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Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Maritimo - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Maritimo - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Primeira Liga clash between Sporting Lisbon and Maritimo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

After suffering their first league defeat of the season last time out, Primeira Liga champions Sporting Lisbon welcome Maritimo to the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Wednesday in the final game of the domestic season.

Os Leoes' 32-game league unbeaten run was broken by city rivals Benfica in a dramatic match on Saturday, while the visitors picked up a point against Vitoria de Guimaraes last time out to confirm their survival.

Match preview

Fresh from securing their first league title since 2002 with a 1-0 win over Boavista last Tuesday, Ruben Amorim's side went into Saturday's Lisbon derby away at Benfica with the hope of avoiding defeat in their final two games to finish the league season unbeaten.

They got off to the worst possible start in that game though, as the hosts took a three-goal lead in the first half through Haris Seferovic, Pizzi and Lucas Verissimo, before Pedro Goncalves pulled a goal back for Os Leoes on the stroke of half time.

That was soon cancelled out though as Seferovic restored Benfica's three-goal lead with a penalty early in the second half, and late goals from Nuno Santos and Goncalves were not enough to salvage a result for the champions as the hosts came out as 4-3 winners.

Although they will be disappointed at falling at one of the final hurdles in their bid to record an unbeaten league season, Os Leoes have still had a particularly strong campaign, running away with the league title thanks to an impressive points tally of 82 from 33 matches so far, having won 25 of those games.

Despite the high-scoring clash with Benfica, Amorim's side have stayed at the top largely thanks to their strong defensive record, with no side in the Portuguese top flight conceding as few as the 19 goals that they have now shipped in their 33 matches.

They will now look to bounce back from that defeat and finish a strong season off in a positive manner, having secured their first title since 2002.

They take on a Maritimo side who confirmed their survival with a draw against Vitoria de Guimaraes on Sunday.

Os Verde-Rubros went into the game against the sixth-placed outfit needing a single point from their final two matches to move out of reach of both the relegation playoff place and the automatic drop zone, and they held Vitoria to a goalless draw to go four points clear of the bottom three.

Before that, Julio Velazquez's side picked another impressive point in a 1-1 draw away against fifth-placed Pacos de Ferreira, as Diederrick Joel Tagueu equalised late in the first half after Luiz Carlos's early opener for the hosts.

Velazques has triggered a major turnaround since his appointment in Madeira, after he came into the club in March to replace Milton Mendes with the side sat at the foot of the division.

In his 11 games in the hot seat, the Spanish manager has overseen five victories, with his side picking up a total of 17 points in that time, just one point fewer than they managed in the 22 league games prior to his arrival.

As a result, O Maior das Ilhas have managed to move out of the bottom three and secured another season in the Portuguese top flight, while they have the chance to move up a place to 12th spot depending on the results across the league on Wednesday.

Sporting Lisbon Primeira Liga form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Maritimo Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

Sporting Lisbon will remain without young forward Tiago Tomas and midfielder Bruno Tabata through injury, while Manchester City loanee Pedro Porro's muscular issue should mean that he has played the last game of his successful loan spell in the Portuguese capital.

They will welcome Zouhair Feddal back into the side though, after the centre-back served a suspension last time out.

He should return to the side in place of Matheus Reis, reforming the familiar back three alongside Goncalo Inacio and captain Sebastian Coates, while Joao Pereira should continue to operate in the right wing-back role in Porro's absence.

At the other end of the pitch, young forward Pedro Goncalves took his tally to 20 league goals for the season with a brace in the narrow defeat to Benfica, and he will feature again on Wednesday.

He will support Paulinho, who has recently improved with two goals and an assist in his last three matches after a slow start following his January move from Braga.

Maritimo will finish the season without striker Rodrigo Pinho, who has had a tough campaign with injuries despite netting nine goals in 18 league appearances.

They will also be without deputy striker Diederrick Joel Tagueu and winger Jorge Correa on Wednesday, as they will both serve suspensions for accumulating yellow cards.

In their absence, Ali Alipour should lead the line with the support of wingers Edgar Costa and Ruben Macedo.

At the back, Zainadine Junior and Leo Andrade should continue their partnership at the heart of the defence, having kept a clean sheet against Vitoria de Guimaraes last time out.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Inacio, Coates, Feddal; Pereira, Mario, Palhinha, Mendes; Goncalves, Paulinho, Santos

Maritimo possible starting lineup:
Abedzadeh; Winck, Andrade, Junior, China; Guitane, Bambock, Pelagio; Costa, Alipour, Macedo

We say: Sporting Lisbon 1-1 Maritimo

Understandably, Sporting Lisbon may take their foot off the gas after an intense title push, and we see a resilient Maritimo picking up a surprise result on Wednesday.

However, we would expect Amorim's side not to suffer a second straight defeat, as they look to avoid another blemish on a great domestic campaign.

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
CSporting Lisbon34267165204585
5Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira34158114041-153
6Santa ClaraSanta Clara34137144436846
7Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes34127153744-743
11Gil Vicente34116173342-939
RRio AveRio Ave34713142540-1534
RSC FarenseFarense34710173148-1731
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1 38287389355491
2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
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