Monday, December 6
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Dec 3, 2021 at 9.15pm UK
Sporting LisbonSporting Lisbon
Pizzi (90+6')
Vertonghen (22'), Weigl (27'), Taarabt (89')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Sarabia (8'), Paulinho (62'), Nunes (68')
Feddal (1'), Paulinho (1'), Porro (20'), Sarabia (33'), Goncalves (45+3'), Esgaio (73')

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

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

One of the biggest matches on the Primeira Liga calendar will take place in Lisbon on Friday evening, as Benfica welcome the Portuguese champions Sporting Lisbon to Estadio da Luiz for the Lisbon derby.

Benfica are currently third in the table, one point behind second-placed Sporting, ahead of the mouthwatering contest between two of the biggest clubs in Portugal.

Match preview

Boasting a record of 10 wins, one draw and one defeat from 12 league matches this season, Benfica could be forgiven for thinking that they would have done enough to top the league at this stage, but the Eagles are currently third, one point behind leaders Porto, who are away at Portimonense on Friday night.

Benfica have won three of their last four in the league, including a thumping 6-1 home success over Sporting Braga on November 7, while they put seven unanswered goals past Belenenses on Saturday in what was an extraordinary match.

Indeed, the contest was abandoned early in the second half, with Belenenses only having six players on the field, having been forced to start with nine men, including two goalkeepers, as a coronavirus outbreak in the squad had left them with 17 players unavailable for selection.

Belenenses have asked the Portuguese league for the match to be played again, but the result stands for the moment, which has not been well received by the rest of the division.

Jorge Jesus's side will now be fully focused on Friday's huge game against Sporting, but they are also still bidding to qualify for the knockout round of the Champions League and will welcome Dinamo Kiev next week needing to beat the Ukrainian side and hope that second-placed Barcelona drop points against Bayern Munich to advance to the round of 16 in second position.

Sporting released a statement in the aftermath of the clash between Belenenses and Benfica, stating: "Portuguese football as a whole is seriously harmed today. What is happening has serious implications for the credibility of this championship and the institutions that regulate it."

As a result, the Green and Whites should be fired up on Friday, with the reigning champions looking to record their 11th league victory of the campaign.

Sporting have collected 32 points from 12 matches to sit second, level on points with leaders Porto, while they have been defensively excellent this term, conceding just four times; Ruben Amorim's side trail the top two in terms of goals, though, netting just 19 times, while Porto and Benfica have 30 and 34 respectively.

The visitors recorded a 2-0 victory over Tondela in the league on November 28, which made it 11 straight wins in all competitions during a brilliant run of form.

Sporting have also been impressive in the Champions League this term, collecting nine points from their five Group C matches, which has seen them qualify for the knockout round of the competition with a game to spare.

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

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

Sporting Lisbon Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

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

Team News

Benfica will be missing Rodrigo Pinho, Lucas Verissimo, Diogo Goncalves and Nemanja Radonjic for Friday night's key contest with the Portuguese champions.

The home side will again line up in a 3-4-3 formation, but there could be a change in the final third of the field, with Everton potentially coming in for Haris Seferovic, which would see Darwin Nunez move into a central area.

Jesus has plenty of options for change in the attacking areas, with Pizzi and Roman Yaremchuk among those pushing to feature, but the pair are expected to be on the bench for the first whistle.

As for Sporting, Joao Palhinha picked up a problem against Tondela last time out and will be unavailable for selection, while Jovane Cabral, Ruben Vinagre and Sebastian Coates will be absent for this match.

Coates has tested positive for coronavirus in a huge blow for the visitors, which will open the door for Zouhair Feddal to feature in a back three.

Matheus Reis and Pedro Porro should return to the starting side, while Palhinha's absence should allow Daniel Braganca to feature in the middle of the park.

Pedro Goncalves has been in excellent form for the Portuguese champions this season, scoring 11 times and registering three assists in 15 appearances, and he will feature in the final third for Amorim's side.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Morato, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Gilberto, Weigl, Mario, Grimaldo; Rafa, Nunez, Everton

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Inacio, Neto, Feddal; Porro, Nunes, Braganca, Reis; Goncalves, Paulinho, Sarabia

We say: Benfica 1-1 Sporting Lisbon

Losing Palhinha and Coates is a big blow for Sporting considering their importance, but the Green and Whites will still fancy their chances of picking up a positive result. It would not be a surprise to see a home win or an away win here, but we have ultimately settled on a low-scoring draw in Lisbon.

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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