FC Porto vs Benfica Prediction, Preview and Betting Tips
FC Porto vs Benfica prediction ahead of the first “O Clássico” edition in the 2017-18 Primeira Liga schedule on Friday night, 1 December 2017. “Dragons” are hosts at the “Estádio do Dragão” in Porto where Benfica will try to resurrect their season after a devastating European campaign. Find out more in our detailed match preview, prediction and football betting tips!
H2H History: FC Porto vs Benfica
Each clash between Porto and Benfica is usually match of the week whether it’s a league or a cup game, as we have the two most successful Portuguese clubs facing against each other. Moreover, they are two of Os Três Grandes (The Big Three) in Portugal where we also find the other Lisbon giant – Sporting CP, however Porto and Benfica are those with most trophies won.
The most recent “O Clássico” was in Lisbon, on 1 April, when both clubs have repeated the same score (1:1) from November 2016. In fact, 1:1 is the most common result between Porto and Benfica – 14 times.
The overall head-to-head balance is: Porto – 91 wins (65 in the league) against 86 of Benfica (55 league), while the draws are 59 (46).
Primeira Liga: FC Porto vs Benfica 01.12.2017
Porto remains on top of the Primeira Liga standings after a disappointing 1:1 draw against the struggling newcomers Desportivo das Aves, although Sporting CP can replace them for awhile, only if they beat Belenenses earlier that night. Anyway, “Dragons” of Sérgio Conceição are topping the league after 12 rounds and they are first by all main indicators – points won, most goals scored (31) and least conceded (5), and last but not least – they’re still undefeated. Indeed, Porto boasts with 32 points won out of 36 possible and Sérgio Conceição’s men are keen to dethrone rivals Benfica, while being competitive in Europe at the same time.
Let us remind you that Porto have an upcoming crucial Champions League clash vs AS Monaco on Wednesday night and that’s one of the reasons why the derby against Benfica has been scheduled for Friday. The other reason, perhaps the more contributing one to that decision, is that Benfica takes on FC Basel on Tuesday night. Nevertheless, “Eagles” from Lisbon are entirely focused upon the derby against Porto since they’ve lost all chances to taste more European football this season, not even a consolation in the UEFA Europa League.
Rui Vitória’s men have lost all their Champions League games so far, scoring just once in five group stage rounds. That’s a horrible nightmare for Benfica who were surely eager not only to defend their Primeira Liga trophy, but to repeat their Champions League breakthrough as well, like they did in the past two years by reaching the knockout phase, which happened in two consecutive seasons for the very first time.
Now Benfica finds on the third position and “Eagles” from Lisbon will fly North after a massive 6:0 win over Vitória Setúbal last weekend. That was their fourth Primeira Liga victory in a row and the reigning champions have scored 13 goals in that period, seriously improving their attacking performance thus.
FC Porto vs Benfica Preview: News, Squads and Missing Players
Benfica individually holds the second position for most goals scored (29) and shares the joint second position for the least goals conceded (8) alongside city rivals Sporting CP. However, Sporting are with one point above and like we’ve already mentioned, that number can be increased to four, compared to Benfica’s asset, when O Clássico kick-offs.
Rui Vitória surely felt some serious pressure on his shoulder but the latest action of club’s president Luís Filipe Vieira was a clear sign that he is ready to give more credit to the 47-year-old coach. Local press says Luís Filipe Vieira has rejected a €6 million offer made by the English Everton to sign with Benfica’s current coach.
Guests from Lisbon will most likely start with the same formation as in the 6:0 win over Vitória Setúbal on Sunday night. Experienced top scorer Jonas (15 goals in 12 league games) is once more set to lead Benfica’s attack so he should receive support by the Argentine duo Franco Cervi and Toto Salvio through both wings. Pizzi, Filip Krovinovic and Ljbomir Fejsa are expected to fill the midfield as Fejsa will play a more defensive role in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
Youngsters Mile Svilar and Bruno Varela compete for a starting position near the goal line while Andre Almeida, captain Luisao, Jardel, Alejandro Grimaldo are all set to start as a defensive quartet.
Porto’s coach Sérgio Conceição is on the even of his second derby match after being appointed at “do Dragão” in June this year. Last domestic derby was two months ago, 1 October, when Porto had a journey to the “Estádio José Alvalade” in Lisbon, where their clash against Sporting CP has ended with no goals scored. This time Porto plays at home turf and expectations are definitely higher so Conceição would require more aggression by his players.
Mexican winger Jesús Corona was sent-off after a second yellow card in the draw against Desportivo das Aves, so he might be replaced by the experienced Uruguayan Maxi Pereira. He is naturally a defender but can be moved forward on the wing as well, thereby having greater defensive contribution which is often vital in the derby games.
Other rotations are not so likely but Sérgio Conceição might consider reintroducing Malian striker Moussa Marega as a partner of the Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar. They both have scored 17 (Marega – 8, Aboubakar – 9) of all 31 scored by Porto in the Primeira Liga, but the Malian missed a few weeks due to an injury picked up early in the 3:1 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League. Actually Maxi Pereira replaced exactly Jesus Corona in that game and even scored the third goal.
Porto should stick within the 4-4-2 formation with a central midfield duo Hector Herrera and Danilo Pereira, who are two really capable players but will have a tough battle to control the midfield in that game.
José Sá already replaced veteran Iker Casillas in some games and he may start under the sticks again. Otherwise we don’t shouldn’t expect changes in Porto’s defense where Alex Telles, Ivan Marcano, Felipe and Ricardo Pereira seem to be irreplaceable.
FC Porto vs Benfica Prediction and Betting Tips
Porto have won all their (6) Primeira Liga home games so far but we can hardly compare matches against all other sides with these against the major rivals. Even though Porto looks impressive and has scored 23 goals, conceding only three, in that period and remains unbeaten in a home Primeira Liga game since April 2016 when they lost to Sporting. They have 21 victories and 3 draws ever since.
On the other hand Benfica have 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat in their six league visits thus far, conceding a goal in the last five of them. This opens a question about Benfica’s defensive ability and it’s obvious they need to refresh that line, especially after departures of Victor Lindelöf and Nelson Semedo this summer.
Considering Porto’s home advantage and the extremely disappointing performances of Benfica in the important games, we believe that “Dragons” will find a way to score more than Benfica. Versatile attackers like Brahimi, Marega and Aboubakar can be too much for Benfica’s shaky defense and playing in front of the home crowd is always helpful.
Our prediction recommends betting on Porto – 1X2 Betting: Porto to win against Benfica.
Possible Starting Lineups of FC Porto and Benfica
Venue: “Estádio Do Dragão”, Porto.
Referee: Manuel Jorge de Sousa.
FC Porto: Jose Sa – Alex Telles, Ivan Marcano, Felipe, Ricardo Pereira – Yacine Brahimi, Hector Herrera, Danilo Pereira, Maxi Pereira – Moussa Marega, Vincent Aboubakar. (4-4-2)
SL Benfica: Bruno Varela – Andre Almeida, Luisao, Jardel, Alex Grimaldo – Lubomir Fejsa – Toto Salvio, Pizzi, Filip Krovinovic, Franco Cervi – Jonas. (4-1-4-1)