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Sporting Lisbon
Taca de Portugal | Semi-Finals | 1st Leg
Feb 29, 2024 at 8.45pm UK
Estadio Jose Alvalade

Sporting Lisbon
2 - 1

Goncalves (9'), Gyokeres (54')
Hjulmand (33'), Paulinho (41')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Aursnes (68')
Schmidt (0'), Otamendi (31'), di Maria (74'), Kokcu (75'), Silva (78')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Taca de Portugal clash between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Thursday's Taca de Portugal semi-final first-leg pits Sporting Lisbon against Benfica at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Both clubs go into this week's Derby de Lisboa on extended unbeaten runs, and the giants seek to outdo the other in the latest instalment of the grudge match.

Match preview

Sporting Lisbon's Eduardo Quaresma celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on February 11, 2024© Reuters

For all of Sporting's historical dominance along with other members of the 'Big Three', the Lions have not won the nation's top domestic cup competition since 2019, a mini drought they hope to end by outdoing their Lisbon rivals.

Ruben Amorim's troops take on Benfica in Tuesday's semi-final first leg, keen to extend their undefeated run that has seen them avoid defeat since their Taca de Liga defeat at the hands of Sporting Braga on January 23, the club's only defeat in 16 games in all competitions.

Amorim's men have picked up 13 victories in that time, with back-to-back draws against Young Boys (1-1) and Rio Ave (3-3) preventing the 2019 cup champions from entering Thursday's match on a seven-game winning run.

While the draw with the Swiss side in Europe was not disadvantageous, having won the first meeting 3-1 at the Alvalade, the six-goal thriller saw Sporting fall two points behind Benfica in the Primeira Liga.

They face the competition's record winners, seeking a positive result to take into the reverse fixture at Estadio Da Luz in April, and it remains to be seen if Amorim's men claim their first win over Benfica in five attempts.

Benfica's Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on February 15, 2024© Reuters

As for Roger Schmidt's men, their ambition to claim a record-extending 27th Taca de Portugal faces its next test in a doubleheader with their Lisbon rivals, their main antagonists for a 39th top-flight crown.

While Benfica have defeated Lusitania, Famalicao, Braga and Vizela — Porto have eliminated Olivais e Moscavaide, Dumiense, Tondela and Uniao de Leiria — to make it this far, they face their sternest challenge against Sporting in the Lisbon derby.

A positive outcome is far from assured for the Eagles, even if their eight-game unbeaten run and an undefeated streak against the Lions give away supporters confidence heading into Thursday's first leg.

Schmidt's men, like their opponents, have been awfully consistent this term, underscored by Benfica losing just one of their last 22 games in all competitions — a penalty shootout defeat against Estoril in the Taca de Liga.

With their imminent O Classico visit to Porto on March 3, Schmidt requires a top showing from his players over the next few days to retain their stranglehold in two competitions.

Sporting Lisbon Taca de Portugal form:

Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):

Benfica Taca de Portugal form:

Benfica form (all competitions):

Team News

Sporting Lisbon's Viktor Gyokeres celebrates scoring their first goal on August 12, 2023© Reuters

Viktor Gyokeres is Sporting's leading scorer in the competition with five, with Pedro Goncalves scoring three, and both could have a pivotal say in Thursday's first leg.

Paulinho has netted three times in the cup, but a tendon injury that rules him out until April keeps him out of this week's clash.

Benfica have two players — Rafa Silva and Arthur Cabral — on three goals apiece, with Joao Mario netting twice, and all three players could play a significant part in the semi-final first leg.

Juan Bernat is Schmidt's only injury doubt, with the defender's muscle issue keeping him out until March.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Israel; Diomande, Coates, Inacio; Catamo, Hjulmand, Morita, Santos; Edwards, Gyokeres, Goncalves

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Bah, A. Silva, Otamendi, Aursnes; Kokcu, Neves; Di Maria, Mario, Neres; R. Silva

SM words green background

We say: Sporting Lisbon 1-1 Benfica

The spoils could be shared in this latest instalment of the Lisbon derby, leaving it all to play for when the reverse fixture comes around in April.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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