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May 6, 2021 at 6.30pm UK
Everton (23')
Weigl (31'), Verissimo (58'), Silva (60'), Leite (71'), Gabriel (81'), Pizzi (81'), Seferovic (83'), Goncalves (89')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Uribe (75')
Oliveira (15'), Pepe (64'), Mbemba (81')

Preview: Benfica vs. Porto - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Benfica and Porto meet at the Estadio da Luz on Thursday, in the latest edition of the famous O Classico rivalry.

Portugal's two most successful clubs will go head-to-head for the 247th time, as they continue their battle for second place in the Primeira Liga table.

Match preview

Benfica come into this game on the back of three consecutive wins in the Portuguese top flight, most recently picking up a 2-0 away victory over Tondela.

Pizzi opened the scoring after 12 minutes, and Everton added a second goal soon after to give As Aguias a fairly comfortable win at the Estadio Joao Cardoso.

That followed a 2-1 win over Santa Clara and a dominant 5-1 away victory over Portimonense, as Pizzi, Darwin Nunez and Everton all got on the scoresheet alongside a Haris Seferovic brace.

Jorge Jesus's side now sit comfortably in third spot with 20 wins from 30 league games, while a victory on Thursday would move them within a point of their rivals in second spot, boosting their chances of reaching the qualifying stages of the Champions League.

Their opponents returned to winning ways last time out, as they defeated Famalicao 3-2 at home.

Ivo Rodrigues equalised on the stroke of half time for the visitors following Antonio Martinez's early opener, but goals from Mehdi Taremi and Marko Grujic helped Os Dragoes to a comfortable lead, while Anderson's added-time goal was not enough to salvage a result for Fama.

That followed a somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw with Moreirense, as they only salvaged a point thanks to a late Taremi penalty, breaking their seven-game winning run in the top flight.

As a result, Sergio Conceicao's side lost crucial ground on league leaders Sporting Lisbon, now sitting six points behind the side from the capital with four games left to play, having previously reduced the gap to four points during a tough spell for the Lisbon outfit.

While the title is now firmly Sporting's to lose, Conceicao's side will focus on winning all of their remaining games to keep their slim hopes alive of retaining the title that they won for the 29th time last season.

Benfica Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Porto Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Porto form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Benfica are expected to remain without several important players through injury, after midfielder Adel Taarabt and forward Darwin Nunez both missed the recent game against Tondela.

They join a growing injury list, as Andre Almeida, Andreas Samaris and Jardel all remain out of action.

However, they will welcome centre-back Nicolas Otamendi back to action to face his former club following a suspension, and he is expected to reform a back three alongside Jan Vertonghen and Lucas Verissimo.

Key midfielder Julian Weigl should return to the starting XI for Thursday's game after he was rested in the recent victory, while Diogo Goncalves is also expected to come back in on the right-hand side.

Haris Seferovic will lead the line for As Aguias, having recorded 18 goals and seven assists in 27 Primeira Liga games this season.

Porto's will remain without centre-back Ivan Marcano through injury, while right-winger Jesus Corona is also a doubt after he was brought off with an injury concern after just 20 minutes in the victory over Famalicao.

They will be boosted by the return of experienced defender Pepe, who served a suspension last time out after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the draw with Moreirense.

Conceicao opted to make several changes to his side for the Famalicao clash, as Antonio Martinez, Marko Grujic and Francisco Conceicao were all handed somewhat rare starts.

He is expected to revert back to a more usual lineup for Thursday's huge clash, with key players such as forward Moussa Marega and midfielder Sergio Oliveira coming back into the side.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Leite; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Goncalves, Weigl, Pizzi, Grimaldo; Silva, Seferovic, Everton

Porto possible starting lineup:
Marchesin; Manafa, Pepe, Mbemba, Sanusi; Diaz, Oliveira, Uribe, Otavio; Marega, Taremi

We say: Benfica 1-1 Porto

With both sides in strong runs of form, this game could definitely go either way, but we predict a draw for the 62nd time in O Classico history on Thursday.

Both sides have shown themselves to be more than adept in both attack and defence, and we do not expect one to dominate the other at the Estadio da Luz, instead opting for a closely-fought draw.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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Primeira Liga Table
1 34267165204585
2 34248274294580
3 34237469274276
4 34197853332064
5 34158114041-153
6 34137144436846
7 34127153744-743
8 341013113743-643
9 341010144048-840
10 34913122535-1040
11 34116173342-939
12 34106183657-2136
13 34812143949-1036
14 3498173441-735
15 34105192747-2035
16 34713142540-1534
17 34710173148-1731
18 3467213059-2925
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