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Jan 25, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
Cassierra (18'), Esgaio (36')
Cardoso (2'), Phete (29')
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Augusto (20'), Bebeto (84'), Pedro (90+3')

Preview: Belenenses vs. Tondela - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Belenenses vs. Tondela - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Primeira Liga clash between Belenenses and Tondela, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Belenenses welcome Tondela to the Estadio do Restelo on Monday afternoon as the hosts look to end a five-game winless streak in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and escape the relegation places.

The visitors will be looking to build on their 3-1 victory over basement side Boavista last time out and put some real daylight between themselves and the bottom three.

Match preview

Since Petit's men pulled off a shock victory over Braga at the start of December, they have struggled for any sort of form in the league.

A 1-0 loss to Portimonense in midweek means Belenenses have picked up just one point from a possible 15, a run that has seen them fall to 17th in the league standings.

Remarkably for a side in their lowly, precarious position, Os Azuis do Restelo have the joint-second best defensive record in the division, leaking just 12 goals in 14 games.

However, it is in attack where their problems lie. Petit's side have found the back of the net on a meagre six occasions, meaning they have by far the worst attacking figures in the Primeira Liga.

If Belenenses want to maintain their top-flight status this year, then they are going to have to find a balance between being solid at the back and having enough intent going forwards.

Monday could be a good place to start, given they are coming up against one of the worst defences in the country.

Tondela have won two of their last three encounters, which has elevated them to 11th position.

Despite their mid-table status, Pako Ayestaran's side are only three points better off than their upcoming opponents, and a defeat in midweek could see them dragged back towards the drop zone.

As previously stated, their leaky defence has caused CDT Auriverdes issues in the current campaign. Tondela have conceded four goals on three separate occasions in 2020-21, and addressing those fragilities at the back will be pivotal to their future success.

The Estadio Joao Cardoso outfit will be full of confidence coming into this one after their recent results, though, and a win could see them looking up the table rather than nervously over their shoulders.

Belenenses Primeira Liga form: WLLDLL
Belenenses form (all competitions): WLDLWL

Tondela Primeira Liga form: LDLWLW
Tondela form (all competitions): LDLWLW

Team News

There have been several Portuguese clubs affected by a string of positive coronavirus results in recent weeks and Belenenses are one of those sides.

Attacking midfielder Richard and winger Silvestre Varela are having to self-isolate after contracting COVID-19 earlier in the month.

The pair are joined on the sidelines by Nilton Varela, Chima Akas and long-term absentee Eduardo Kau, who continues to suffer from a cruciate ligament injury.

Tondela have also been heavily hit by positive test results forcing four of their first-team squad out of action.

Attacking midfielder Telmo Arcanjo, winger Rafael Barbosa, goalkeeper Joel Sousa and central midfielder Jaume Grau are all unavailable due to COVID-19.

Belenenses possible starting lineup:
Kritsyuk; Lima, Ribeiro, Silva, Phete, Esgaio; Edgar, Taira, Sithole; Cassierra, Cardoso

Tondela possible starting lineup:
Niasse; Bebeto, Medioub, Tavares, Suarez, Khacef; Murillo, Pedro, Augusto, Salvador Agra; Gonzalez

We say: Belenenses 0-2 Tondela

The two teams are fairly evenly matched, but Tondela are carrying some good momentum into this fixture, and that could prove to be the difference on the day.

Belenenses have seriously struggled in front of goal all season, and until those issues are solved, it is hard to see them escaping the relegation zone.

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