's men secured an important point as they played out a goalless draw with Porto, one of the sides in pursuit of the top spot, last time out.

Os Leoes look well on track to lift the 19th Primeira Liga title in their history, and their first top-flight trophy since 2002.

Amorim's side are yet to lose a game in league action this season, having picked up 55 points from a possible 63 at this stage of the campaign.

That is largely down to their strong defensive record, with no side in the division conceding as few as the 10 goals they have shipped in 21 league matches.

However, Sporting's attack has also more than pulled its weight, racking up a tally of 42 goals which is only topped by Porto.

They look to continue their march towards the league title on Friday, when they welcome a Santa Clara side with renewed confidence following an eye-catching victory last time out.

Daniel Ramos, now in charge of Santa Clara, pictured as Boavista boss in June 2020© Reuters

Daniel Ramos's men looked to break a run of two consecutive losses when they hosted fifth-placed Pacos de Ferreira on Saturday.

Os Acoreanos had a perfect start to the game, when Allano gave them an early lead before goals from Crysan and Carlos sealed an impressive victory.

That saw Ramos's side leapfrog Moreirense and move back up to seventh in the Primeira Liga table.

They have continued their steady improvement following promotion to the top flight, after they previously finished 10th in their first season back in the Primeira Liga and ninth last campaign.

Ramos's men do boast a strong away record this season, with only four sides topping the 17 points they have recorded on the road, having won five of their 11 games on their travels this campaign.

However, that record could be under threat on Friday, as they travel to take on a formidable Sporting Lisbon side who have won 10 of their 12 league games at their home ground this season.

Sporting Lisbon Primeira Liga form: WWWWWD

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form: WDWLLW


Team News

Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021© Reuters

Sporting Lisbon will be without striker Paulinho, who recently picked up a hamstring injury after joining from Braga on deadline day.

In his absence, 18-year-old Tiago Tomas will feature in a more central role again, having impressed from the wing in his first season with the first team.

He will be supported by Pedro Goncalves, who remains at the top of the league's scoring charts with 14 goals this season, despite failing to find the net in his last four league appearances.

Their only other absentee should be forward Luiz Phellype, who remains out with a long-term ligament injury.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara remain without several important midfielders as Costinha and Julio Romao both continue their spells on the sidelines through injury.

Their attack will be full of confidence though, as Allano, Crysan and Carlos all got on the scoresheet when they formed the front three against Pacos de Ferreira.

Santa Clara used a system of three centre-backs when they took on Sporting Lisbon earlier in the season, but they are expected to stick with the four at the back system which kept a clean sheet last time out.

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

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Marco; Sagna, Cardoso, Villanueva, Mansur; Carvalho, Lincoln, Morita; Crysan, Carlos, Allano


SM words green background

We say: Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Santa Clara

We expect Sporting to get back to winning ways here after securing an important point last time out.

While Santa Clara will be positive following a good recent result, we do not see them taking points off this Sporting side, as Amorim's men look to seal their 18th league win of the campaign.



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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Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Sporting Lisbon26206048133566
2Porto26186255243160
3Benfica26176348173157
4Braga26173647272054
5Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira2613583330344
6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes26105113035-535
7Santa ClaraSanta Clara26105113329435
8MoreirenseMoreirense2681082632-634
9PortimonensePortimonense2685133031-129
10Gil Vicente2684142533-828
11TondelaTondela2684142542-1728
12Rio AveRio Ave26610102231-928
13FamalicaoFamalicao2669112738-1127
14BelenensesBelenenses2651291524-927
15BoavistaBoavista26510112940-1125
16Maritimo2673162238-1624
17SC FarenseFarense2657142435-1122
18Nacional2656152444-2021

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