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Preview: Porto vs. Benfica - prediction, team news, lineups
23/12/2021 15:11:52

Porto and Benfica resume their rivalry on Thursday evening with a last-16 showdown in the Taca de Portugal.

While the home side have the clear edge in the Primeira Liga standings, Benfica will be motivated to get one over their hosts ahead of the league game between the sides next week.

We say: Porto 2-1 Benfica

While Benfica have lacked consistency at times this season, they are also capable of beating the majority teams on their day. Nevertheless, we cannot back against Porto right now, and they are playing with an efficiency which could lead to a hard-fought win on Thursday.

Match preview

Having failed to qualify for the Champions League last 16, Sergio Conceicao and his squad have had to experience a rare period of disappointment over the past two weeks.

Nevertheless, they remain very much on course for the domestic treble, staying top of Portugal's top flight and making progress in the cup competitions.

In total, Porto have recorded eight successive domestic victories, the last four coming without conceding a goal, and there is little doubting that momentum is building at Estadio do Dragao.

The Dragons made light work of Vizela last time out, running away with a 4-0 win with in-demand Luis Diaz contributing his 12th league strike of the campaign.

Porto have reached this stage of the competition with comfortable triumphs over Sintrense and Feirense respectively.

Benfica started the season with seven consecutive victories in the league, but collecting just five wins from their last eight outings has left them playing catch up.

There has been little wrong with their most recent domestic performances with 11 goals being scored against Famalicao and Maritimo, five of those strikes coming from Darwin Nunez.

However, even though they still possess a game in hand on the top two, a lack of consistency is costing Jorge Jesus's team ahead of the midway point of the season.

After requiring extra time to defeat Trofense back in October, Benfica reached this stage of the competition with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Pacos de Ferreira.

Team News

With a seven-day gap before the next chapter of this rivalry, both managers may be prepared to name full-strength teams.

Conceicao was able to rest many of his key men during the second half at Vizela, handing minutes to Sergio Oliveira and Jesus Corona.

However, the pair may have to make do with a spot among the replacements, while Pepe is likely to remain absent with the injury that he sustained versus Braga on December 12.

Jesus was able to take a similar approach to his counterpart against Maritimo, and he could realistically stick with the same Benfica starting lineup.

Even though Goncalo Ramos and Haris Seferovic scored as substitutes during that game, it is unlikely to be enough for a recall.

Porto possible starting lineup:

Costa; Mario, Mbemba, Cardoso, Sanusi; Otavio, Uribe, Vitinha, Diaz; Evanilson, Taremi

Benfica possible starting lineup:

Vlachodimos; Almeida, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Gilberto, Weigl, Mario, Grimaldo; Rafa, Yaremchuk, Nunez

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