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Feb 12, 2022 at 6pm UK
Santa ClaraSanta Clara
Nunez (60' pen., 62')
Silva (24'), Nunez (40'), Weigl (82')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Mohebi (21')
Mohebi (28'), Morita (32'), Barreto (40'), Pereira (45+1'), Villanueva (58')

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

:Headline: Preview: Benfica vs. Santa Clara - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Primeira Liga clash between Benfica and Santa Clara, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Fresh off the back of ending their two-game losing streak, Benfica play host to Santa Clara at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in round 22 of the Primeira Liga on Saturday.

The visitors, who have turned a corner in recent weeks, head into the game unbeaten in each of their last five league games and will be looking to keep the juggernaut rolling.

Match preview

Benfica returned to winning ways in the Primeira Liga in style as they comfortably saw off 10-man Tondela 3-1 when the sides squared off last Monday.

In a thrilling contest at the Estadio Joao Cardoso, Everton, Darwin Nunez and Goncalo Ramos were all on target to put the visitors three goals up before Eduardo Quaresma pulled one back for the hosts with two minutes left to play.

Prior to that, Nelson Verissimo's side suffered a Taca da Liga heartbreak as they were beaten 2-1 by Sporting Lisbon in the final on January 29, before falling to a 2-1 defeat against Gil Vicente on their return to the Primeira Liga four days later.

Benfica, who are currently third in the Primeira Liga standings with 47 points from 21 outings, head into Sunday's game unbeaten in all but one of their last five league games, picking up three wins and one draw in that time.

While they have been utterly dominant at the attacking end of the pitch, where they boast the division's best record with 56 goals scored so far, their struggles this season has been down to their occasional struggles at the back as they have failed to keep a clean sheet in six of their last eight Estadio Cidade de Barcelos.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara failed to protect their lead twice in the game as they were forced to settle for a thrilling 2-2 draw by Gil Vicente at the Estadio Cidade de Barcelos.

In a game where Santa Clara finished with nine men, Samuel Lino converted his 35th-minute penalty to cancel out Crysan's opener, and after Talocha scored an own goal to put the visitors ahead in the 78th minute, skipper Ruben Fernandes was on deck to restore parity for the second time in the game.

Os Acoreanos are now unbeaten in five consecutive league games — their longest run without defeat this season — claiming three wins and two draws since December's 2-1 loss against Pacos de Ferreira.

After a sloppy start to the season, where they managed just one win from their opening 12 games, this impressive turnaround has seen Mario Silva's men rise to 10th place in the league table after picking up 24 points from 21 games.

While they will look to keep this fine form going, standing in their way is an opposing side who they have managed just one win against since the turn of the century, losing 10 games in that time, including a humbling 5-0 loss in September's reverse fixture.

Benfica Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

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

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Santa Clara form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Team News

Benfica will have to make do without the services of several key players down the spine of the team as the likes of Rodrigo Pinho, Lucas Verissimo and Haris Seferovic are all recuperating from injuries.

Another name on the As Aguias injury table is 26-year-old forward Roman Yaremchuk, who is set to sit out his third straight game after picking up an injury in the game against Sporting Lisbon back in January.

Verissimo will also be unable to call upon the services of Joao Mario as the Portuguese midfielder continues his spell in isolation after recently testing positive for COVID-19, while Gilberto misses out through a muscle problem.

Veteran midfielder Pizzi will also play no part in Saturday's game after completing a loan switch to Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir during the January transfer window.

Santa Clara, on the other hand, remain without the services of Costinha after the Brazilian forward sustained an Achilles tendon injury in the game versus Moreirense back in August.

The attacking duo of Lincoln and Crysan are out of contention for Os Acoreanos after both picking up red cards in the 2-2 draw with Gil Vicente last time out.

In their absence, we could see Mohammad Mohebi and Paulo Henrique come into the XI and team up with Rui Costa and Ricardinho at the attacking end of the pitch.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Lazaro, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Everton, Weigl, Bernardo, Silva; Ramos, Nunez

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Pereira; Sagna, Afonso, Villanueva, Boateng; Carvalho, Morita; Henrique, Mohebi, Ricardinho; Costa

We say: Benfica 2-1 Santa Clara

Benfica will head into the game with renewed confidence following their dominant win over Tondela last time out. However, they face a spirited Santa Clara side who have forced their way into the top half of the table after a superb turnaround. While we expect the visitors to put up a fight, we predict Benfica will come away with a slender win given they head into the game with a significantly-superior and more-experienced squad.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data

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Primeira Liga Table
2Sporting Lisbon23183246153157
5Gil Vicente23117535241140
6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes238693330330
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10Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira235991827-924
11Santa ClaraSanta Clara2266102641-1524
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