Sporting CP vs FC Porto Prediction, Preview, Lineups and Betting Tips
The “Estádio Municipal de Braga” in Braga is set to host the 2017–18 Taça da Liga (League Cup) final four, where on Wednesday night (24 January) two of “The Big Three” will meet face-to-face for a position in the final match – Sporting CP vs FC Porto. The third club part of the big trio in Portuguese football, Benfica, has been surprisingly eliminated after the group phase which makes the semi-final between Sporting CP and FC Porto something like a final before the final, since the winner of this clash will be the main favourite to lift the League Cup trophy only a few days later.
The 2017-18 Taça da Liga final is set to take place in Saturday night, 27 January, when the winner of this match will meet the winner of the other semi-final facing Vitoria Setubal and UD Oliveirense.
Taça da Liga Semi-Final: Sporting CP vs FC Porto 24.01.2018
Sporting CP arrived in Braga after a disappointing outcome in club’s visit to Vitória Setúbal on Friday night when “The Lions” were ahead until the 95th minute but a successfully executed penalty by Edinho has won the point for the hosts. Thus Sporting gave up the first place to Porto and Jorge Jesus’ men are now one point behind their current opponents. Moreover, Porto have one game in hand as they must resume the abandoned game in Estoril from last Monday, but the good news are that hosts were leading 1-0 before game to be stopped due safety reasons. Nevertheless, Sporting CP and FC Porto must focus over a completely different competition right now as both sides have a wonderful opportunity to win a trophy early in the season. It can boost their confidence before the closing stage of the 2017-18 campaign where we expect an intensive schedule for either, as they’re both involved in four different competitions. Except all domestic Liga rounds and an upcoming League Cup semi-final, Porto and Sporting CP will also meet in the Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup) semi-finals where their tie is two-legged. Furthermore, Porto and Sporting are still engaged with both major UEFA tournaments as Porto will face Liverpool in the Champions League, while Sporting seek consolation in the UEFA Europa League.
Team News and Missing Players
Despite an unpleasing score from Setubal, Jorge Jesus won’t rest any players and Sporting CP’s boss will name his optimal formation in the League Cup semi-final. The only rotation may be in midfield where the winter signing Ruben Ribeiro can make way to the Argentine Rodrigo Battaglia, who can start as a defensive midfielder next to William Carvalho, while Bruno Fernandes should be moved behind the striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Andre Pinto, Bruno Cesar, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Podence and Seydou Doumbia are among the players who are eager for more first-team football but we don’t believe Jorge Jesus is ready to rotate much exactly in a semi-final derby against rivals Porto.
Meanwhile, the Argentine left-back Jonathan Silva still recovers from a knee injury and remains the only absentee in the symbolic “hosts”.
Only couple of minutes after Sporting’s Friday night disaster, Porto had its own challenge against one of the mid-table sides Tondela but Moussa Marega’s early goal was fair enough to secure the whole set of points to the “Dragons”.
Sérgio Conceição will hardly cheat to his favourite 4-4-2 and Algerian Yacine Brahimi is apparently ready to start on the left wing, playing almost 90 minutes in the last Primeira Liga round. Mexican Jesús Corona and Hernâni both compete for a position on the right wing, while the African attacking duo looks without any alternative – Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega should lead Porto’s attack on Wednesday. Another Mexican in Miguel Layun’s face can be an option for any of the wings, either as a full-back or as a winger. Having such a polyvalent player is always a big plus so Sérgio Conceição can be content from the squad depth and fitness right now.
Attacking midfielder Otavio is expected to miss out once more with a muscle injury.
Sporting CP vs FC Porto Prediction and Betting Tips
Last time Sporting CP and FC Porto have met was on 1 October 2017 when their regular Primeira Liga round at the “Estádio José Alvalade” has ended with no goals scored. That happened in a moment when both sides were coming after a busy European week against Barcelona and AS Monaco, respectively, which drained their energy in the Champions League midweek round. This time Sporting and Porto can be entirely concentrated and dedicated onto the upcoming League Cup final four in Braga and we expect a more open clash, with not so much pressure in it. Yet it’s a derby match but we can firmly conclude the League Cup is not from such an importance as the Primeira Liga, so both coaches may be tempted to demand more attacking approach by their squads, as a way to avoid another boring, tied and potentially goalless game.
Our betting experts suggest one of the popular goal scoring markets this time – “Both teams to score – Yes“. Sporting CP and FC Porto are capable to produce some goals and we expect at least one by both teams.
Possible Lineups of Sporting CP and FC Porto
Venue: “Estádio Municipal de Braga”, Braga.
Referee: Nuno Almeida.
Sporting CP: Rui Patrício – Cristiano Piccini, Sebastián Coates, Jérémy Mathieu, Fábio Coentrão – Gelson Martins, William Carvalho, Rodrigo Battaglia, Marcos Acuña – Bruno Fernandes – Bas Dost. (4-4-1-1)
FC Porto: Iker Casillas – Alex Telles, Iván Marcano, Felipe, Ricardo Pereira – Yacine Brahimi, Danilo Pereira, Héctor Herrera, Jesus Corona – Vincent Aboubakar, Moussa Marega. (4-4-2)