Benfica will be hosting their rivals Sporting, having qualified to the next stage in the Champions League despite having lost against Napoli. Benfica supporters appeared to be quite concerned since they are passing by a negative sequence of two games without winning, which is something of a rarity for the club. Rui Vitória will be still struggling with absentees in the left back spot since Grimaldo and Eliseu don’t appear to be fully recovered. This will give another opportunity for André Almeida to start at left back despite it not being his natural position. André Horta will be also ruled out due to injury and both Jonas and Jardel should remain absent due to a shortage of match fitness despite being both recovered from their injuries. Benfica supporters will be expecting to win and they will be quite concerned if Sporting defeat them on Sunday, similar to what happened last year in Benfica’s stadium.
Sporting will be visiting rivals Benfica, after being defeated by Legia Warszawa in the last round of Champions League and being eliminated in European competitions. This was a really negative result for them since they had reasonable chances of qualifying to the Europa League, but they should be able to react against their rivals Benfica due to the importance of the game, but Jorge Jesus will be struggling with the absences of Schelotto, Joel Campbell and Alan Ruiz for this match. João Pereira is likely to start in the right back position and Bryan Ruiz will be possibly making the duo up front next to Bas Dost. Adrien and Gelson Martins were both reported as doubtful in the last few days, but they should be able to start in a game where they expect at least a draw against their main rivals in the league.
Verdict & Prediction
Benfica are currently the leaders of the championship and will have a huge opportunity to increase the advantage over their rivals Sporting. However, after two defeats against Marítimo and Napoli, the team may be feeling some anxiety to win the next clash. The left back spot is currently a psychological concern for Benfica’s manager and their fans since Jorge Jesus will know that Sporting should attack mostly through that side to create danger in Benfica’s defensive sector. Furthermore, after having lost 3-0 against Sporting last year and having been defeated three times last year, will probably give the supporters some nervousness. However, this will be a derby match and both teams will want to win. At this moment, Benfica still remain the favourites to win due to the huge quality of their players in contrast with Sporting. Nevertheless, in this kind of game any team might be able to win and both of them will certainly have reasonable opportunities for that.
Prediction: Benfica -0.25 AH