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

:Headline: Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Varzim - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Taca de Portugal tie between Sporting Lisbon and Varzim, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Sporting Lisbon return to action on Thursday evening when they face Varzim in the fourth round of the Taca de Portugal.

While Sporting currently feature towards the top of the Primeira Liga standings, Varzim are second from bottom in the second tier.

Match preview

During the back end of August and September, Sporting went through a period where they recorded just two wins from six matches, also suffering back-to-back setbacks in the Champions League.

However, Ruben Amorim's side have put together a perfect record across their last eight fixtures in all competitions, boosting their chances of silverware on three fronts.

Most notably, six successive league wins have moved Sporting level on points with leaders Porto, while victories over Besiktas have left their Champions League fate in their own hands.

As it stands, Sporting have only played one game in the Taca de Portugal, that tie being played on October 15 when they cruised to a 4-0 triumph away at Belenenses.

In total, 20 goals have been scored in eight matches, with just three goals being conceded and five clean sheets being kept during that period.

As far as Varzim are concerned, they have performed against the odds to reach this stage of the competition, the Sea Wolves already securing the scalp of a top-tier club.

Despite being denied an extra-time win over Maritimo by a last-gasp spot kick, Varzim held their nerve during a penalty shootout to reach the last 32.

However, that is not to say that they have not endured a difficult campaign, recording just two wins during normal time in 14 outings in all competitions.

On the back of suffering four successive defeats, Varzim did bounce back last time out, hitting back from a two-goal deficit to claim a draw at Porto II.

Sporting Lisbon Taca de Portugal form:
  • W

Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Varzim Taca de Portugal form:
  • W
  • D

Varzim form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Team News

There is uncertainty over the Sporting starting lineup with several players having been away on international duty over the past 10 days.

Joao Palhinha, Matheus Nunes, Goncalo Inacio and Pablo Sarabia may all not be considered, while Sebastian Coates missed out on action with Uruguay through injury.

Ruben Vinagre and Daniel Braganca are among the players who will hope to be handed a recall to the team in their absence.

Rodrigo Rego will miss out for Varzim after his dismissal for two yellow cards last time out.

Luis Pedro or Tiago Cerveira could be drafted into the centre of defence in his place.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Virginia; Esgaio, Feddal, Reis; Esteves, Braganca, Ugarte, Vinagre; Tabata, Tomas, Cabral

Varzim possible starting lineup:
Pereira; Micael, Reis, Pinheiro, Cerveira, Leao, Valente, Assis, Heliardo, Ofosu, Tavinho

We say: Sporting Lisbon 3-0 Varzim

Despite the changes which will be made to the Sporting XI, this should still be one-way traffic. Varzim will recognise the size of the task which awaits them on Thursday, leading us to predict a routine win for the home side who will likely dominate from start to finish. body check tags ::

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