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Preview: Benfica vs. Pacos de Ferreira - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Benfica vs. Pacos de Ferreira - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's Taca de Portugal clash between Benfica and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Benfica will be looking to advance to the fifth round of the Taca de Portugal when they welcome fellow top-flight outfit Pacos de Ferreira to Lisbon on Friday night.

The home side overcame Trofense in the last round of the competition, while Pacos de Ferreira progressed courtesy of a comfortable away victory over Aguias do Moradal.

Match preview

Benfica are the most successful team in the history of the Taca de Portugal, having won the competition on 26 occasions, although they have only lifted the trophy on one occasion since 2014.

It would be fair to say that the tournament is third in the club's list of priorities this season behind the Champions League and league, but the Eagles will still be desperate to advance deep into the competition.

Jorge Jesus's side, as mentioned, beat Trofense in the last round, running out 2-1 winners after extra-time, but they are likely to face a much tougher examination by a fellow top-flight club on Friday.

Benfica entered the international break off the back of a thumping 6-1 victory at home to Sporting Braga in the league, which left them third in the table, one point behind leaders Porto.

The Portuguese giants are third in their Champions League group, meanwhile, picking up four points from their four matches thus far, which has left them two points behind second-placed Barcelona with two games left.

Pacos de Ferreira, meanwhile, have never won this competition, with their best performance coming during the 2008-09 campaign, when they made the final before losing to Porto.

Pacenses, who finished fifth in the Primeira Liga last season, were impressive in the last round of the Taca de Portugal, recording a 3-0 victory over Aguias do Moradal to advance.

Jorge Simao's side suffered a 2-0 loss to Sporting Lisbon before the international break, though, which made it seven league games without a victory for the club.

A record of two wins, five draws and four defeats has seen Pacos de Ferreira collect 11 points from their 11 league games this season, which has left them in 11th spot in the table.

The visitors will be the underdogs entering Friday's affair, but Benfica are likely to have more than one eye on their huge Champions League clash away to Barcelona next week.

Benfica Taca de Portugal form:
  • W

Benfica form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Pacos de Ferreira Taca de Portugal form:
  • W

Pacos de Ferreira form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L

Team News

Benfica are again expected to be without the services of Lucas Verissimo, Joao Mario, Rodrigo Pinho, Andre Almeida, Gil Dias and Valentino Lazaro for this match through injury.

Head coach Jesus will make a number of changes from the side that started against Braga before the international break, with Darwin Nunez among those expected to drop out.

Pizzi, Goncalo Ramos, Morato and Soualiho Meite are all likely to come into the starting side, with the XI likely to be similar to the one that featured in the last round of the competition.

Pacos de Ferreira, meanwhile, have a fully-fit squad at this moment in time, but there are again expected to be chances for some squad players to feature.

Ze Uilton and Joao Pedro were on the scoresheet in the last round against Aguias do Moradal and are again expected to feature as the front two for the visitors here.

Flavio Ramos, who also registered in the three-goal success, should also retain his spot, while Rui Pires is expected to be given the nod in a midfield area.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Leite; Vertonghen, Almeida, Gilberto; Morato, Taarabt, Pizzi, Meite, Grimaldo; Everton, Ramos

Pacos de Ferreira possible starting lineup:
Vekic; Ramos, Silva, Bastos, Lima; Pires, Ibrahim, Djalo, Delgado; Ze Uilton, Pedro

We say: Benfica 2-1 Pacos de Ferreira

Benfica are unlikely to have it all their own way against Pacos de Ferreira, and we are expecting this to be a tight match between the two top-flight clubs; it is tough to back against Benfica at home, though, and we are tipping them to advance to the next round of the competition.

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