Sporting CP vs Benfica Betting Prediction, H2H, Preview, Lineups & Football Tips 22.04.2017
Sporting CP and Benfica are on the eve of their second encounter in the 2016-17 Primeira Liga season when on Saturday night, 22 April 2017, Derby de Lisboa is set to take place at the “Estádio José Alvalade”. The Lisbon Derby wraps up the Primeira Liga schedule on Saturday and that surely is the weekend screamer in Portugal. We are perfectly aware of its significance and fact it’s not only the most intriguing round 30 fixture, but one of the greatest football rivalries in Portugal at all. Indeed, both Lisbon rivals are two of the “Big Three” (Os Três Grandes) in Portugal and their rivalry is tremendous, alongside other major derbies like Sporting CP vs Porto and Benfica vs Porto (O Clássico). Furthermore, an upcoming derby will be game number 300 between Sporting CP and Benfica.
H2H History: Sporting CP vs Benfica
Like we already mentioned that’s the second duel facing Sporting and Benfica in current domestic campaign. Most recent Lisbon Derby was in first-half of December (11.12) when Benfica triumphed at its “Estádio da Luz” after goals by Toto Salvio and Raul Jimenez, while Bas Dost was accurate for “The Green-Whites”. This formed the final 2-1 and also a second successive win for Benfica over their city rivals, who were their main competitors in the 2015-16 season. However, a superb final flight of “The Eagles” and another win in the Lisbon Derby (back in March 2016) were crucial for Benfica’s league success. Thus they have ended a negative record from five competitive matches without a win over Sporting.
Overall balance in all past fixtures between both Lisbon rivals sums up to 299 games in which Sporting have 108 wins, 61 games have ended without a winner, whilst Benfica holds 130 victories over “Lions”. Goal difference is 509:462 in Benfica’s favour.
Primeira Liga: Sporting CP vs Benfica 22.04.2017
Sporting CP still regrets about a missed opportunity last year when “Lions” were extremely close to lift the Primeira Liga trophy, which was probably their greatest chance since a triumph in 2002. Fifteen years after that memorable moment with the 42 goals scored by Mário Jardel and winning of 12 points more than Benfica, Sporting will dream for the same success at least for another season. Nevertheless, “Lions” will pull their best to spoil plans of their city rivals who are determined to win the league for the fourth consecutive season. Sporting is on eight points behind Benfica and even if they win here, gap will remain too much for standards of the Portuguese league, especially when only four rounds remain after current weekend.
Benfica must defend their position on the peak and even a tie seems to be a suitable outcome. Rui Vitoria’s men failed to defeat the main pretender at home turf only three weeks ago, but a draw vs Porto has been followed by league wins over Moreirense and Maritimo. In the meantime “Dragons” slipped in their journey to Braga last weekend and this increased Benfica’s lead to three points.
In next weeks, after derby of Lisbon, Benfica has two home games vs Estoril and Vitória Guimarães, as well as two visits against Rio Ave and Boavista. That’s why beating Sporting at their own ground would be a fantastic scenario, but we do believe that Rui Vitoria’s main purpose will be avoiding of a defeat.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
In case that Benfica losses and Porto wins over Feirense on Sunday night, then we will have a really dodgy situation on top of the table. Considering fact that both league games of Benfica and Porto have ended with the same score (1-1 either in Porto and in Lisbon) makes the goal difference something incredibly important. Of course, only if both rivals have same number of points after one month – when the 2016-17 Primeira Liga season ends.
Under these circumstances you probably understand why for Benfica will be more important to earn something from that derby, even if it’s not the whole set of points. Thereby we expect more cautious approach and most likely a counter-attacking mentality by Benfica here.
Rui Vitoria has only one concern prior big game on Saturday evening and that’s situation around Jonas. Experienced Brazilian striker and Benfica’s top scorer in last two seasons suffered a knock against Maritimo and is a doubt. If Jonas fails to recover on time Andrija Zivkovic and Rafa Silva are two of the options who can cause pressure from secondary position, closely behind goal scorer Kostas Mitroglou, whose presence as a leading striker looks out of any question.
Sporting CP remains in shadow of its rivals Benfica and Porto, and squad led by former Benfica’s coach Jorge Jesus looks certain for the third position. Currently Sporting is with five points from the second position and on 10 points above Vitória Guimarães (4th), so basically “Lions” will have to prepare for the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League qualifiers. Unless someone among Porto and Benfica doesn’t fail massively in last weeks of the season, which looks quite unrealistic.
Despite arguments about sure third position and top status of Benfica and Porto, Jorge Jesus has a reason to chase the win over his former club. The 62-year-old coach led Benfica in period 2009-15 so he knows the atmosphere at “da Luz” very well.
Sporting CP can play without the same pressure Benfica has and whether the game is a derby or not, having of an additional reason to chase something can always be a heavy burden. So we expect more open football and less pressure upon Sporting’s footballers here, which may allow them to show their full potential. Even if the 42 league goals of Mario Jardel are history, nowadays Sporting relies on a fine form of the Dutch attacker Bas Dost, who has scored 28 goals in 26 games and is a pretender for the European Golden Shoe.
The only absence in Sporting CP is at the left-back where Marvin Zeegelaar must serve a suspension (yellow card accumulation) and position of the Dutchman will most likely be covered by Jefferson.
Sporting CP vs Benfica Betting Prediction
Our betting prediction for an upcoming Lisbon derby goes on “Both teams to score – Yes“. In upper rows we have listed enough arguments about importance of that game in both sides and pressure they might have, or might not have. Sporting may take advantage of that situation and Bas Dost represents a real threat for Benfica’s defense, while on other turn Benfica is absolutely dangerous on counters.
Venue: “Estádio José Alvalade”, Lisbon.
Referee: Artur Soares Dias.
Possible Lineups of Sporting CP and Benfica
Sporting CP: Rui Patricio – Jefferson, Sebastian Coates, Ruben Semedo, Ezequiel Schelotto – Bruno Cesar, Adrien Silva, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins – Alan Ruiz – Bas Dost. (4-4-1-1)
SL Benfica: Ederson Moraes – Alex Grimaldo, Victor Lindelöf, Luisão, Nelson Semedo – Rafa Silva, Ljubomir Fejsa, Pizzi, Toto Salvio – Jonas – Kostas Mitroglou. (4-4-1-1)